Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Posh Dobos; Daring Bakers Dobos Torta

I will confess, sometimes I'll eat anything chocolate and ask questions later. That was my first experience with an authentic Dobos Torta. I didn't learn the name of the multi-layered silky chocolate pastry that I had consumed in less than a minute, until long after my trip to Vienna. Who knew that I would actually be challenged to recreate that exquisite dessert with Daring Bakers.
My spin on this month's challenge was to add a rich bergamot Earl Grey Tea to the flavor profile, and to create mine as several small personal tortes.
Traditionally, a Dobos Torta has 5-8 layers of light spongy genoise cake rounds, beautifully hugging each other with buttery chocolate cream, then wrapped in more buttery chocolate cream and topped with golden caramel wedges. In more modern versions, it's also accessorized with crunchy jewels of hazelnuts.

This brilliant and delicious, addictive concoction was originally created by the confectioner, Jozsef C. Dobos in Hungary in 1885. Vienna, along with the rest of Europe, quickly adopted the pastry as it al
so matched their love of using crushed nuts, flaky layers, and creamy chocolates. In 1906, JC Dobos retired and revealed his recipe to the Budapest Confectioners' and Gingerbread Makers' Chamber of Industry with the stipulation that every member could use it freely.

When I first read this challenge, being only my second one with Daring Bakers - I had to close my lap-top and take a breath.
Wouldn't this take 3 days to make? Wouldn't this cost a thousand dollars? Wouldn't this take, well...magic? Actually, it looks a lot more complex than it is, doesn't cost as much to make as it does to buy in a nice pastry shop, and the magic happens with just a little patience. It was fun. It was challenging. It was completely gone in the same day it was made. One of the reasons Dobos created the buttercream and the caramel top was so this cake would stay moist and have a longer shelf life - no need at my house.

A big thank you
to the Daring Baker's hosts this time;

The August 2009 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Angela of A Spoonful
of Sugar and Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella. They chose the spectacular Dobos Torte based on a recipe from Rick Rodgers' cookbook Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desser
ts from the Classic Caff├ęs of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.

Here is the recipe with my adaptations:

Sponge cake layers

  • 6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups (162g) confectioner's (icing) sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (112g) sifted cake flour (SUBSTITUTE 95g plain flour + 17g cornflour (cornstarch) sifted together)
  • 1 tsp. ground Earl Grey Tea leaves
  • pinch of salt
1. Preheat oven to 400 F. 2. Cover two (2) 13" x 18" sheet pans in parchment paper. 3.Beat the egg yolks, 2/3 cup (81g) of the confectioner's (icing) sugar, and the vanilla in a medium bowl with a mixer on high speed until the mixture is thick, pale yellow and forms a thick ribbon when the beaters are lifted a few inches above the batter, about 3 minutes. (You can do this step with a balloon whisk if you don't have a mixer.) 4.In another bowl, using clean beaters, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the 1 tsp. of ground Earl Grey Tea leaves and the remaining 2/3 cup (81g) of confectioner's (icing)sugar until the whites form stiff, shiny peaks. Using a large rubber spatula, stir about 1/4 of the beaten whites into the egg yolk mixture, then fold in the remainder, leaving a few wisps of white visible. Combine the flour and salt. Sift half the flour over the eggs, and fold in; repeat with the remaining flour.
5. Pour the mixture evenly into the 2 prepared sheet pans and using a spatula, spread the batter out as evenly as possible.
6. Bake in the oven, middle rack, one at a time for about 5 minutes, until the cake springs back when pressed gently in the centre and the edges are lightly browned.
7. Cool for a few minutes, then turn the layer out onto another piece of parchment and cover with a damp paper towel until you are ready to cut out the squares.
8. Cut out squares using a 3x3 inch mold, or measure and cut carefully with a serrated knife.

