1 1/2 cup pecan halves
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
12 oz best-quality bittersweet chocolate; broken into
1 ; small bits
1/4 cup milk
6 large eggs; separated
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour; sifted
1 pinch salt
6 oz best-quality bittersweet chocolate; broken into
1 ; small bits
1/4 cup heavy (or whipping) cream
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
This cake gets even better and slightly denser one day after it's baked.
Cake: Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter a 9 1/2-inch springform pan. Line the bottom of the pan with a round of waxed or parchment paper. Butter the paper and dust the pan lightly with flour, tapping out any excess.
Place the pecans in a food processor. Pulse the machine on and off until the pecans resemble coarse meal. Measure the ground pecans; the yield should be 1 1/4 cups. Set aside.
Place the butter, chocolate, and milk in a heavy small saucepan over very low heat to melt the chocolate. Stir occasionally until the mixture is completely smooth. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks and confectioners' sugar together with an electric mixer until thick and pale yellow. Slowly add the melted chocolate mixture to the eggs and beat until well combined. Add the flour and the reserved pecans and mix to combine.
In another large bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they hold soft peaks. Stir one-third of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture until completely combined. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites with a rubber spatula until just combined.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the center of the oven until the center comes out nearly clean but with some crumbs attached, 35 to 40 minutes. The center of the cake should *not* be completely dry. Place the cake on a wire rack to cool completely. When cool, remove the cake from the pan, peel off the paper, and carefully place it on a serving plate.
Chocolate Glaze: Place the chocolate, cream, and butter in a heavy small saucepan over very low heat to melt the chocolate. Stir occasionally until the mixture is completely smooth. Cool just slightly.
Pour the glaze over the cake and use an icing spatula to smooth it gently across the top and down the sides. Let rest for at least 2 hours before serving. If serving the next day, cover loosely and refrigerate overnight. Bring to room temperature before serving.
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