Cranberry-Chocolate Eistorte

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This dessert is both delicious and unusual. The mushrooms are optional, but give it personality. Cranberry is too special a taste to reserve for the holidays. Freeze the berries, and enjoy the pairing of chocolate and cranberry out of season. The coolness and supersmoothness of this dessert make it a welcome finale to a summer meal.

Ingredients

Cranberry Sorbet

  • 1 ¾ cups water
  • 2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar
  • 12 ounces (3 cups) cranberries, washed and picked over
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 1 recipe Chocolate Whipped Cream

Decorating Equipment

8-inch round straight-sided cake pan, 8-inch stiff cardboard round, cake decorating turntable

Method

Advance Preparations

Prepare Chocolate Meringue Mushrooms, if using,. Store in an airtight metal container at room temperature until ready to use.

Making the Sorbet

Place the water and sugar in a heavy 2 ½-quart saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Pour in the cranberries, increase heat to medium and bring to a boil. Continue to boil, stirring occasionally and reducing the heat if necessary to prevent an overflow, until all the cranberries have popped and a pink foam covers the surface (about 4½ minutes). Remove from heat and let cool for 10 to 15 minutes.

Pour the cranberry mixture into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade (it will fit in the standard-size processor bowl), and process with on and off spurts just until the cranberries are chopped finely but not pureed (about 30 seconds). Pour into a large, shallow stainless steel bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Place the 8-inch cake pan in the freezer, so that it will be very cold for molding the sorbet later.

When the cranberry mixture is chilled, stir in the lemon and orange juices. Then prepare the sorbet in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Scoop the sorbet into the cold pan. Smooth and level it with a rubber spatula, cover with foil and freeze it for at least 12 hours, or until firm.

Unmolding the Sorbet

Choose a baking sheet that fits in the freezer and place it in the refrigerator to chill before unmolding the sorbet.

Fill a large, shallow bowl with cool water. Remove the sorbet mold from the freezer, and run a thin-bladed knife down the side of the pan and around the perimeter of the sorbet to loosen it. Hold the pan in water just to its rim for 30 to 45 seconds. Remove, tilt and rotate the pan to see if sorbet is being loosened from sides. Return the pan to the water if necessary. Remove the baking sheet from the refrigerator.

Wipe excess water from the pan and cover the sorbet with the cardboard round, then the chilled baking sheet. Invert the pan, shaking and tapping it gently until the sorbet slips out. If the surface area is slightly melted, smooth the top and sides with an 8-inch metal icing spatula. Return the sorbet to the freezer.

Making the Whipped Cream

Prepare Chocolate Whipped Cream.

Assembling the Dessert

When the Chocolate Whipped Cream is finished, remove the molded sorbet from freezer. Lift under its cardboard with the aid of a metal spatula; hold the sorbet in one hand, and with the other, coat the sides with the cream with a flexible metal icing spatula. Rotate the dessert on its cardboard and smooth the sides until they are completely frosted. Now place the dessert on the turntable, and mask the top and sides with the cream as directed.

Return the dessert to the freezer until serving time.

Serving the Dessert

Garnish with Chocolate Meringue Mushrooms, if using, before serving. Serve each portion on chilled plates.