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Culinary SOS: Cucina Rustica's chocolate trio torte

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Dear SOS: Last summer while vacationing in Sedona, Ariz., our family had a fabulous dinner at an Italian restaurant called Cucina Rustica. For dessert we had the most delicious three-chocolate mousse cheesecake. I would love to have this recipe. It is divine! I am hoping that you can procure this recipe.

Ann deJong

Huntington Beach

Dear Ann: A chocolate lover's dream come true, Cucina Rustica's torte combines smooth layers of creamy bittersweet, milk and white chocolate mousse on top of a rich chocolate cookie crust. It's divine and dangerous, all at the same time.

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Cucina Rustica's chocolate trio torte

Total time: 1½ hours, plus time for the layers to set up

Servings: 16 to 20

Note: Adapted from a recipe by Linda Dompkowski of Cucina Rustica in Sedona, Ariz. This recipe calls for a 9-inch springform pan and clear (3-inch to 4-inch) cake collars (parchment paper can be substituted for the cake collars). Cake collars are generally available at baking supply and cooking stores. The restaurant suggests saving some of the mousse to use as a garnish for the final torte, using it to pipe rosettes; we garnished the torte in the picture with chocolate shavings.


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Chocolate cookie crust

3 cups chocolate cookie crumbs (from 2½ to 3 dozen chocolate graham cracker sandwich cookies, crumbled)

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted

1. Prepare the pan. Very lightly butter the bottom and sides of the pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and the sides with the cake collars or parchment paper.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the chocolate cookie crumbs and melted butter. Using a spatula or your hands, work the butter and crumbs until well-combined.

3. Press the cookie mixture into the base of the pan, pressing it firmly to the base. Smooth around the base of the pan with the back of a spoon to form a level crust, and brush any spare crumbs from the sides of the pan. Place the pan in the freezer until ready to add a layer of mousse.

Bittersweet chocolate mousse assembly

1 3/4 cups heavy cream, divided

1 1/2 teaspoons powdered gelatin

1/4 cup very cold water

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

Prepared chocolate cookie crust

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat 1¼ cups of the heavy cream to very soft peaks. Place the bowl in the refrigerator until needed.

2. In a medium bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water to soften. Set the mixture aside for several minutes until all of the gelatin is softened.

3. Place the gelatin bowl over a larger pot of simmering water (a double boiler) and heat until the gelatin melts into the water. Remove the double boiler from the stove and set aside.

4. Place the chocolate in a large bowl.

5. Pour the remaining one-half cup cream into a medium, heavy-bottom saucepan and scald over high heat. Continue to heat until the cream really begins to bubble, then remove from heat and pour the cream over the chocolate. Set the mixture aside for several minutes to allow the cream to begin to melt the chocolate, then begin to whisk the cream into the chocolate.

6. Whisk the chocolate for several minutes until it is completely melted and combined with the cream and the cream has cooled. Whisk in the gelatin mixture until smooth and creamy, then gently fold in the lightly whipped cream until evenly combined.

7. Pour the mousse over the chocolate cookie crust and return to the freezer to set up the mousse.

Milk chocolate mousse assembly

1 3/4 cups heavy cream, divided

1 1/2 teaspoons powdered gelatin

1/4 cup very cold water

8 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped

Prepared chocolate cookie crust with set bittersweet mousse layer

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat 1¼ cups of the heavy cream to very soft peaks. Place the bowl in the refrigerator until needed.

2. In a medium bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water to soften. Set the mixture aside for several minutes until all of the gelatin is softened.

3. Place the gelatin bowl over a larger pot of simmering water (a double boiler) and heat until the gelatin melts into the water. Remove the double boiler from the stove and set aside.

4. Place the chocolate in a large bowl.

5. Pour the remaining one-half cup cream into a medium, heavy-bottom saucepan and scald over high heat. Continue to heat until the cream really begins to bubble, then remove from heat and pour the cream over the chocolate. Set the mixture aside for several minutes to allow the cream to begin to melt the chocolate, then begin to whisk the cream into the chocolate.

6. Whisk the chocolate for several minutes until it is completely melted and combined with the cream and the cream has cooled. Whisk in the gelatin mixture until smooth and creamy, then gently fold in the lightly whipped cream until evenly combined. This mousse will be much softer in texture than the bittersweet mousse. Don't worry, it will firm up as it sets in the freezer.

7. Pour the milk chocolate mousse over the bittersweet chocolate mousse and return to the freezer to set up. Be careful to freeze until the milk chocolate is set up before adding the white chocolate mousse, otherwise, the white chocolate mousse might break through the milk chocolate mousse, ruining the layers.

White chocolate mousse and final assembly

1 3/4 cups heavy cream, divided

1 1/2 teaspoons powdered gelatin

1/4 cup very cold water

8 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped

Prepared chocolate cookie crust with set bittersweet and milk chocolate mousse layers

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat 1¼ cups of the heavy cream to very soft peaks. Place the bowl in the refrigerator until needed.

2. In a medium bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water to soften. Set the mixture aside for several minutes until all of the gelatin is softened.

3. Place the gelatin bowl over a larger pot of simmering water (a double boiler) and heat until the gelatin melts into the water. Remove the double boiler from the stove and set aside.

4. Place the chocolate in a large bowl.

5. Pour the remaining one-half cup cream into a medium, heavy-bottom saucepan and scald over high heat. Continue to heat until the cream really begins to bubble, then remove from heat and pour the cream over the chocolate. Set the mixture aside for several minutes to allow the cream to begin to melt the chocolate, then begin to whisk the cream into the chocolate.

6. Whisk the chocolate for several minutes until it is completely melted and combined with the cream and the cream has cooled. Whisk in the gelatin mixture until smooth and creamy, then gently fold in the lightly whipped cream until evenly combined. Like the milk chocolate mousse, this mousse will be much softer in texture than the bittersweet mousse. Don't worry, it will firm up as it sets in the freezer.

7. Pour the white chocolate mousse over the milk chocolate mousse and return to the freezer. Freeze the completed torte until completely set before unmolding.

Each of 20 servings: 515 calories; 5 grams protein; 33 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 42 grams fat; 25 grams saturated fat; 106 mg cholesterol; 21 grams sugar; 163 mg sodium.

SOS REQUESTS: Send Culinary SOS requests to noelle.carter@latimes.com or Culinary SOS, Food section, Los Angeles Times, 202 W. 1st St., Los Angeles, CA 90012. Please include your name, phone number and city of residence.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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