Growing up, occasionally we would go to dinner at one of the local Italian restaurants. As delicious and wonderful as everything was at home, I still loved doing this. When you’re a kid, you never quite appreciate fully what is in front of you. Anyway my very favorite thing to order for dessert at these places was Biscuit Tortoni. It was a heavenly concoction of whipped cream and cookie crumbs which was frozen and served in muffin cups. Fast forward to 2013, and I experience that memory again times 10 with DARK CHOCOLATE TORTONI. Wish I could go back in time and share this amazing and simple dessert with those restaurant folks. It really takes anything you might remember about Tortoni to another level entirely.
The “biscuit” part of the Biscuit Tortoni refers to the crushed cookies or biscotti. This gives the dessert a little more body than it would have if it were just cream. Of course, the crumbs add flavor as well. In this recipe, the tortoni contains dark chocolate, toasted almonds, and candied orange peel. You can make the peel yourself or purchase it at your grocer. Candied peel is found in abundance at holiday time. If you don’t use the peel, I suggest substituting some grated orange zest – but only about 2 teaspoons.
This is really special. One thing that truly makes my heart sing with this one is that it is soooo easy. It is made in a similar way to the Biscuit Tortoni of days past with a few extra ingredients that make it just divine. The funny thing is that once you mix it together and taste it as you fill the little cups, it doesn’t taste anywhere near to what it becomes once frozen. It’s like a little magic in your freezer! Perhaps the elves get in their and do something when you’re not looking. Whatever it is – it is not the same. The flavors enhance and come alive with just a little freezing time.
To make the recipe even more enticing, you can make it ahead. You’ll want to freeze it at least 3 hours. However, it’s ok if you make it a day ahead and it freezes solid. Just take it out of the freezer a few minutes before serving and thaw it just a little, so it is not quite so hard.
These lovely desserts, as well as being delicious, also look like little clouds on your plate. They are really pretty and fun to serve.
DARK CHOCOLATE TORTONI
Makes: about 14
Prep: 30-40 minutes
Foil or paper muffin cups
3/4 C. Crushed Chocolate Biscotti or Chocolate wafers or cookies
1/2 C. Toasted Coarsely Chopped Almonds
2 C. Heavy Cream
1 Tbsp. Kahlua (coffee liqueur) or Coffee
3/4 C. Sugar
1 Tbsp. Cocoa powder
1/4 – 1/3 C. Coarsely Chopped Good Dark Chocolate – depends on your thing for chocolate!
1/4 C. Chopped Candied Orange Peel
Extra Chocolate cookie crumbs, Dark Chocolate and some Sliced Almonds for garnish if desired
Crush the cookies or biscotti in a food process to a fine consistency.
Toast the chopped almonds.
Begin whipping the cream in a mixer along with the Kahlua or coffee. After it begins to form, add the sugar, cocoa powder and salt and finish whipping until it firmly holds shape when you draw a spoon through it.
Remove from the mixer and with a spatula, fold in the dark chocolate pieces, nuts, and candied peel or zest.
Spoon the mixture into muffin cups generously. Overfill them, as you want them to look full like big clouds or snow capped peaks.
Place them in the freezer for at least 3 hours or overnight. If frozen solid – let them sit out of the freezer a a couple of minutes before serving so they soften a little.
Garnish them before serving with a sprinkling of the chocolate cookie crumbs with Sliced Almonds and Dark Chocolate pieces or with some candied orange peel.
Serve your DARK CHOCOLATE TORTONI with Kahlua or espresso.
PARLA COME MANGI!
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Food Photos By Tommy Hanks Photography