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Flourless Chocolate Cake

10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup (6 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 teaspoons vanilla
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
bittersweet chocolate glaze
1 cup chopped, toasted hazelnuts or macadamia nuts (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 deg F. Butter a 9" springform pan. Line
the bottom with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit precisely.
In heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, combine chocolate and
butter. Heat, stirring, until mixture is smooth. Remove from heat
and let cool. Whisk in the vanilla. In a large bowl, combine the
eggs and sugar. Using an electric mixer set on medium-high speed,
beat until the mixture lightens and triples in volume, about 6
minutes. Pour the chocolate mixture over the egg mixture. Using a
rubber spatula, gently fold them together. Pour the batter into
the prepared pan. Bake until the top forms a crust and cracks, and
a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with some wet batter
attached, about 45 minutes. Transfer to a rack. Immediately run a
knife around the pan sides to loosen the cake; it will fall in the
center. Press down on the edges to even the top. Let cool. Release
the pan sides and remove them. Trim off any crumbly edges. Invert
a flat plate over the cake and invert them together. Lift off the
pan bottom and peel off the parchment paper. Pour the lukewarm
glaze over the cake top; use an icing spatula to coax it down the
sides. If desired, press 1 cup chopped, toasted hazelnuts or
macadamia nuts onto the sides of the freshly glazed cake. Refrigerate
until the glaze sets, about 1 hour.

Bittersweet Chocolate Glaze
Yield: 1-1/3 cups

6 Tablespoons heavy (double) cream
6 Tablespoons dark corn syrup
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 Tablespoon Cognac or rum (optional)

In a medium, heavy saucepan over medium heat, combine the cream
and the corn syrup. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to
low. Add the chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth, about 1
minute. Remove from the heat and let stand until lukewarm, about
10 minutes. The glaze should be thick but still pourable.

For raspberry flavor: Increase the cream to 1/2 cup and use 6
Tablespoons seedless raspberry jam in place of the corn syrup.

For topping cheesecake: Omit the corn syrup and increase the cream
to 3/4 cup.


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