In Italy, when you go to a gelato shop, stracciatella is the vanilla gelato with chocolate chip shavings in it. The gelato shops, of course, were a real hit with my kids. This tortoni is lighter than gelato, but still has the chocolate chip shavings in it. It's not really a cake, but a frozen dessert. It has a wonderful almond and amaretti cookie crust. The chocolate sauce is outstanding. It was in this month's issue of Gourmet magazine, and I couldn't resist trying it out.
Stracciatella Tortoni Cake
For the crust:
- 2/3 cup finely ground amaretti cookies, about 17 cookies*
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds with skin, finely ground
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
For the tortoni filling:
- 3 large egg whites, at room temperature 30 minutes
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
- 1.25 cups chilled heavy cream
- 2 Tbsp Disaronno Amaretto
- 3.5 oz. bittersweet chocolate (no more than 60% cacao) shaved with a vegetable peeler
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds with skin
For the sauce:
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 3 Tbsp light corn syrup
- 3 Tbsp packed brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3.5 oz. bittersweet chocolate (no more than 60% cacao)
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Butter a 9x5 loaf pan and line bottom and short sides with a strip of parchment paper, leaving an overhang on each end.
Stir together ground cookies, ground almonds, and butter, then firmly press over bottom of pan. Freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.
Make tortoni filling:
Beat egg whites with sugar, cream of tartar and 1/8 tsp salt in a large metal bowl set over a large saucepan of simmering water, using a handheld mixer at medium-high speed until whites hold soft peaks and an instant read thermometer registers 170 degrees F, about 7 minutes.
Remove bowl from pan and continue to beat meringue until it just holds stiff peaks, about 2 minutes.
Beat cream with Amaretto in another bowl at medium speed using cleaned beaters until it just holds stiff peaks. Fold in half of meringue gently but thoroughly. Fold in remaining meringue along with chocolate. Spoon over crust, smoothing top with spatula. Sprinkle with almonds. Freeze, uncovered, until firm, about 3 hours.
To serve: Dip bottom of loaf pan in 1 inch of warm water in a pan 1 seconds, then lift tortoni out of pan using parchment paper. Transfer to a platter.
* Amaretti cookies are a traditional Italian almond cookie that you can find in specialty gourmet shops or order online. I get some hard to find things at A.G. Ferrari Foods.