So I know almost everybody – at least, almost everybody in the United States – had a pumpkin-themed dessert last night in celebration of Thanksgiving.
I like to be different. Instead, I went with a cranberry based dessert. Traditional Thanksgiving, but different.
And obviously I added chocolate because…oh come on, do you read this blog?
Now to combine these flavors, I used the inspiration from Abby Dodge’s #baketogether this month, in which Abby called for us to go with our own take on a truly decadent chocolate meringue cake. How could I say no? Obviously I couldn’t.
Want to make your own? Here’s how – look, you don’t even need wheat! Gluten free and all that.
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup superfine sugar
2 egg whites (room temperature)
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Trace three 8”x4” rectangles on a sheet of parchment, leaving about an inch between. Invert parchment on a light colored baking sheet. Sift together confectioner’s sugar, superfine sugar, and salt. Whip egg whites on medium low until frothy, add cream of tartar and whip on medium high until soft peak form. Continue beating while gradually adding sugar mixture, then increase speed to high and whip until stiff, glossy peaks form. Add vanilla extract and whip until incorporated. Distribute meringue inside the rectangles sketched on the parchment paper.
Bake at 175 F for 2 ½ hours. Cool slightly, then peel away parchment paper and allow meringue pieces to cool.
Chocolate Almond Cake Layers
3/4 cup almonds
2 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
2 T brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
Chop almonds in a food processor until finely ground. Beat egg yolks, chocolate, brown sugar, vanilla, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until well combined. Add the ground almonds and beat on low until combined. Beat egg whites in another large bowl with the electric mixer on medium speed until doubled in volume. Fold into nut mixture until just combined. Scrape the batter into an 8”x8” pan lined with parchment paper.
Bake at 350 F for 20 minutes, cool and cut into two 4"x8" pieces.
Cranberry Chocolate Buttercream
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cup cranberries
8 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons corn syrup
20 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate
Mix cranberries and cream , bring to a simmer over low heat and hold the simmer for five minutes, then remove from heat and allow to sit ten minutes. Repeat twice, then strain cream, discarding solids. The resulting mixture will be infused with lovely cranberry flavor and color.
Mix remaining cream, butter and corn syrup over low heat until butter is melted, remove from heat and add chocolate, stirring to combine. Allow to cool, then whip until fluffy.
1 cup cranberries
½ cup sugar
½ cup water
Combine all ingredients over medium heat, bring to a boil and allow mixture to boil for 10 minutes. Cool, then run through a food processor and strain, discarding solids.
Spread two tablespoons of buttercream on the cake plate or platform, use to secure one piece of meringue. Top meringue with buttercream, then add first layer of cake. Spread cranberry syrup on cake.
Top with second piece of meringue. Top meringue with buttercream, then add the other layer of cake. Spread remaining cranberry syrup on cake, top with final piece of meringue.
Spread buttercream around entire assembled cake, then pipe remaining buttercream on cake.
Finally, take the complete cake to Thanksgiving dinner to impress somebody who was already floored by simple brownies. This is mandatory.
Do you like cranberries and chocolate together?