Maida Heatter made her chocolate mousse torte 20 times before she deemed it appropriate to be posted in The New York Times in May 1972.
At the time, Heather, who died Thursday at her home in Miami Beach at age 102, became no longer but the successful cookbook writer she could soon become. Her toil was properly worth the trouble: Readers called and wrote letters to the editor, eager to get their arms on a recipe for the dreamy chocolate dessert they had heard approximately or tasted at so-and-so’s the weekend earlier than. It was later pronounced that the torte had been the newspaper’s most asked dessert recipe of the yr.
The Times published numerous Heatter’s recipes, including the East 62nd Street lemon cake, a tender lemon Bundt cake; her 86-proof chocolate cake, a rich chocolate cake infused with bourbon; and her chocolate cheesecake brownies. But none ever handed the torte.
It’s now not hard to see why: It’s a groan-inducing glory of a dessert, with a thick chocolate base topped with frothy chocolate mousse and crowned with whipped cream. It becomes a clever trick that Heatter (whose complete name is pronounced MAY-da HEAT-er) landed upon at some stage in all of those recipe tryouts: Make a batch of chocolate mousse, and bake half of it in a pie pan. Once it has cooled, the baked mousse sinks inside the center, reworking right into a dense chocolate cake “crust” that are ideal for filling with the closing unbaked mousse.
In 1974, “Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Desserts” changed into published, and in case you have been a home baker in the Nineteen Seventies and ’80s, you probably had a canine-eared, butter-stained, flour-dusted replica in your kitchen shelf. Devotees nonetheless swear using her cookbooks, often scouring the internet to update their battle-worn editions, however many Instagram-era chefs have by no means heard of the girl who wrote nine cookbooks, won three James Beard awards, and counted Martha Stewart and Nancy Silverton as fans. The latest release of “Happiness Is Baking” (Little, Brown, 2019), a set of her most famous recipes, can also introduce her to a brand new technology.
Heather had no aim of becoming a cookbook writer. In the early 1960s, she turned into a thriving jewelry dressmaker living in Miami Beach. At the same time, she persuaded her 0.33 husband, Ralph Daniels, an airline pilot. He was frequently out of town to end his activity and open a restaurant, so he may want to assist her in taking care of her ailing father, Gabriel Heatter, the Forties radio character. She made the cakes, which she developed and examined in her domestic kitchen, and soon in a while, locals had been lining up for them.
The torte — “a chunk of ingenuity with chocolate,” as Raymond A. Sokolov wrote in The Times in 1973 — is many of the 100 or so fastidiously tested, and exquisitely precise recipes in “Happiness Is Baking.” Developed with the aid of Heatter, a self-professed” chocolate nut,” it’s miles the apex of chocolate desserts: simply wealthy enough, doubly chocolaty, and a dream to make in case you follow Heatter’s specific commands to the letter.
Maida Heatter’s Chocolate Mousse Torte
Serves: 6 to eight
Total time: 1 hour, plus at the least three hours’ chilling
For the mousse:
225g – Semisweet bar chocolate (no longer chips), chopped
1 tbsp – instant espresso or coffee powder
1/four cup – Boiling water
eight large eggs, yolks, and whites separated
65g – Sugar
1 tsp – Vanilla extract
1/8 tsp – Fine sea salt
Unsalted butter for greasing the pan
Fine dry breadcrumbs or cocoa powder for dusting
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For the whipped cream:
360 ml – Heavy cream
40g – Powdered sugar
One half of tsp – Vanilla extract
Grated semisweet chocolate for serving (non-compulsory)
* Set a rack within the center of the oven. Heat oven to 350 tiers. Butter a 9-inch glass pie plate. Dust it with breadcrumbs or cocoa powder. Set apart.
* Place the chopped chocolate within the top of a small double boiler over water over low heat. Could you bring it to a low simmer? Meanwhile, in a cup or small bowl, dissolve the coffee within the 1/four cup boiling water and pour it over the chocolate. Cover and cook dinner over low warmth, whisking once in a while until the chocolate is melted.
* Remove from warmness and preserve to stir until clean. Let cool barely—alternatively, area chocolate in a medium microwave-secure bowl. Dissolve the espresso inside the boiling water and pour it over the chocolate. Cover with a plate or kitchen towel and permit stand for five mins. Vigorously whisk till the chocolate is melted and smooth. If there are still bits of unmelted chocolate, microwave in 15-2nd bursts, whisking among, until clean and completely melted.
* In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the yolks at excessive velocity until they may be light, thick, and lemon-colored, about five minutes. Gradually add the sugar and retain to overcome at a high pace for 5 minutes extra till very wide. Reduce speed to low, and add the vanilla and cooled chocolate, scraping the sides of the integration bowl as necessary. Transfer aggregate to a medium bowl. Wash the whisk attachment and combining the bowl.
* In the mixing bowl of the electric mixer outfitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites with the salt until stiff, however no longer dry. Gradually, in two or three small additions, lightly fold half of the egg whites into the chocolate, then fold the chocolate combination into the last whites just till no whites show. Handling as low as feasible, lightly reserve approximately four cups of the mousse in a separate medium bowl; cowl and refrigerate.
*Transfer the rest of the mousse into the pie plate; it’ll barely attain the pinnacle. Gently level and bake for 25 mins. Please turn off the warmth, then go away inside the oven for five mins more excellent. Remove from oven and funky on a rack. The mousse will upward push in the course of baking, and then, while cooling, it’ll sink in the middle, leaving a excessive rim. Wash the mixing bowl and whisk attachment and area inside the fridge or freezer to relax.
* When the baked mousse is fantastic, get rid of reserved mousse from the fridge. Handling as low as viable, switch the chilled mousse to the middle of the baked mousse. Mound it slightly higher in the center, but be careful to address as low as feasible, or it will lose the air beaten into it. Refrigerate for at least 2 to 3 hours.
* Make the whipped cream: In the chilled mixing bowl with the chilled whisk attachment, beat the cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla at excessive speed till it holds a described shape. Spread over the unbaked part of the mousse, apart from the rim; refrigerate. Another way of using the whipped cream: Use a pastry bag outfitted with a medium celebrity tube and pipe a lattice sample over the pinnacle of the pie and a border around the brink. Coarsely grate a few semisweet chocolates over the top before serving, if desired. The torte is satisfactorily eaten the day it’s made, but it’s not terrible the following day.