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Tropical Chocolate Torte with Vanilla Habanero Sauce

This is the Fallen Chocolate Souffle Cake from Alice Medrich's Bittersweet, tricked out with tropical flavors and a killer hot-sweet vanilla pepper sauce.  It was inspired by my friend Selma's birthday; she is a fire-eater who grew the chilis.

Oven 375 degrees; 9 inch springform pan with parchment round for the bottom

The Torte

30g (1 ounce) toasted unsalted cashews, ground finely
30g (3T) all purpose flour or a 50:50 mix of hard and soft white wheat flours
1/4 t salt
1/8 t cardamom
1/4 t mace

90g (3 ounces) bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used Scharffenberger 70%)
1/2 C cocoa (not alkali or dutch processed, if possible)
1 C sugar
1/2 C boiling water

4 large eggs, separated (you will need two yolks and four whites)
1/4 C unsweetened shredded coconut
2 t grated ginger

1/4 t cream of tartar

Preheat the oven to 375 and prepare a 9-inch springform pan (butter well or use a cooking spray, plus a parchment sheet for the bottom).

The toasted cashews can be ground in a special nut mill (like a rotary cheese grater with a very fine holes) or you can whirl them in a food processor with the flour until they're the texture of fine cornmeal.  (If you grind them in the processor by themselves, you'll end up with nut butter, which is entirely the wrong consistency.)  The cashews, flour, salt and spices should be whisked together and set aside. 

Lightly toast the coconut in a heavy pan (stirring constantly as soon as it begins to color) or microwave until just golden.  Add two tablespoons to the flour/nut mixture and reserve the rest for garnish.

Separate the eggs, reserving four whites to beat later and two yolks to add to the batter later.  You will have two leftover yolks for custard (or to feed to the cat, as you prefer).

Add the chocolate, cocoa and sugar to a heatproof bowl or pitcher.  Pour the boiling water over and stir until the chocolate is dissolved and everything is smooth.

Beat in the eggs and ginger.  When smooth, add the dry ingredients and stir until mixed completely.

Beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry.  Fold a quarter or a third of the egg whites into the chocolate batter, then fold the lightened chocolate batter into the remaining egg whites. 

Pour into the prepared pan and tap or swirl gently to level the batter.   Bake 28-30 minutes (tester should come out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it).  Cool the well-risen torte in the pan; it will fall and this is expected.

Carefully remove the pan rim, releasing the cake from the rim with a thin knife if necessary.  Invert once onto a plate, remove the springform base and the parchment, and invert again onto a serving platter.

Wicked Vanilla-Habanero Sauce

1 13.5 oz can light coconut milk
1 cake of palm sugar (about 2 ounces) or 1/4 C packed light brown sugar

2 inches vanilla bean, cut into 1/4 inch sections
1 habanero chili, seeded and finely chopped (rubber gloves recommended!) (or more to your taste....)

In a small saucepan, bring the coconut milk and palm sugar to a boil, stirring occasionally.  When it is boiling, remove from heat.  Add the vanilla pieces and the chili, stir well and let steep until cool.  Strain carefully and handle the pepper bits circumspectly as you discard them.

Serve the cake with the habanero sauce over the top. 

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