This dessert, which is punctuated with a delicious Cheerwine and Luxardo cherry syrup, is from Chef Brandon Sharp at Hawthorne & Wood in Chapel Hill, N.C.
- 1.5 oz. gelatin sheets
- 5 cups sugar
- 1 cup water
- 4.5 oz. corn syrup
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 cups heavy cream
- 12 cups chocolate chips
- Graham crackers, enough to line two half-sheet pans
- 1-Liter Cheerwine
- 17.6 oz. Luxardo cherry syrup
- 1/2 fresh vanilla bean, split and scraped
- Spray two Lexan lids.
- Soak gelatin sheets in ice water for five minutes. Drain the ice water and squeeze any excess out of the gelatin. Place gelatin in a small saucepot and leave on the flat metal panel between the cook and the burners to melt gently.
- In a small saucepot, boil water sugar and water until 235-240°F.
- Place the corn syrup in a mixer with a whip attachment. With the mixer on medium speed, drizzle in the hot gelatin. Increase the speed to medium-high and drizzle in hot syrup. With the mixer still on medium-high, add in the vanilla. Turn the mixer to high and whip marshmallows until large pockets form (about 3-4 minutes) and mixture thickens. It should still be hot.
- Using a rubber spatula, scrape the marshmallow out evenly among the two Lexan lids. It should spread by itself, though you may need to tip the lids back and forth. Let cool before cutting.
- Line two half-sheet pans with silpats. Cover them evenly in one layer of graham crackers spaced tightly together; you will need to break a few to fill in the edges.
- Bring the heavy cream to a light simmer.
- Place the chocolate chips in a medium mixing bowl. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let sit for three minutes. With a rubber spatula, gently and slowly stir the cream and chocolate together.
- Once the ganache is even, shiny and still hot, use an 8-oz ladle to put four layers of ganache into each pan. Scrape the bowl to divide any excess into the two pans evenly.
- Place in the refrigerator to chill.
- Combine the Cheerwine and vanilla bean scrapings (not the pod) in a small pot and reduce the liquid to two cups. Remove pot from the heat, stir in the cherry syrup and transfer to a metal bowl to let the sauce cool to room temperature. Keep covered until ready to use.
To assemble, use a 2-inch circle cutter to punch out a portion of the ganache. Wipe the cutter clean, and cut out a round of the marshmallow and place it atop the ganache. Using a butane torch, melt and then brown the marshmallow. Drizzle 1 ⅓ tablespoon of the Cheerwine syrup on the plate in thin swirls. Using a metal spatula, carefully transfer the torte onto the plate and serve immediately.