All-American Peppermint Stick Torte with Hot Fudge Sauce

serves 12-14

For the Torte

1 9-ounce box of chocolate wafers (I use Nabisco's Famous)

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup (4 oz) unsalted butter, melted

7 1/2 oz hard peppermint candies, about 45 small round pieces or 14 standard size candy canes

6 extra large egg yolks

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup water

1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

3 cups chilled whipping cream

For the Sauce

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Dutch-processed)

2/3 cup heavy cream

1 cup light corn syrup

1 lb (16 oz) semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

5 1/2 tablespoons (2 1/2 oz ) unsalted butter

pinch of kosher salt

1/2 cup chilled heavy cream

1 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar

12 round peppermint candies for garnish

For the Torte

In a food processor, finely grind the chocolate wafers and sugar.  Add the melted butter and blend until the mixture resembles wet sand.  Place the crumbs in a 9 x 2 3/4-inch springform pan.  Press them firmly onto the bottom and up the sides.  Place in the freezer.

Place the candies in a heavy-duty ziploc bag and crush into small pieces using a heavy mallet.  In a medium heat -proof bowl, whisk together the yolks, sugar, and water.  Place the bowl over a saucepan of rapidly simmering water (do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water).  Whisk constantly until a candy thermometer inserted into the mixture registers 170º F, about 6 minutes.  Remove the bowl from over the water and add half the crushed candies, whisking until melted.  Let the mixture rest for 5 minutes, whisking occasionally.  Mix in the remaining crushed candy and peppermint extract.  Cool for 5 more minutes, whisking occasionally.

In a large medium bowl, beat the cold cream to soft peaks.  Fold the cream into the yolk mixture.  Pour the parfait mixture into the frozen crust, smoothing the top.  Cover with aluminum foil (take care not to touch the filling). Freeze until firm, at least 6 hours or overnight.  Can be made 1 week in advance.

For the sauce

Place the cocoa in a heavy-based saucepan. Slowly pour in the cream and whisk until smooth. Add the corn syrup, chopped chocolate, butter, and salt. Set the pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally to combine. When the chocolate has melted, allow the mixture to come to a boil, reduce the heat and let it boil gently until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.  Let the sauce cool until it’s just warm (steam should no longer rise from the sauce when it’s stirred).

For serving

In a small bowl, beat the 1/2 cup of cream and sugar until soft peaks.  Spoon into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and pipe rosettes of cream around the top edge of the torte.  Place the peppermint candies between the rosettes.  Slice and serve with the warm sauce.  Enjoy!

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