Indulge in my seductive version of Spain's “Torta de Galletas”. Like native, el Flamenco, Tempranillo wine leads this artful partnership. The reduction= dance. The torta= singing. The bark= la guitarra. This dessert satisfies all textural and flavor desires imaginable.
1Preheat the oven to 325F degrees. Grease 4 8 oz. crème brûlée dishes. Cut a circular piece of parchment paper based on the size of the ramekins and place in the bottom of each, and grease again.
2Using a double boiler method, melt the chocolate; stir occasionally until silky. Remove the bowl from the heat and double boiler. Spread 1/8 cup of chocolate on parchment paper. Crumble 3 cookies over the chocolate. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and the ¼ teaspoon of pepper. Set in the freezer.
3Stir the butter into the remaining chocolate until melted completely. Stir in the coffee. Temper the egg yolks by whisking in a little bit of the chocolate mixture, and then beat the eggs into the chocolate mix until well combined.
4A ½ cup at a time, just until combined, beat in the 114 g. powdered sugar, 2 tbsp. flour, and remaining salt.
5With clean beaters, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. In thirds, fold the whites in to the batter.
6Distribute the batter evenly into the ramekins. Let them rest for 2 minutes. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the top forms a smooth, crispy torta crust (Or, until a toothpick comes out clean. Visible little streaks or bits of cake/chocolate are perfectly fine because the cake is fudgy.)
7Meanwhile, place the pitted cherries on a flat surface. Bunch them close together. Apply pressure, press a flat lid or a plate down on them to hold them still, and slice all the cherries in half sideways at once! (Or, one by one, of course.)
8Bring the wine, sugar, cinnamon, and cloves to a rolling boil on medium-high heat. Maintain that for 10 minutes. Remove the cloves; add the cherries. Continue reducing for another 5 minutes until the wine is thick and syrupy. (Make a slurry with the sauce and 1/2 tsp cornstarch if a thicker consistency is desired; whisk in when hot.)
9Meanwhile, pulse the crumble ingredients together: remaining 6 cookies, pretzels, and butter. Set aside. To make the whipped cream: beat the heavy cream, vanilla beans, and remaining 2 tbsp. powdered sugar until stiff peaks form.
10Release the torta from the sides with an offset spatula or knife. Remove parchment from cake. Each individual torta is served with the Tempranillo cherry reduction, fresh vanilla whipped cream, a piece of seasoned galleta bark, and galleta crumble.