Baking For Christmas … The Italian Dolce

From Lidia Bastianich … New Book “The Art Of Italian Cuisine”

Chocolate-Hazelnut Cake (Torta Gianduia)  Serves 8

Chocolate-Hazelnut-Cake
Ingredients: Preparation:
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, plus more for the baking pan
  • All-purpose flour, for the baking pan
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • ¾ cup skinned hazelnuts, lightly toasted
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • one 13-ounce jar chocolate-hazelnut spread, such as Nutella, at room temperature
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon brandy
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan. Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler or a metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Let it cool slightly. Grind the hazelnuts in a food processor until they are fine but not pasty.

In a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until they are foamy. Add the sugar, and beat until the whites form stiff peaks, about 2 minutes. In a clean bowl, with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and chocolate-hazelnut spread until light, about 2 minutes. Add the yolks, salt, and brandy, and mix until smooth. Add the melted chocolate and ground hazelnuts, and mix until smooth. Remove the bowl from the mixer.

Stir about a quarter of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, and then gently fold in the remaining egg whites. Don’t overmix. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake until a tester comes out clean, about 45 to 50 minutes. Let the cake cool for about 10 minutes, then open the spring and remove the side ring. Let the cake cool thoroughly before serving. Slide a broad metal spatula, or two, under the cake to separate it from the metal pan bottom, then lift and set the cake on a serving plate

Italian Trifle ( Zuppa Inglese) by Mario Batali

zuppa-inglese
Ingredients: Preparation:
  • 3¼ cups whole milk
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 split vanilla bean
  • 7 large egg yolks
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 tbl unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1¾ ounces unsweetened chocolate finely chopped
  • 24 small Savoiardi ( Italian Ladyfingers)
  • ¼ cup limoncello
In a large saucepan, combine the milk and lemon zest. Scrape the seeds out of the vanilla bean and add the seeds and the bean to the pan simmer over medium heat DO NOT ALLOW TO BOIL.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the egg yolks, flour and sugar and whisk until it is pale yellow. Gradually pour half of the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Return the mixture back to the saucepan along with the remaining milk and cook over high heat stir constantly with a wooden spoon, until the cream coats the back of the spoon. Remove the vanilla bean. Pour half the cream into a stainless steel bowl and set in an ice bath to cool. Stir the cocoa and chocolate into the remaining pastry cream, making sure the chocolate is completely melted.Then pour the chocolate cream into another bowl and set over an ice bath to cool. Whisk the creams occasionally as they cool.

Split each ladyfinger in half. Sprinkle the cut side with the limoncello. Place the soaked ones in a layer in a glass serving bowl. Top the layer with some of the vanilla cream, another layer of ladyfingers, and a layer of the chocolate cream. Repeat the layering until all the ingredients are used. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.


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