Twenty-four-year-old Mississippi home cook Lauren Scott was the only contestant on last week’s premiere of ABC’s The Taste to make dessert – a flourless chocolate cake with a pistachio-bourbon ganache and pistachio brittle. And though the series’ judges Nigella Lawson, Anthony Bourdain, Ludo Lefebvre and Brian Malarkey only got a spoonful of the decadent dessert, it was enough to wow all three and convince proud dessert-lover Lawson to choose Scott for her team.
If you missed last week’s premiere, here’s the gist: all four judges will assemble a team of four cooks — some professional, some not — to mentor through weekly elimination challenges. At the end of each episode, the mentors take part in a blinding tasting of a single spoonful of the competitor’s dishes, with no knowledge of who made what, what’s in it or how it was made. The loser is sent packing until one cook and one team emerges victorious.
Just in time to wow your Valentine, here’s the recipe for Scott’s loving — and Lawson-loved — spoonful.
Lauren Scott’s Flourless Chocolate Layer Cake with Pistachio Bourbon Ganache
5 oz dark chocolate, 70%
1 C sugar
1Ž4 C butter, unsalted
1T cocoa powder, sifted
8 oz dark chocolate, 70%
8 oz heavy cream
1Ž2 C pistachios roasted/salted, pulsed into a paste
1 C sugar
1Ž2 C butter, unsalted
1Ž2 C pistachios, roasted/salted
1Ž4 C light corn syrup
1 t vanilla extract
1Ž2 t water
1Ž2 t baking soda
1Ž2 t cayenne pepper
1Ž2 t black sesame seeds
For whipped cream:
1 C heavy cream
1T powdered sugar
For cake: pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. In a double boiler melt the chocolate and butter, remove fro heat and allow to cool slightly. In a stand mixer, whisk eggs and sugar together until foamy. Slowly temper chocolate mixture into egg mixture, slowly add the cocoa powder and mix until just combined. Line the bottom of a circular baking pan with parchment paper and spread the batter into the pan. Bake for about 35-45 minutes, the cake should be firm to the touch but soft on this inside. When the cake is cool, unmold from pan and slice into two circles down the center horizontally. On one circle, spread a thick layer of the ganache, top with the other layer of cake and frost the outer part of the cake with the ganache and allow to set before cutting.
For ganache: in a sauce pan, bring cream to a boil. In a heat proof bowl, pour hot cream over chocolate to melt and stir to combine. Fold in pistachio and bourbon.
For brittle: Place sugar, water and corn syrup in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer until it reads about 310 degrees on a candy thermometer. The mixture will be very hot and should be thick and starting to caramelize. Remove from heat and fold in all the other ingredients using a wooden spoon or high heat rubber spatula. Line a sheet pan with a silpat and spread the brittle over it to cool. It should harden as it cools.
For whipped cream: place cream and sugar into a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, mix until thick.
To plate: Place a piece of cake on a plate, top with whipped cream and crumble a piece of brittle over the cream.
New episodes of The Taste air Tuesdays at 8/7CT on ABC. After each episode airs, the how-tos for each dish features will be posted to the show’s Recipe Wall.