My aunt Inna used to make this torte when I was little and when I recently saw the waffles sold at the local Russian deli, memories came flooding back. I decided to buy the waffles and try making the torte just by memory – no recipe on hand. Fortunately, this torte does not involve something I dread doing – working with dough! So, it’s a winner in my book. 🙂 The caramel for this torte used to be made simply by boiling a can of sweetened condensed milk for a couple of hours. The result produced the most creamy tasting golden caramel you could imagine. Back in the day, there wasn’t all the concern about BPA. Nowadays, I wouldn’t think to eat something that was boiled for 2 hours inside a can. So, to make my caramel, I emptied the can into a small BPA-free glass dish, set that dish inside a glass brownie pan, with about 1.5 inches of cold water in it, then baked at 350 for about 2 hours, stirring every now and then. You will know the caramel is done when it takes on a yummy “Wherther’s” caramel hue. If you accidentally overcook your caramel, and it turns a bit lumpy, that’s okay! It’s still edible! Set it aside and let cool for a little while.
As I said, I used pre-made waffles sold at the Russian store. This is how this torte was typically made. Not sure if these waffles can be obtained at a regular grocery store, but fortunately, most cities these days have an international deli of some sort that might carry these. They come in different shapes: circles, squares, rectangles, a flower; and there are usually 4-5 per package.
Once the caramel has cooled for a little while, lay out the waffles, sheet by sheet, and spread a thin layer of the caramel on each one, with a knife or spatula, then stack another waffle on top. Repeat, until all the caramel is gone, and your torte looks like this:
Leave the top waffle clear of any caramel – it will get a chocolate coating. Wrap the torte tightly in saran wrap and place in the fridge for a few hours. This allows the caramel to soak through the waffles a bit, making the whole thing more gooey to the bite. In the meantime, dump a bag of chocolate chips (I prefer dark chocolate) into a “steam bath.” I created mine by just placing a glass dish on top of a pot filled half-way with boiling water at medium heat.
Let the chocolate melt completely, stirring, until you reach this consistency and smoothness:
Now pull the torte out of the fridge and lay on a sheet of wax paper, to begin covering it in chocolate. I used a spoon to cover the top, then a silicone brush to cover the sides:
That’s it!! Place the finished product, uncovered back into the fridge to let the chocolate cool down and harden up. Serve Russian-style with some hot black tea and a slice of lemon.