Tag Archives: Whipped cream

Granita al Caffé (Iced Coffee)

22 Jul

The granita al caffè is a typical summer Sicilian breakfast, particularly in the Messina area. It is cool and sweet, made with water, sugar and coffee. It can be enjoyed with fresh, crusty bread or with the classic tuppu brioche, an Italian breakfast bread with a spherical ball of dough on top. Coffee granita is commonly served with whipped cream – what a delight! Its origins are ancient and go back to the time of the Arab domination. In the past granita was prepared in Sicily using winter snow gathered from the mountains and then stored throughout the year in special caves. The resulting ice was scraped and served with fruit syrup! In fact, even today the most traditional granita recipes are made by repeatedly scraping the surface of the ice. Over time this type of preparation based on snow changed to the modern granita made with an ice cream maker. The classic flavors are lemon, strawberry, almond and, naturally, coffee! The industrial recipes include gelling agents to increase the creaminess and to keep it from melting, but this is really a true homemaker’s recipe, just as my mother and my grandmother made it without using an ice cream maker and, of course, including the typical “scratch”!

Preparation time: 18 min.       Cooling time: 4 hours        Servings: 2

Granita al Caff

70 g (⅓ cup) sugar
180 ml (¾ cup) water
300 ml (1 ¼ cup) espresso
180 ml (¾ cup) fresh cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar

1. Prepare the espresso coffee and let cool completely
2. In a saucepan over low heat melt the sugar with water, bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute until you obtain a syrup. Turn off the heat and allow to cool
3. Combine coffee with syrup and mix well. If you have an ice cream maker, pour in the mixture and follow the instructions. Otherwise pour it into a metal container (steel) or glass (Pyrex), because they are good conductors, and store in the freezer for two hours. Remove from the freezer and mix with a spoon to prevent solidification into ice. Repeat this procedure every 40 minutes for about 2 more hours
4. Whip the cream with powdered sugar
5. Scrape the granita with a spoon into a small glass and top with whipped cream.

Note: The amount of sugar used can be varied to reach your desired level of sweetness; taste is very personal.

Torta al Cioccolato e Barolo Chinato (Barolo Chinato Chocolate Cake)

10 Feb

This delicious dark chocolate cake flavored with Barolo Chinato and served with whipped cream and raspberries is a truly romantic treat for an amorous occasion such as Valentine’s Day.  Chocolate, the so called natural “love drug” and one of the top ten aphrodisiac foods, is definitely an excellent choice when celebrating this holiday.  The feeling eating chocolate produces is the same you feel as when falling in love so … let’s eat more chocolate!!!  In fact, several compounds present in chocolate have been linked to one’s mood and pleasure, such as phenyl-ethylamine which has amphetamine-like stimulating properties and tryptophan, related to serotonin, a substance associated with ecstasy and happiness.  In addition to its “love effects”, dark chocolate – rich in antioxidants – provides other beneficial properties such as reducing your levels of free radicals, which are responsible for cellular damage, aging and cancer.  This delicious food is obtained from the tropical tree Theobroma Cacao, which has been cultivated in central and south America for at least three millennia.  The Aztecs thought it gave strength and power to their warriors. In the past chocolate has been considered more medicinal, rather than the delicious treat it is today.  In this recipe, the chocolate’s aroma blends well with the distinct flavor of Barolo Chinato, a Barolo wine flavored with a variety of herbs and spices, including quinine bark (china in Italian, pronounced KEY-na), and sweetened with a touch of sugar.  As a dessert wine Barolo Chinato is a perfect match for rich sweets, especially those with chocolate like this superb cake.  So when making the cake, save a glass (better yet, save 2!) to enjoy with your cake.  And now, food meets art!  Chocolate is not only a delicious treat; some artists use it as an expressive material in their work.  If you like video performances please take a look at my dear friend and great artist, Ciriaca Erre’s video “Can I have another question?” A passionate and emotional modern Medea.  Enjoy it!!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORCWRiQ7_tM&feature=player_embedded  

Preparation time: 1 ½ hours                              Baking time: 45-50 minutes

Torta al cioccolato fetta small

250 g (1 cup +2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
260 g (1 ¼ cups) granulated sugar
30 g (8 tablespoons) cocoa powder
250 g (1 ½ cups) flour, type 00
15 g (1 tablespoon) baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
4 large eggs separated
150 g (5 ounces) dark chocolate (70%)
240 ml (1 cup) Barolo Chinato
250 g (2 cups) raspberries
250 ml (1 cup) heavy cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 165°C (325°F)
1. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl.  Set aside
2. In a large bowl cream the butter with sugar and cocoa using an electric mixer.  Beat in egg yolks one at the time
3. In a double boiler, heat wine slowly and melt chocolate.  Cool for about 5 minutes.
4. Add the wine-chocolate mixture to the butter and mix well with a spoon
5. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients until you have a smooth batter
6. In a medium bowl, using clean beaters, beat egg whites until firm and glossy
7. Gently fold whites into the batter using a spatula until there are no more white streaks
8.Grease and flour a 24 cm (10 in) spring-form pan
9. Pour in the batter and bake for about 45-50 minutes until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean
10. Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack.  Remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack
11. Wash raspberries under running water.  Gently dry them with paper towels.  Set aside
12. In a medium bowl combine cream and powdered sugar, and beat with an electric mixer until soft peaks form.  Decorate the cake with whipped cream and raspberries.

Note: You can substitute Barolo Chinato with another sweet or fortified red wine such as Marsala, Port or Sherry.  -Paola



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