Some of my friends are amazed how much time I spend on the computer.
I live in the middle of olive orchards and participating in online social networking as been a lot of fun and an educational experience for me. I don't spend a lot of time reading blogs or participating in "Events" online, but I saw this event being organized by Genny on her blog and seemed a fun concept.
This challenge was to invite a blogger to our table. Two bloggers doing the same recipe.
For several years now I have created private challenges with my friend Kate in France where we would compare the different preparations of recipes between France and Italy. It was always a learning experience for us, like taking an online class and having homework.
While I was on Twitter one night I saw a message from Vivere in Cucina, Gaia, asking if anyone wanted to team up for the challenge. Why not? Perchè non?
Gaia is Italian, from Cremona but living in Bologna, only and hour from Florence. She suggested making a lovely holiday dessert using the wonderful Torrone from her home town of Cremona.
I had just seen the semifreddo from one of Italy's famous pastry chef, Luca Montesorino, presented on TV. My husband adores a semifreddo so that was a perfect idea. It turns out that the recipe Gaia sent me to use was the similar to the recipe I saw demonstrated on TV.
Luca made a Tiramisu- Torronata, which means Tiramisu with torrone, he layered it with expresso soaked spongecake and topping with thin chocolate sheets. Although I was a pastry chef in America, I don't care for sweets that are too sweet.
The semifreddo recipe was enriched with some mascarpone, I left it out and used the more classic whipped cream to lighten it some. I also made small single portion semifreddo's instead of the classic larger one which is then sliced to serve.
Here is the recipe Gaia sent me from the book-
"250 recipes from the Osteria's of Italy-the sweets" Slow Food Editore for EATALY
Delizia di torrone
50 grams of granulated sugar
150 grams of bittersweet chocolate, cut into small shards
1/2 kilo mascarpone
200 grams torrone ( from Cremona) 0 the hard torrone not the soft one, broken into pieces
Whip the yolks with the sugar and then add the mascarpone.
Whip the egg whites whipped to stiff peaks and fold into the mascarpone mixture.
Fold in the chopped chocolate and chopped torrone to mix well.
Pour into a mold and freeze for 5-6 hours.
Sprinkle the Delizie with chocolate shavings before serving.
(NB.one of my problems from having been a pastry chef is my tweeking of recipes.
I cut this recipe in half as there are only two of us and did not want extra dessert hanging around.
I did not use the mascarpone as that just sounded too rich to me so substituted with whipped cream.
For me the dessert was soooooo sweet, tasting like a zabaione, with the egg yolk base. )
I told Gaia that originally I was planning to use gingerbread as a base for my project and she suggested combining the two for our challenge presentation.
The spicy ginger bread I made with the recipe from Elise, was a nice balance to the sweetness of the semifreddo, alternating bites was perfect.
I was originally thinking about serving the semi freddo in gingerbread boxes, but was afraid they would get damp from the freezer.
Gingerbread cookie dough is so versatile- this year I made a box to put the cookies in, made some cookies to hang as ornaments. You can never have too many gingerbread cookies around!
I can't wait to see Vivereincucina's presentation and feedback on the recipes!
Here is Gaia's link to how she made her's.
Love the gingerbread crumble she used as a base.
Best wishes for a fabulous 2011