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When chilled, transfer the chocolate-cream to a 4 1/2 quart bowl of a
heavy-duty electric mixer with the wire whip attachment. Beat on
medium speed until the mixture is light in color and soft peaks start
to form. Do not overbeat or the mixture will be grainy. Refrigerate
until ready to use.
Make the dark chocolate curls: Warm the chocolate slightly by placing
it on a piece of waxed paper in a microwave oven set on MEDIUM (50
percent) power for 20 second intervals, until it begins to soften.
This can take 3 to 6 tries, depending on the wattage of the microwave
oven, type and brand of chocolate and the heat of the kitchen. The
chocolate should soften slightly, not melt. Alternatively, soften the
chocolate by placing it about 6 inches beneath the warm bulb of a
desk lamp for 5 to 10 minutes, turning it every couple of minutes,
until it begins to soften.
Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Grip a square of chocolate with
a paper towel so your hand does not melt the chocolate. Using a sharp
vegetable peeler, scrape one side of the square of chocolate in a
downward motion, forming loosely shaped curls. As you form the curls,
let the curls drop onto the paper-lined baking sheet. (Chocolate that
is only slightly softened will form tight curls; overly heated
chocolate will curl very little.) Refrigerate the curls on the baking
sheet until you are ready to garnish the cakes.
Make the orange compote: With a sharp paring knife, peel the oranges
and cut them into segments. Cut each segment into 3 pieces. In a
medium saucepan combine the orange juice and the honey and bring to a
boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer until the juice
begins to thicken and turn syrupy, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Meanwhile, dissolve the cornstarch in the orange liqueur. When the
orange juice mixture has reduced, add the cornstarch mixture and
whisk until the mixture thickens. Simmer for 30 seconds; remove the
pan from the heat. Fold in the reserved orange segments. Set aside to
Make the milk chocolate glaze: Place the chopped chocolate into a
medium stainless steel bowl. In a medium saucepan bring the heavy
cream and corn syrup to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and pour
the cream over the chocolate. Stir in the almond liqueur. Assemble
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange six 3- inch-by-1
3/4-inch metal rings on the paper. Place a cake round in the bottom
of each ring.
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip (such as Ateco #5)
with the whipped milk chocolate-orange cream. Pipe a thin layer of
the milk chocolate-orange cream over the cake rounds. Press another
cake round into each ring, and repeat with a layer of the milk
chocolate cream. Place the final cake rounds into the ring and finish
the tops with the remaining milk chocolate-orange cream. Using a
metal spatula, scrape across the tops of the rings to smooth and
level the cream. Chill the cakes for 1 hour or until firm.
Glaze the cakes: Using a damp (not wet) very hot towel, carefully
heat the outside of the metal rings and push the cakes up from the
bottoms to unmold. Arrange the cakes on a wire rack set over a baking
sheet to catch the excess glaze.
Pour the warm milk chocolate glaze over the cakes, coating each one
completely. Use a metal spatula to touch up any missed spots on the
sides. When the glaze has set slightly, decorate the tops with the
dark chocolate curls.
Serve the cakes at room temperature with the orange compote.
– Paige LaCava
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