Smoked Brandy Chocolate Torte with a Crackling Cumin Spiced Base
(can be vegan – see bottom of page)
This Torte is incredibly rich and indulgent with beautiful deep flavours. But it’s also really quick and easy to make. The Smoked Brandy adds flavour that compliments the chocolate and mimics its own smoky notes, whilst the cumin provides subtle heat to the dessert and an earthy quality that works really well here. Then finally the pop rocks in the base lighten the dessert and add an element of fun with their crackling, popping in the mouth sensation
First off prepare your Smoked Brandy – This uses a really cool, new, super fast technique. See the Bottom of the page for the recipe and technique or click here
(If you don’t have the equipment to make this you can use plain brandy but the flavour profile will be different and I’ve put a link below to where you can affordably buy the equipment to perform this super quick technique)
Now make the base
150g Digestive Biscuits
70g Softened Butter
One Tablespoon Honey
Two Tablespoons of Neutral Flavoured Pop Rocks
One Tablespoon finely ground toasted cumin seeds
Blitz the digestives to fine a breadcrumb consistency and pop them in a bowl along with the ground cumin. Now mix in the softened butter and syrup. Work this mix briefly until it begins to stick together. Finally gently mix in the pop rocks.
Gently press the base mix into the bottom of a cake tin and smooth down with the back of a spoon.
The Smoked Brandy Chocolate Mix
300g Dark Chocolate (Good quality 70% plus cocoa solids dark chocolate is a must for this dessert)
150ml Single Cream
Seeds of one Vanilla Pod
Three Tablespoons Maple Syrup (or you could use a simple syrup)
Eight Tablespoons of your Smoked Brandy (see below or click here)
Place the chocolate and vanilla seeds in a metal or glass bowl above a pan of water just off the boil. Once the chocolate is melted stir in the cream, then the Smoked Brandy and finally the Syrup. Stir together until you get a smooth glossy mix. Pour onto the base and smooth the top flat. Chill for at least four hours in the fridge but ideally overnight.
Smoked Brandy Recipe and Technique
Applewood smoking chips
Polyscience Smoking Gun (Pictured Below)
Mosa Cream Whipper (Pictured Below)
Two 8gm Nitrous Oxide Cartridges
Pour the brandy into your cream whipper. Now using the smoking gun fill the whpper with applewood smoke via the rubber tube connected to the smoking gun and quickly screw on the cream whipper top. Now you’re ready to use a fast infusion technique to get that smoky flavour into the brandy. Charge the cream whipper with two 8gm Nitrous Oxide cartridges. Shake the whipper for 30 seconds then let it rest for a further 30 seconds. Now slowly vent out the gas with the whipper in the upright position. And there you go you now have smoked brandy. This basic fast infusion technique (which I’ve written about elsewhere) was developed by Dave Arnold, but I don’t think anyone has used it to infuse smoke into alcohol in this way before. So this may well be a new technique, or at least a new variation.
Cream Whipper and Smoking Gun. Available from
For a Vegan version
Simply replace the butter with vegan margarine
Replace honey with maple syrup
Replace the cream with soy cream
And double-check your dark chocolate and biscuits are vegan.
This recipe works great as a vegan version, I’ve tried doing it this way and it comes out perfect.
Smoke Infused Spirits Recipe and Technique
Can be applied to infusing a variety of alcohols with smoke flavours.
Mosa Cream Whipper and PolyScience Smoking Gun
Available from www.Modernist-Chef.com
200ml Your choice of spirit to infuse with smoke
Smoking chips/sawdust (or your choice of smoking chips or even teas, spices etc.)
Polyscience Smoking Gun (Pictured Above)
Mosa Cream Whipper (Pictured Above)
Two 8gm Nitrous Oxide Cartridges
Pour the spirit into your cream whipper. Now using the smoking gun fill the whpper with smoke via the rubber tube connected to the smoking gun and quickly screw on the cream whipper top. Now you’re ready to use a fast infusion technique to get that smoky flavour into the brandy. Charge the cream whipper with two 8gm Nitrous Oxide cartridges. Shake the whipper for 30 seconds then let it rest for a further 30 seconds. Now slowly vent out the gas with the whipper in the upright position. And there you go, you now have your smoked spirit. This basic fast infusion technique (which I’ve written about elsewhere) was developed by Dave Arnold, but I don’t think anyone has used it to infuse smoke into alcohol in this way before. So this may well be a new technique, or at least a new variation.
