I wrote about 17 Pygmies back in May of this year. I talked about the band’s 2011 release ‘CII: Second Son’ as well as an earlier album from 2008, ‘Celestina’. You can read that post here and another 17 Pygmies post here.
At the time, I asked singer Meg Maryatt what she would like me to make for the band and she had mentioned a flourless chocolate cake from Bon Appétit Magazine.
So, I made a Bon Appétit recipe for a Flourless Chocolate Cake With Chocolate Glaze.
Turns out, as amazing as that cake was, it was not the recipe that Meg had in mind.
I found that out in the most delicious way possible.
17 Pygmies sent me quite an incredible gift. A package with the cds ‘Celestina’ and ‘CII: Second Son’ as well as copies of their other disks, ‘The Outlaw J.D. Ray’ and ‘Ballade Of Tristam’s Last Harping’ released under the band name The 17th Pygmy.
Also nestled inside the package was a copy of today’s recipe for Chocolate-Almond Soufflé Torte.
Before we get to the cake, I need to spend a moment sharing photos of what has to be some of the most beautifully packaged cds that I own.
Call me old fashioned, but I rarely purchase music in download form if I can get the physical cd. I love having physical copies of my music.
I love the whole ritual of tearing open the wrapper (not so much for those disks that have that really annoying sticker along the side that is nearly impossible to get off without a set of surgical blades), then reading the booklet and taking in the album art. Then seeing what the disk itself looks like.
I adore music packaging. And when it is done right and with love, it can take my music appreciation up many notches higher.
17 Pygmies knows a thing about music packaging. Check these out.
A hand decorated gold box that held the cd, a scroll (which I cannot bring myself to open since it is so lovely and perfect), pieces of gold leaf, dried flowers and a little circle that is bracelet like. I do not own any other music even remotely as interesting packaged.
The packaging of ‘The Outlaw J.D. Ray’ is so in tune with the music inside. Faded brown paper, tinted photos. There is even a page included for notes, as if I would EVER write in it.
I almost didn’t want to break the seal to take the cd out of its protective liner. Fortunately, it’s a resealing sticker.
Now…wait for it….be still my heart. Look at the back of Celestina. Beautiful. That wax stamp is lovely. Since I have the album in digital form already, there is no way I am messing up that gorgeous seal. Album art to the Nth degree.
Now, about this Chocolate-Almond Soufflé Torte. I’m not joking when I say that it might be the best chocolate cake I have ever had.
Hands down one of the best desserts ever. When you make it, you must invite me over. I’ll bring my 17 Pygmies CDs so that you can admire them in person.
Chocolate-Almond Soufflé Torte
1 cup (about 5 ounces) whole almonds, toasted, cooled
4 tablespoons plus 1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 pound bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 large eggs, separated, room temperature
1 cup chilled whipping cream
2 tablespoons amaretto or 1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup almond slices, toasted
1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter and flour 9-inch-diameter springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides. Shake out excess flour. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper; butter paper.
2. Combine 1/2 cup whole almonds and 2 tablespoons sugar in processor. Using on/off turns, grind nuts finely. Transfer mixture to large bowl. Combine remaining 1/2 cup whole almonds and vegetable oil in processor. Process until mixture is thick and pasty (consistency will be similar to that of peanut butter), scraping bowl frequently, about 3 minutes.
3. Stir butter and 1/2 cup whipping cream in heavy large saucepan over medium heat until butter melts and mixture simmers. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and whisk until smooth. Stir in both almond mixtures. Cool slightly.
5. Beat egg yolks in another large bowl until very pale and thick, about 5 minutes. Gradually beat chocolate mixture into egg yolks. Fold in egg whites in 3 additions.
6. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake cake until sides crack and puff and tester inserted into center comes out with moist batter attached, about 35 minutes. Transfer cake to rack. Cool cake to room temperature, about 2 hours (center will fall slightly as cake cools.) Can be prepared 4 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.
7. Beat chilled cream, amaretto and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in large bowl until soft peaks form.
8. Run small sharp knife around pan sides to loosen cake. Release pan sides. Dust cake with powdered sugar. Sprinkle toasted almond slices around top edge of cake. Serve chilled or at room temperature with whipped cream and berries, if you like.
Recipe from Bon Appétit Magazine
Have a little cake with your confectioners’ sugar. Note to self: check shaker cap before “dusting” with sugar.
In the album, ‘The Outlaw J.D. Ray’, the action is set in 1868 (Man, I love concept albums).
While I love some of the other song duets on the album because Jackson’s voice sounds so warm against Meg’s, I really love I’ll See You In Heaven.
The vocals are beautiful and I want to believe in those lyrics.
17 Pygmies-I'll See You In Heaven
2007’s ‘Ballade Of Tristam’s Last Harping’ is full of fun psychedelic, Pink Floydish, old rock sounding songs. The album is all at once delicate, folksy and dreamy. I adore it.
The 17th Pygmy-New Generation