One of my fabulous colleagues just had a birthday (she totally turned 29, y'all; that's my story, and I'm sticking to it!), and she specifically requested Chocolate Strawberry Death. Chocolate *insert flavor* Death is a particular favorite of mine. It tastes like you spent hours and hours and hours slaving over it when the reality is pretty far from the truth. Yeah, there are a few different layers and you have to wait a few hours between at least two of them, but honestly, it's a fairly simple recipe.
The base is something that I got from... Oh, I don't even remember. I think I swiped the recipe from my mom, who got it from some cooking show. That's nice and vague, isn't it? Sorry; that's all I've got. The base was originally the filling for some sort of pie (?), but you didn't use all of it because you end up making more than will fit in a regular pie crust. WASTEFUL! I was not impressed, so I started making various Deaths. I've made all kinds (the orange one didn't turn out very well; I think I used the wrong kind of orange, consarn it), but this is one of the better ones, I think. It's very rich and delicious.
1 1/2 c (8 oz.) chocolate chips or semisweet chocolate (the higher the quality of the chocolate, the better it tastes)
1 1/3 c sugar
1/4 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 c cream
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
8 oz mascarpone cheese
1/2 c heavy whipping cream
3/4 c fruit preserves of your choice
1 1/2 c chocolate chips (or 8 oz of high-quality chocolate)
2/3 c heavy whipping cream (or milk, if you prefer)
1. Preheat oven to 325*F. Put rack in center of oven, and grease a 9 x 13-in. baking dish.
2. Melt chocolate and cream in microwave (or double boiler) until chocolate is just melted; stir until smooth. Add sugar and vanilla; whisk. Stir in flour and salt.
3. Add eggs, two at a time, whisking after each addition. Pour into baking pan.
4. Bake for 55-70 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out with no more than one or two moist crumbs on it. Remove to a rack and cool; store in fridge once it has cooled completely.
5. When the base has cooled, dump mascarpone, heavy whipping cream, and fruit preserves into a large mixing bowl. Beat on medium-high speed until mixure is thick and holds farily stiff peaks. Spread over chocolate base.
6. Melt chocolate chips and cream for ganache in microwave. I recommend going in 30-second increments because you want the chocolate to melt but not be too hot. Once the chocolate is melted, whisk the ganache until it is smooth and glossy. If it's too hot, let it sit and cool off a bit (I usually do the darned dishes at this point, if I haven't already). Spread carefully over the cream layer. If the ganache is too hot, it'll melt the top of the cream and make your Death look kind of yucky.
7. Refrigerate for 5 hours or overnight. Store in the refrigerater.