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Dinner Party Recipe: Bête Noire With Malted Lime Whipped Cream & Candied Wasabi Pea Crunch

“I love desserts that are deceivingly complex and rich but actually simple to put together. That’s why this bête noire is perfect. The cake itself can be made a few days in advance, and the garnish takes only a bit of prep on the day of your dinner party. Your guests will love the dense chocolate flavor and appreciate the quirky, interesting twist of the wasabi peas and the malted lime whipped cream. It’s also completely gluten-free, which is great for guests with health concerns.” —Ally Benedyk, Love Handle

Serves 12–16

1 cup strong brewed coffee or espresso
3/4 cup sugar
1 stick + 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, diced
1 pound + 2 ounces dark or semisweet chocolate
1 teaspoon cardamom or Chinese five-spice powder
6 large eggs at room temperature
1 cup wasabi peas
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1-1/2 tablespoons malted-mik powder
2 teaspoons lime zest
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Kosher and table salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Latch pan into place and wrap 2–3 layers of foil around bottom and sides of it.

Pour coffee and sugar into a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved. Boil for five minutes, then remove from heat. Add cardamom and 1-1/4 teaspoon table salt to the coffee syrup. Cool to room temperature.

In another saucepan, gently melt butter and chocolate over low heat, whisking until completely melted and smooth. Whisk in coffee syrup, then whisk in the eggs until completely incorporated. Pour the finished batter into prepared pan, then set into a larger roasting pan. Add hot water to the roasting pan so it comes up halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Place on the center rack of your oven and bake for about 50 minutes or until the center is almost set and jiggles slightly. Remove and let cool to room temperature in the pan. Chill overnight.

For the brittle, heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add the sugar to the pan. Allow the sugar to melt and turn golden without stirring. Add wasabi peas and stir constantly until they are evenly coated and a deep caramel color. Add 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Immediately transfer to a heavily greased plate or container and cool to room temperature. Once cool, break apart large pieces with hands and transfer to a sealable plastic bag. Using a rolling pin, crush the brittle until you end up with small pieces and dusty crumbs.

For whipped cream, place heavy cream, malted-milk powder, lime zest, powdered sugar, vanilla, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whip on low-medium speed until soft peaks form. Increase speed to medium-high and continue to whip until stiff peaks form.

To assemble, run a paring knife around the sides of the cake pan. Unlatch the spring from the pan and remove ring. Place pan over a burner on medium heat for a few seconds to help loosen from pan. Invert onto a plate lined with plastic wrap. Remove parchment from the bottom. Flip back right side up onto a plate you will be serving from. Using a large serrated knife, slice cake into 16 slices. Garnish with whipped cream and brittle.

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