Chocolate Buttercream

  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) caster (ultrafine or superfine white) sugar
  • 4oz (110g) bakers chocolate or your favourite dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons (250g) unsalted butter, at room temperature.
  • 1/2 tsp. ground Earl Grey Tea leaves

1.Prepare a double-boiler: quarter-fill a large saucepan with water and bring it to a boil. 2.Meanwhile, whisk the eggs with the sugar until pale and thickened, about five minutes. You can use a balloon whisk or electric hand mixer for this. 3.Fit bowl over the boiling water in the saucepan (water should not touch bowl) and lower the heat to a brisk simmer. Cook the egg mixture, whisking constantly, for 2-3 minutes until you see it starting to thicken a bit. Whisk in the finely chopped chocolate and the ground Earl Grey tea and cook, stirring, for a further 2-3 minutes. 4.Scrape the chocolate mixture into a medium bowl and leave to cool to room temperature. It should be quite thick and sticky in consistency. 5.When cool, beat in the soft butter, a small piece (about 2 tablespoons/30g) at a time. An electric hand mixer is great here, but it is possible to beat the butter in with a spatula if it is soft enough. You should end up with a thick, velvety chocolate/Earl Grey infused buttercream. Chill while you make the caramel topping.

Caramel topping

  • 1 cup (200g) caster (superfine or ultrafine white) sugar
  • 12 tablespoons (180 ml) water
  • 8 teaspoons (40 ml) lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil (e.g. grapeseed, rice bran, sunflower)

Directions for the caramel topping:

1.Choose several 3 inch cake squares to use for the caramel top. Using a 3 inch round cookie cutter, cut rounds from the squares. To make the caramel topping: Line a jellyroll pan with parchment paper and butter the paper. Place the cake rounds on the paper.
2.Stir the sugar, water and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over a medium heat, stirring often to dissolve the sugar. Once dissolved into a smooth syrup, turn the heat up to high and boil without stirring, swirling the pan by the handle occasionally and washing down any sugar crystals on the sides of the pan with a wet brush until the syrup has turned into an amber-coloured caramel.
3. Using a spoon, pour caramel evenly over the round cake layers. Let cool until beginning to set, about 30 seconds. Using the round cookie cutter (keep re-oiling this with a pastry brush between cutting), cut around the circles to trim them neatly. Cool completely.
To Assemble:

Divide the square cake layers into groups of 5 or 6, and 1 cake round. Spread one cake square with the buttercream, and place another cake square layer on top. Continue with the layering until there is a stack of 5 or 6. When all the stacks are complete, use the buttercream to cover the outsides completely. Optionally: add chopped hazelnuts to the sides. (At this point, I chilled my cakes to set the buttercream.) Add the caramel circles to the top of each personal torta on a slant and lifted by a whole hazelnut beneath each circle.

It's amazing how many versions of this Dobos Torta were made by our members of Daring Bakers. I'd love to hear about yours...or send me a piece. MMmmmm.


Julie (Willow Bird Baking) said...

Lovely! I love the scoring detail on the sides of your tortes, and the shape!

Anonymous said...

So beautiful and I love your description of the torte! Man, I need to get come cookie cutters...I did mini ones also and cut them by hand. What a pain!

emicat said...

Love your addition of Earl Grey to the buttercream - I'll have to try that!

This was my first challenge as a DB and I'm enjoying seeing everyone's tortes.

Anna said...

Your torte looks great! :)

dandelion said...

What a terrific spin on Mocha frosting. The bergamot must have made a unique flavor profile. Did it go well with the caramel? I can see how it would. I too cut my rounds from a sheet. Made life a lot easier. Enjoyed the photos. See you next month.

Kelsey B. said...

Wow, this looks amazing! I just signed up for Daring Bakers and am excited to join your ranks!!

Jill @ Jillicious Discoveries said...

I love the little dobos and the round caramel decorations look beautiful! :)

Sara said...

Mmmmmm, gorgeous! I love the idea of using earl grey tea here.

Jenni said...

I know I always have a slight panic attack when I first see the challenge, so don't worry about that, its totally normal! Anyway, your torte looks great! And I looooove the Earl Gray tea flavor! Brilliant! I am madly obsessed with earl grey tea (it probably isn't healthy) so I am probably going to have to make your version of this... great job!!!

Laura said...

Love the mini-tortes, what a great idea! And now you've got me wondering what Earl Grey buttercream would taste like. Great job!

ice tea: sugar high said...

WOW! those are amazing! the Earl Grey buttercream sounds delish.. yummmm