Mississippi Mud Torte:

Chocolate wafer crust:

1 1/4 cups chocolate wafer cookie crumbs (about 24 wafers)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened alkalized cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup finely chopped pecans
2 cups pecan halves

Apricot glaze:

1/2 cup apricot preserves
2 teaspoons dark rum

Chocolate glaze:

3/4 cup heavy (whipping) cream
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 teaspoons dark rum
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 pints coffee or vanilla ice cream

Make the chocolate wafer crust:

  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Remove the side from a 9-inch springform cake pan. Trim a 9-inch cardboard cake circle so that it fits within the curved lip of the bottom of the springform pan. Cover the cardboard and the bottom of the pan with a piece of aluminum foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang all around the edge. Carefully attach the side of the pan so that you do not tear the foil. Strap the foil halfway up the side of the pan. Lightly butter the side of the pan. (Lining the bottom of the pan this way will give the torte an evenflat base, making it easy to remove from the pan.)
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the cookie crumbs and melted butter, until well combined. Press the mixture evenly onto the bottom of the prepared pan. Refrigerate the crust while preparing the torte.

Make the torte:

  1. In the top of a double boiler set over hot, notsimmering, water, melt the chocolate with the butter, stirring frequently until smooth. Remove the top part of the double boiler from the bottom and transfer the chocolate mixture to a large bowl. Let the chocolate mixture cool for about 10 minutes, or until tepid.
  2. In a small bowl, using a wire whisk, stir together the flour, cocoa and baking soda until thoroughly blended.
  3. Add the sugar and salt to the tepid chocolate mixture. Using a hand-held electric mixer set at low speed, beat the mixture for 15 to 20 seconds, until blended. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Beat in the corn syrup and the vanilla.
  4. One at a time, add the eggs, beating for no longer than 5 seconds after each addition. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the flour mixture. Stir in the finely chopped pecans.
  5. Scrape the batter over the prepared crust and spread it evenly with the back of a spoon. Arrange the pecan halves in concentric circles over the top of the baker.
  6. Bake the torte for 80 to 90 minutes, until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out slightly creamy. Do not overbake the torte. Cool the torte completely in the pan set on a wire rack. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and let the torte stand at room temperature overnight.

Unmold the torte:

  1. Run a thin-bladed knife around the torte to loosen it from the side of the pan. Remove the side of the springform pan. Slide two metal cake spatulas underneath the torte and transfer it to a wire rack. Put the wire rack with the torte over a baking sheet.

Prepare the apricot glaze:

  1. In a small saucepan, set over medium heat, heat the apricot preserves with the rum, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture comes to a gentle boil. Immediately press the mixture through a sieve into a small bowl.
  2. Using a pastry brush, brush the top and the side of the torte with a thin coating of the hot apricot glaze. Let the apricot coating set for 15 minutes before covering with the chocolate glaze.

Make the chocolate glaze:

  1. Put the chocolate in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan, set over medium heat, heat the cream and corn syrup, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture comes to a boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Let the mixture stand for 30 seconds, to melt the chocolate. Gently whisk until smooth. Stir in the rum and vanilla.
  2. With a rubber spatula or soup spoon, generously drizzle some of the chocolate glaze over the top of the torte. Using a small metal cake spatula, spread some of the remaining chocolate glaze in a thin layer around the sides of the torte. Refrigerate the torte for 10 minutes to set the glaze. Reserve the leftover chocolate glaze in a small bowl, cover and refrigerate.
  3. Store the torte at room temperature under a cake dome for up to 5 days. The flavor of the torte will improve with age. To serve, reheat the leftover chocolate glaze in a double boiler. Place a slice of the torte on a dessert plate. Drizzle the plate with some of the warm glaze and add a scoop of coffee or vanilla ice cream. Serve immediately.