Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Stracciatella Tortoni Cake w/ Espresso Fudge Sauce

    So.........what's a girl to do with her time, when the temperatures  have been struggling to rise above single digits, and outdoor activities are "less than appealing"??  Get in the kitchen and make a frozen dessert, of course!  No....really!  Now, I admit, freezing temperatures usually launch me into a full-blown "baking mood".  Don the apron, crank up the oven, and get to baking! But, coming across this recipe, from an old issue of Gourmet Magazine, sent me in a whole new direction!  I just couldn't resist!

     Tortoni is an Italian frozen cream dessert.  It's similar to ice cream, but the process of making it is quite different.  Tortoni is usually flavored with some liqueur and topped with some maraschino cherries and almonds.  Stracciatella comes from the word straccia (rag or shred), and means "a little shred".  It is a term used for different Italian food, in this case, referring to the shaved chocolate running all throughout the "cake".

    This dessert is creamy, light-textured, and absolutely delicious!!  There's a lovely almond flavor in the crust, from the amaretti cookies, as well as in the filling, from the addition of some amaretto.  And....can we talk about the Espresso Fudge Sauce??  Without it, you'll still have a delicious dessert, but, what can I say?  With it, this is decadent and over-the-top delicious!!

Stracciatella Tortoni Cake w/ Espresso Fudge Sauce (6 servings)

Here's what you'll need for the crust and filling:

about 25 amaretti cookies (enough to make 2/3 cup finely ground)
1/4 cup sliced almonds, with skin
3 tblsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled

3 large egg whites, brought to room temp. for 30 minutes
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 1/4 cups chilled heavy cream
2 tblsp. amaretto (you could substitute 1/4-1/2 tsp. almond extract, if desired)
3 1/2 oz. bittersweet chocolate (60%)
1/4 cup sliced almonds, with skin

First, toast all of the almonds over  medium heat, watching closely, and then grind half of them finely in a food processor, reserving the other half for the top of the cake.  Finely grind the amaretti cookies.

Now, mix the ground almonds, cookies, and cooled, melted butter together.  Press the mixture firmly over the bottom of a 9x5" loaf pan that has the bottom and short sides lined with parchment paper.  There should be enough paper hanging over the edges to help you lift it out, once frozen.

Place in the freezer for about 30 minutes, or until firm.

Now, place a saucepan of water on the stove and bring to a simmer.  Mix the egg whites, sugar. salt, and cream of tartar in a metal bowl and place over the simmering water.  (You are essentially making a double boiler)  Using a hand mixer, beat on high speed until the mixture comes to soft peaks (about 170 degrees)  Remove the pan from the heat and beat to stiff peaks.

Now, beat the heavy cream and amaretto together, using medium speed, until stiff peaks form.

Fold half of the meringue into the stiffened cream/amaretto mixture, mixing gently, but thoroughly.  Shave the chocolate with a vegetable peeler and then fold it, along with the rest of the meringue, into the cream/amaretto mixture.

 Spoon the mixture over the crust, smoothing the top.  Sprinkle with the almonds and freeze, uncovered, about 3 hours, or until firm.

While the cake is freezing, make the Espresso Fudge Sauce:

1/3 cup heavy cream
3 tblsp. light corn syrup
3 tblsp. packed dark brown sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
2 tblsp. instant espresso powder
2 tblsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
3 1/2 oz. bittersweet chocolate (60%), finely chopped
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Bring the cream, corn syrup, brown sugar, salt, espresso powder, cocoa powder, and half the chocolate to a boil over medium heat, stirring until the chocolate is melted.

 Reduce the heat and cook at a slow boil, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla and remaining chocolate until smooth.  Cool to warm and serve drizzled over each serving of the cake.
Take the cake out of the freezer about 5 minutes before you want to serve it.  Lift it out of the pan, remove the paper, and place it onto a serving plate.  (If you have any trouble removing the cake from the pan, try dipping the bottom in 1" warm water for about 10 seconds.)
Now, slice your cake as you desire, serve, and wait for the compliments to start rollin' in!!

Quite a nice looking dessert, don't you think?

Doesn't that look yummy??

I can almost taste it!


For printable recipe, click here.

1 comment:

  1. Joann, this is magnificent! Wow, love it. I'm pinning this now.