Wednesday, December 14, 2011

From Italy with Love

Food can convey such powerful memories and emotions. My Italian friend Isa sent memories of home via an old family recipe. For her son, it conjures up memories of birthday parties and cosy family time.

Filippo is far from home but never strays far from her thoughts. She recently thought about how he giggles whenever she makes this recipe.

As I mentioned a couple posts back, we've adopted Filippo into our family as he attends high school here in Ottawa. Filippo is spending Christmas here. Isa and her husband, Lorenzo, will join us a few days later.

Isa sent me the recipe for Filippo's favourite dessert, tenerina al cioccolato. Perhaps a way for me to transport his loved ones in Bologna into my kitchen.

Tenerina al ciccolato
I surprised Filippo the other day and made the recipe, with some slight alternations for a gluten and dairy free version.

I tried to Christmas-ize it by using my gingerbread cookie cutters. I brushed a thin layer of raspberry jam, some coconut sprinkles and sunflower seeds to hide the cracks. As you can see, I need to finesse the technique.

Still, the chocolate treat delivered the flavours of love from back home. Filippo ate every last crumb. This torte will be on my holiday menu, dressed up with cranberries and walnuts.

The recipe is easy to remember: equal portions of eggs, butter, sugar, chocolate.  I used coconut oil instead of butter. (I'll try lighter grapeseed oil next time.) Instead of wheat flour, I used rice flour.

Filippo said the only difference was that my version was slightly more dense, but equally delicious as his mom's. Spoken like a true gourmand.

Tenerina al cioccolato di Isa (Isa's chocolate torte)
3 eggs, separated
300 grams butter
300 grams dark chocolate/ cocoa powder
300 grams sugar
2 tablespoons potato flour
1 tablespoon wheat flour

(300 grams = roughly 1 1/2 cups)

Line an 8-inch round dish with parchement paper. 
In a large bowl, beat the egg whites to form moist peaks. Set aside. 
Melt the butter and dark chocolate. Let cool.
Add egg yolks, sugar and flour to chocolate mixture. 
Fold the chocolate mixture into egg whites. 
Pour into prepared dish.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

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