Monday, November 24, 2014

Just back from Bologna's Chocolate Show ~ Chocolate Everything!!!











Mousse Al Cappuccino ~ Cappuccino Mousse

Serves 4

Thin Layer of sponge cake (see separate recipe)
500 g Milk Chocolate, broken into pieces
250 ml Hot Espresso Coffee
20 g Sheet gelatin
100 ml Milk
200 ml Whipping Cream
7 Egg yolks, beaten well
5 Egg whites
150 g Sugar

Place the gelatin in a bowl of cold water to soften. In a double boiler, add the hot coffee to the milk chocolate and stir until the chocolate has melted. Leave to one side. Heat the milk, then remove gelatin from water squeezing a little to remove water and add to milk, stirring until the gelatin has completely dissolved. Stir the milk and gelatin into the chocolate and coffee mixture and whisk. Add the egg yolks and cook over a double boiler for about 5 minutes, making sure water is hot but not boiling. Leave mixture to cool. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites with the sugar until stiff. In another bowl, whip the cream until it thickens. Gently fold the egg whites into the cold chocolate mixture, then fold in the whipped cream.

Cut small rounds from the sponge cake, and place at the center of individual metal rings. Spoon the mousse over the sponge circles and chill in the refrigerator until completely set. Alternatively, simply spoon the mousse into attractive serving glasses and chill until set.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Torta Di Ricotta ~ Italian Cheesecake

Here’s a classic dessert served at Renaissance-era court feasts and at festivals today. As with so many Renaissance dishes, this cake is heavily seasoned. Use the extra egg white from the pastry in the filling.

Serves 6

For the pastry:
1 cup flour
4 tablespoons butter at room temperature
1 egg yolk
A little cold water

For the filling:
1 pound ricotta cheese
2 eggs
1 egg white
3 tablespoons sugar
1 ½ teaspoons powdered ginger
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons raisins

Preheat oven to 350º F.

Mix the flour, butter, and egg yolk together in a bowl and add cold water until the dough consistency is right. Knead the dough a little bit and then roll it out on a floured board. Place the dough in a 9-inch pie pan.

Combine all ingredients except the raisins in a blender and puree until smooth. Fold in the raisins and pour the filling into the dough.

Smooth the top and bake for 40 minutes.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

It's cold outside but warm inside in our Cooking Vacations kitchen!

Crostata Di Frutta ~ Fresh Fruit Tart

From Chef Raffaele

Makes 2 tarts of about 25-cm each (10-inches)

Pasta Frolla ~ Short Crust Pastry:
500 g Flour
250 g Butter, at room temperature
250 g Sugar
4 Egg Yolks
Zest of 1 Lemon Crema Pasticciera ~ Pastry Cream:
4 Egg Yolks
150 g Sugar
50 g Flour
½ L Whole Milk
Lemon Liquor/Limoncello
Apricot Marmalade, as needed
1 kg Fresh Fruit such as strawberry, kiwi, melon, fig, rinsed & sliced
200 g Whipped Cream

Prepare the pastry dough by mixing flour, butter, sugar, egg yolks and lemon zest together. Mix until just combined and be careful not to overwork. Form into a ball and chill in the refrigerator for 3 hours.

Next, prepare the pastry cream. In a bowl, mix egg yolks with 100 grams of sugar. Slowly add in flour and blend. In a separate pot, heat milk with 50 grams of sugar (lemon zest, chocolate, vanilla beans, coffee beans all optional depending on the flavor that you would like the cream to have). Once the milk comes just to a boil, remove from heat and add to the egg-sugar-flour mixture. Cook over low heat for another 2-3 minutes until the cream has thickened and starts to bubble. Remove from heat, add a splash of Limoncello, cover with plastic wrap to prevent skin from forming and allow mixture to cool completely before using (2-3 hours).

Roll out the dough into disks large enough to cover the bottom and sides of the baking pan. Spread the bottom with a little marmalade and fill with pastry cream. Bake in a preheated oven at 325°F (160°C) for 20 to 25 minutes until golden. Allow to cool completely then top with the whipped cream and sliced fresh fruit.

Variation: Fruit such as apples, pears, peaches, or cherries can be baked with the crust. Fill the bottom shell with the pastry cream, then the fruit (sautéed with a little sugar), the cover with another layer of dough and bake in a preheated oven at 325°F (160°C) for 20 to 25 minutes until golden.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Castagnaccio ~ Chestnut Cake

Serves 8

400g Chestnut Flour
3 tbs Sugar
60 g Pine Nuts
50 g Walnuts
a pinch of Salt
1 Orange
6 tbs Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 cup Milk
1/2 glass lukewarm Water
a sprig of Rosemary

Pre-heat oven 170° C or 340° F

Sieve the flour in a bowl with the sugar, salt, milk, water and some oil. Whisk together to obtain a smooth, creamy consistency (if necessary add more water). Add the rind of orange cut into small strips, half the pine nuts and half the walnuts and mix well.

Pour the mixture into an oiled rectangular baking tin. Scatter the remaining pine nuts and walnuts on top, add the rosemary sprig and the remaining oil.

Bake for about an hour. Allow to cool and serve.