With the weather dithering between sunshine and rain, it's hard to know what kind of meal to go with. Shall I go for something heavy to blubber-up for the cold or do I go for something light and refreshing? It's the same kind of dilemma when you go out- should I bring a cardigan or will I regret having to carry it in my already stuffed bag, ten blocks away from the car? Sometimes you just have to put your money on the fact that although it's mid-summer, it's probably going to rain.
According to the bureau of meteorology, the east cost is currently experiencing the La niña weather phenomenon, which basically means that it's going to rain- a lot. And it has. On the bright side, at least I don't have to worry about the lawn going brown or having to wash my car so often. So this La niña thing isn't all doom and gloom- it has its ups.
So when the outside is just too disagreeable to contend with- like earth shattering claps of thunder, stray bolts of lightning that could possibly strike you at any time and a wall of rain that's falling sideways, it's best to stay indoors and let nature's fury pass. And while passing the time indoors, I decided to make use of all those spare hours by making a chocolate tortini- a soft-centred chocolate tortini to be exact.
The recipe is from chef Luke Latimer of Onesta Cucina in Bowral, which is in country NSW. I found the recipe in the Australian Gourmet Traveller accompanied by one of those really enticing photographs, worthy of a magazine cover that lure you into buying the thing and then makes you crave the dish so much that you would give up your first-born for a taste. Luckily I have no offspring of my own. But what I could possibly give up is a perfectly sunny day in exchange for one chocolate tortini, topped with all sorts of sweet and creamy condiments that will make your dietician shudder.
The dish is almost in danger of bordering on being too good. And what is great is that the recipe is designed for when you have time to wile away. This is exactly what rainy days are made for, sitting around and wasting away the hours, probably in front of the television or with a good book. And if you are too self-righteous to admit to loving those lazy days then that's just too bad. Doing nothing is tons fun.
The original recipe calls for a raspberry sauce although I was all out of raspberries and in this rain, I wasn't going to venture out berry-picking; I was all stocked up on blueberries though, so I decided to create a port-based blueberry sauce to go with the tortinis instead. The result is a gorgeous deep mulberry-coloured syrup that is the perfect accompaniment to the richness of the tortini.
The tortinis are under-baked intentionally so that the centres remain soft and when you cut into one of them, the lovely dark-brown centre oozes out from the middle. It's artwork in motion. You can also top the tortinis with a dollop of cream, however I decided to use mascarpone because that's what I had lying around.
I know it sounds extremely pretentious in that snobishly foodie sort of way, but I would recommend only using high quality chocolate for this dessert, as you probably would for most desserts because you will definitely taste the difference in the end. In this case, compound chocolate just won't do. Actually I wouldn't even recommend using compound chocolate in anything as it lacks the complex flavours that true chocolate has. So is that uppity enough for you?
If and when there's another rainy day to give you all the time in the world, head over to the Monthyly Mingle at What's For Lunch Honey. There will be a great selection of comfort foods that will see you through a rainy day and then some.
Soft-Centred Chocolate Tortini with Blueberry Port
Adapted from Australian Gourmet Traveller
FOR THE TORTINI
160g dark chocolate(70% cocoa solids), coarsely chopped
160g unsalted butter, coarsley chopped
3 egg yolks
75g (1/3 cup) caster sugar
50g (1/3 cup) plain all-purpose flour
Mascarpone cheese, to serve
FOR THE SAUCE
150ml Tawny Port
1/3 cup caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
zest of 1 lemon
2 punnets blueberries
MAKING THE TORTINI
Melt chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water, stir to combine and cool.
Using an electric mixer, beat eggs, yolks and sugar for 8 minutes or until thick and creamy.
Gradually add flour and whisk to combine, then add chocolate mixture and whisk for another 5 minutes.
Divide mixture between 6 lightly greased and floured 10cm-diameter round pie tins, place on an oven tray and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 170ºC.
Bake tortini for 10-12 minutes or until they are firm but their centres are soft.
To serve, remove tortini carefully from pie tins and place on plates, top with a scoop of mascarpone, drizzle with blueberry sauce and serve immediately.
MAKING THE PORT AND BLUEBERRY SAUCE
Combine port, water, sugar, vanilla and lemon zest in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil.
Add the blueberries and reduce heat and leave to simmer for 15-20 minutes until the liquid becomes syrupy.
Set aside to cool.