To ee a recipe where I use this technique Click Here
‘Bread and Butter Pudding’
Warm, Sweet Nutmeg Butter Powder
Vanilla and Cinnamon Milk Fluid Gel
Chambord Liqueur Soaked Grapes
So, this is my modern take on an old fashioned, simple, comforting pudding. I hope I’ve managed to keep the essence of the origional desert but add texture contrasts and, by separating the various traditional elements of the desert, highlight several of the elements individual characteristics and how they ultimately work together. The flavours of this dish are of a beautiful, lovingly made, bread and butter pudding, but the experience of eating it and the effect of isolating some of the different flavours and using different textures makes this a really interesting delicious dessert, perfect in the colder seasons. The Glazed Brioche is sweet, crunchy on top and soft underneath. The Milk fluid gel is light and flavourful. The Chambord soaked grapes provide a rich, fruity, sweet and luxurious touch. And finally the Sweet Nutmeg Butter Powder, which turns into melted butter in your mouth, ties the whole desert together.
Warm, sweet nutmeg butter powder
100g Unsalted Butter
2 teaspoons grated nutmeg
15g Demerara Sugar
15g Caster Sugar
60g (approx) Ab-zorbit Tapioca Maltodextrin (Texturas Malto)
Place the butter, sugar and nutmeg in a small pan and gently melt. Heat the butter mix, stirring occasionally, until it barely reaches a simmer and keep it at this temperature for around ten minuits. Pour the butter mixture into a plastic container and place covered in the fridge, stir after about and hour, before the butter is fully set. Then leave covered in the fridge overnight or for up to a couple of days.
When you’re ready to make the powder, cube the set butter mix and re-melt it in a small pan. Pour the melted butter into a large bowl and bit by bit stir in the Tapioca Maltodextrin until the mixture has the appearance of breadcrumbs. Now force the butter powder though a sieve to end up with a fine consistent powder.
When ready to serve heat the powder up in a dry frying pan and spoon the warm powder on to the plate. This powder will turn to melted butter in you mouth as it comes into contact with moisture.
Vanilla and Cinnamon Milk Fluid Gel
500ml Whole Milk
2 Vanilla Pods
1 Tablespoon of broken Cassia Bark
75g Caster Sugar
25g Ultratex 3
Split the vanilla pods and scrape out the seeds. Heat the Milk, cassia bark, vanilla seeds and pods and the Sugar in a small pan whilst stirring until the milk reaches a simmer. Then set the covered pan to one side to cool and infuse. Once cooled strain the milk then blend the ultratex into the milk in a tall container using an immersion blender. The Milk will thicken to the consistency of custard. When ready to serve reheat the Milk fluid gel in a pan whilst stirring then spoon onto the plate (with a cheffy smear if you fancy)
Thin Slices of Brioche
2 Egg Yolks
1 Tablespoon Whole Milk
1 Teaspoon Honey
Pinch Powdered Cinnamon
Demerara Sugar to sprinkle
Lightly toast thin slices of Brioche. Beat together the egg yolks, Milk, honey and cinnamon and brush a little of this mix onto the top side of the toasted brioche. Now sprinkle a little demerara over the top of the brioche and gently caramelize with a blow-torch (try not to let the bread itself catch too much).
Chambord Soaked Grapes
Thinly slice green seedless grapes and leave to soak for around an hour in a shallow dish filled with Chambord Liqueur. To serve delicately remove the grapes and pat off the excess liquid carefully with a little kitchen roll. Place the grape slices overlapping on the plate.
When all the elements are assembled on the plate finish by sprinkling some finely chopped raisins over the brioche and serve.