Bigelow opened Fran's Chocolates in Seattle in 1982 and is an artisanal-chocolate pioneer. Her chocolates are made from an array of international beans.
- 1 lb. dark chocolate, preferably Cacao Barry Equateur (60 percent cacao) or Callebaut (56 percent cacao), finely chopped
- 6 eggs
- 1⁄4 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp. Grand Marnier or other liqueur
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Cocoa for dusting
Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl or the top of a double boiler over barely simmering water and allow to melt completely.
Preheat the oven to 350º. Generously butter a 9" cake or springform pan. Cut a 9" round of waxed paper and press it over the bottom of the pan.
Beat the eggs, sugar, and liqueur in a large heatproof mixing bowl. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring with a wooden spoon, until warm but not hot. Remove from the heat and transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat with the whisk attachment for 5 minutes. Slowly stir in the melted chocolate.
Whip the cream to soft peaks and gently fold into the chocolate mixture. Carefully transfer the batter to the pan.
Bake for 40 minutes or until a straw or cake tester inserted into the torte at least 2 to 4 inches from the side comes out clean. The center should be just set; do not overbake.
Let cool to room temperature, remove from the pan, and peel off the liner. It is best served with a simple dusting of cocoa; accompaniments like unsweetened whipped cream or raspberry sauce are optional.