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La Peche Chocolate Velvet

Author/Submitted by: From Food Editor Sarah Fritschner's 11/22/90 "A Chocolate Fantasy" article in "The (Louisville, KY) Courier-Journal 'Magazine'", pp. 2-15. Recipe on pp. 8-9., Posted by Cathy Harned.
Servings: 16
Categories: Alcohol / Cakes / Chocolate / Coffee / Desserts

Ingredients:

-----CAKE-----
1  pound  Pound cake
2  tablespoons  Amaretto

-----MOUSSE-----
1/3  cup  Amaretto
1/4  cup  Dark rum
4    Heath bars, coarsely chopped
6  tablespoons  Melted butter
3    Eggs, separated
1 1/2  teaspoons  Instant coffee powder
1 1/2  pounds  Semisweet chocolate
1 1/2  cups  Whipping cream
1  tablespoon  Powdered sugar

-----ICING-----
1/2  pound  Semisweet chocolate
1/2  tablespoon  Powdered sugar
1/3  cup  Coffee, or as needed

-----GARNISHES-----
    Creme fraiche or whipped cream, optional
    Chocolate leaves, see directions

Directions:
1. Line a 2 1/2 qt. souffle dish with plastic wrap. Cut the pound cake into thin slices. Line the bottom and sides of the souffle dish with overlapping pieces of pound cake, so there are no openings. Put 2 layers of pound cake on the bottom, to prevent leaks. Sprinkle 2 tb. of the amaretto around the pound cake. Set aside.

2. To prepare mousse: In a bowl, combine 1/3 c. amaretto, rum, chopped candy bars, melted butter, egg yolks and coffee. Stir well.

3. In a double boiler, melt 1 1/2 lbs. of chocolate. Remove from heat and allow it to cool a little. Whip the cream until stiff; set aside. With clean beaters, whip the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff. Slowly add 1 tb. powdered sugar and beat 1 minute.

4. Slowly add the chocolate to the liquor mixture, stirring well to combine evenly. Fold in the whipped cream and egg whites. Pour into prepared souffle dish.

5. Use the rest of the pound cake to cover the top of the mousse, overlapping pieces. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 10 hours.

6. To make the icing: Melt 1/2 lb. of chocolate. Use an electric mixer to beat in the powdered sugar. Add the coffee as needed to make a smooth icing. (It resembles a buttercream. It is very smooth and thick enough to spread.) Let the icing cool a bit before spreading on the cake.

7. To ice the cake: Invert the chocolate velvet on a serving plate. Remove plastic wrap. Spread with icing. Refrigerate. To serve, cut like cake. Serve with creme fraiche or whipped cream, if desired. Make chocolate leaves by running a spatula under a thin layer of tempered chocolate before it is set. Garnish velvet. Keeps well up to 10 days refrigerated and freezes beautifully for up to six months.

This is one of Louisville's most celebrated chocolate desserts. Chocolate velvet earned its reputation at the Four Seasons restaurant in New York City, under the hands of pastry chef Albert Kumin, who later became the White House pastry chef. Fritschner writes: "It's based on the bombe concept - lining a container with cake, filling it with creamy filling (in this case mousse) and finishing the turned-out dessert with a glossy chocolate glaze." When Kathy and Will Cary opened La Peche gourmet carry-out in 1979, she added her adaptation of Kumin's recipe to the deli's offerings. Chocolate velvet has never left the dessert case since then, as it's so popular. As many as 50 chocolate velvets are sold there a week, made by pastry chef Scott Bieber.


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