Simple and Sumptuous Chocolate Pavé
Pavé is the French word for “paving stone.” Chocolate pavés are very rich, smooth and dense and are often called flourless cakes, because they are completely gluten free. This recipe is lovely for the simplicity of its ingredients, even if it is a bit on the rich side. (It’s not named after a paving stone for nothing.)
3 and 1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
15 tablespoons (2 sticks minus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter
6 eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter a 9- by 13-inch baking dish and line the bottom with parchment paper. Butter the paper and dust the pan with flour or cocoa powder, shaking out the excess.
2. Set a medium heat-proof bowl over (but not touching) simmering water and add unsweetened chocolate, semisweet chocolate, and butter. Heat until melted and smooth, stirring often. Set aside to cool.
3. Separate 6 eggs, and whisk the 6 yolks with 1/2 cup sugar. Continue to whisk until the mixture forms a ribbon when the whisk is lifted from the bowl and all the sugar has dissolved, about 10 minutes. Fold the yolk mixture into the melted chocolate.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk the 6 egg whites until foamy. Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Continue to whisk until the mixture looks glossy and holds a soft shape.
5. Fold the whites into the chocolate mixture in three parts. Fold only until there are no visible streaks of white.
6. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish, smooth the top and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. As the cake cooks it will develop cracks on the top; this is normal. The cake is done when the sides are set and the center is still slightly soft. Let the cake cool completely. Invert the cake onto a baking sheet, remove the parchment paper and then invert onto a serving platter. Dust the top with sifted powdered sugar.
Makes one 9- by 13-inch cake.
Adapted from The Art of Simple Food: Notes, Lessons and Recipes from a Delicious Revolution by Alice Waters (Clarkson Potter, 2007).