My latest kitchen experiment was inspired by the Greek dessert mosaiko tourta: biscuits layered with chocolate filling. My friend had sampled the cake on a recent trip to Greece, and discovered that few shops sell it. Most people prepare this simple cognac-and-vanilla-infused dessert at home. When my friend returned to New York, she found a recipe online and I decided to give it a try. I made some adaptations, swapping out petite beurre biscuits (the French equivalent of shortbread) for Italian butter cookies from a local pastry shop, and foregoing the praline ganache topping the original recipe called for. Most drastically, I decided to bake the cake rather than serve it cold. I should note that mosaiko tourta is meant to be chilled in the fridge rather than baked. However, the chocolate filling includes raw eggs, and I didn’t want to take any chances. So I popped the cake in the oven for about 15 minutes, all the while wondering if I had ruined the recipe. To my relief, the result was heavenly. The chocolate filling took on the gooey consistency of the center of a lava cake, and the butter cookies were at once crunchy and soft. It was hardly the mosaiko tourta I’d set out to make, but it was a worthy dessert in its own right.
1 lb butter cookies
⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp cognac or orange juice (plus extra for coating cookies)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare the Chocolate Cream:
- Mix confectioner’s sugar, cocoa powder, eggs, cognac or orange juice, and vanilla in a medium sized bowl.
- Add butter, and whisk mixture together until smooth.
Assemble the Layers:
- Arrange as many butter cookies as you can fit on the bottom of a baking pan (I used a round 9 inch cake pan.)
- Sprinkle cognac or orange juice over the cookies, and spread using a pastry brush or the back of a spoon.
- Spread half of the chocolate mixture onto the cookies using a plastic spatula or a spoon.
- Repeat, alternating layers of cookies and chocolate. The top layer should consist of butter cookies. (There should be 3 layers of cookies and 2 layers of chocolate.)
Bake the cake for about 15-20 minutes, or until the chocolate filling is the consistency of the center of a lava cake.
Liana’s Kitchen is a new column by Astoria-based chef and foodie Liana Grey. Stay tuned for more of her fabulous recipes!