Chocolate Génoise

4 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup each of sugar and flour
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Mix eggs and sugar 1 minute in bowl set in warm water. Whip on high until fluffy. Combine flour and cocoa; fold in. Fold in butter. Pour into 14-inch circle on buttered, floured cookie sheet. Bake 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Let cool.

Cookie Dough

8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 egg white

In food processor, cut butter into flour and sugar. In saucepan melt chocolate; let cool slightly. Mix chocolate and egg white into flour mixture. Spread into one 12-inch and two 5-inch circles on cookie sheet. Roll to 1/4 –inch thickness. Bake 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Let cool.

Praline Powder

3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water
1 cup toasted blanched almonds
1 tablespoon hazelnut oil

Boil sugar and water over medium-high heat until dark caramel forms. Add almonds. Pour on oiled cookie sheet. Let cool. Break up praline. In food processor, chop into coarse powder.


1 pound extra-bittersweet chocolate
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon amaretto
1 tablespoon orange zest
1/4 cup cocoa powder

Heat chocolate and cream, stirring until chocolate melts. Move to mixing bowl. Add amaretto. Refrigerate until cool but not hard. Beat 3 minutes. Fold in zest and 3/4 of praline powder.

Assembly: In bottom of 2-quart, 8-inch-diameter bowl, spread 1/4 of ganache; top with 5-inch cookie. Repeat. Top with 1/4 more of ganache. Chill about 1 hour until ganache is stiff.

Unmold cookie-cake. Press génoise down around top of cake, forming smooth dome. Trim away excess génoise.

Place 12-inch cookie on platter, then slide cake onto center. Use remaining ganache to frost dome and repair cracks. Mix cocoa and remaining praline powder, and sprinkle over hat. Serves 8-12.

From “A Grande Finale,” originally featured in Domain, May/June 1989