Tuesday, April 22, 2014
S is for Squirrel and Sachertorte.
I have always loved squirrels, but I supposed nobody would without their fluffy tails. A friend in England takes dozens of grey squirrel pictures although she finds them a great nuisance with her bird feeders and has made many efforts to introduce squirrel proof bird feeders to her yard. Having read her squirrel woes on several of her blogs, I couldn’t resist sending her this picture which I thought was both funny and appropriate. I can imagine this happening, squirrels are cheeky enough for anything. Originally in the UK we had red squirrels which were indigenous to the British Isles and are somewhat smaller. Unfortunately the grey was introduced and they have decimated the population of red squirrels. Pity, they are pretty little animals. Where I live in Canada we have masses of black squirrels which I discovered are an off-shoot of the grey, but much nicer to look at I think, especially in the snow. An English king was once shot whilst hunting in the woods, the person who shot him swore blind he had been shooting at a red squirrel. The king was known as William Rufus because he had red hair.
My parents were lucky enough to spend some time in Vienna, Austria and they certainly went into Sacher’s. Whether they ate the famous torte or not, I really don’t know. This is a recipe from BBC Food which I hope is pretty authentic.
Mary Berry from The Great British Bake Off. This chocolate cake is said to have been be invented in Vienna by the chef Franz Sacher in 1832. It improves if left a day or two before cutting
140g/5oz plain chocolate
140g/5oz unsalted butter, softened
115g/4oz caster sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
5 free-range eggs, separated
85g/3oz ground almonds
55g/2oz plain flour, sieved
For the topping and the icing
6 tbsp apricot jam, sieved
140g/5oz plain chocolate
200ml/7fl oz double cream
25g/1oz milk chocolate
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease a deep 23cm/9in round cake tin then line the base with greaseproof paper.
2. Break the chocolate into pieces, melt gently in a bowl set over a pan of hot water, stirring occasionally, then cool slightly. Beat the butter in a bowl until really soft, then gradually beat in the sugar until the
mixture is light and fluffy. Add the cooled chocolate and the vanilla extract and beat again. Add the egg yolks, then fold in the ground almonds and sieved flour. The mixture will be quite thick at this stage.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they are stiff but not dry. Add about one-third to the chocolate mixture and stir in vigorously. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface.
4. Bake in the oven for about 45-50 minutes, or until well risen at the top and the cake springs back when lightly pressed with a finger. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes then turn out, peel off the paper and finish cooling on a wire rack.
5. To make the topping, heat the apricot jam in a small pan and then brush evenly over the top and sides of the cold cake. Allow to set.
6. Make the icing by breaking the plain chocolate into pieces. Heat the cream until piping hot, remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted, then cool til a coating consistency. Then pour the icing on to the centre of the cake. Spread it gently over the top and down the sides, and leave to set.
7. For the ‘icing’ writing, break the milk chocolate into pieces then melt gently in a bowl set over a pan of hot water. Spoon into a small paper icing bag or polythene bag and snip off the corner. Pipe ‘Sacher’ across the top and leave to set.
Have a great day