In how many ways can you eat your dessert?
You can stuff your mouth with chocolates and pralines, tiny puff pastries and tartlets overfilled with custard, meringue kisses, cookies and biscotti or candies and toffees from a paper bag. It is just like with cherries, they go one after the other, and you can’t stop yourself from grabbing another one until you see the empty bottom of your basket.
There are cakes that demand to be neatly sliced and presented on an elegant plate or, even better, a cake stand. Just imagine a Sacher torte, a Dobos Torte or a multi layer chocolate cake. Think at the banana bread and at all the thick slices you can have, perfect to be toasted and spread with butter in the morning.
Other sweet treats have the specific task to be enjoyed decadently with your hands, a sensual and satisfying approach. A choux pastry asks for excited hands, which will hold it as you go bite by bite. The custard will spill everywhere and you are supposed to lick it from your fingers. The same will happen with a bombolone or the peach made of brioche and crema.
There is also another special group of desserts which in Italy is known as dolci al cucchiaio, literally spoon desserts, which includes everything you’d enjoy with a spoon.
We took the chance of the second year anniversary of out Italian Table Talk project to celebrate with a selection of dolci al cucchiaio, something very Italian, if you ask me.
Emiko, our Artusi’s expert, made a semolina pudding with loquats, and yes, I got the chance to try this and the loquats uplift the pudding to another level. Jasmine challenged herself to make one of my favourite dessert ever, latte alla portoghese, while Valeria concocted a classic Venetian Crema with Almonds.
I have a soft spot for dolci al cucchiaio, which are also highly appreciated by my family: zuppa inglese, latte alla portoghese, tiramisu, creme brulée, pannacotta. You name a dolce al cucchiaio, I made it. All but one. I was still missing a traditional crowd pleasing comforting homely budino al cioccolato, a simple chocolate pudding.
You might say: a chocolate dessert in June? It’s almost summer, don’t you think a fruit pudding would suit the season better, or what about an ice cream cake or a cup of velvety and sensual tiramisu. Well, first of all my believes are that it’s never too late to bake with chocolate. Period.
Second, if you find a hundred year old recipe by Pellegrino Artusi which gives you the chance to have a soft, wobbling and refreshing chocolate dessert you don’t want to lose the chance to try it, especially because it is not too sweet as you drizzle it with a thick coating of dark caramel.
So grab your spoon and follow me to make the perfect chocolate pudding. Before serving it, brew a mint greet tea which goes incredibly well with a chocolate dessert in summer. It will refresh and clean your mouth, marrying the chocolate notes to perfection.
- 800 ml whole milk
- 80 g of sugar + 4 tablespoons for the caramel
- 60 g of dark chocolate
- 60 g of lady fingers (savoiardi biscuits)
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
- Chop finely the chocolate and add it to the milk in a saucepan.
- Bring the milk to a gentle simmering, add the sugar and the crumbled lady fingers. Stir every so often and let it simmer on low flame for about 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes pass it through a sieve and collect it in a bowl. Let it cool down completely.
- Beat the eggs and add them to the cold chocolate milk with a teaspoon of vanilla essence.
- Melt 4 tablespoons of sugar at the bottom of a pudding mould until you have an amber coloured caramel, then pour in the egg and chocolate milk mixture.
- Heat the oven to 160°C and bake the pudding in a bain-marie for about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
- Let it cool down completely and stash in the fridge for a few hours before serving it.
- Unmould the chocolate pudding on a serving plate and drizzle with the caramel left into the mould.
Not to lose a single post by the Italian Table talk girls, these are our Social Accounts:
- Emiko, her blog is Emikodavies.com, @emikodavies on Twitter, and her Pinterest
- Valeria, her blog is Life Love Food, @valerianecchio on Twitter, her FB Page and her Pinterest
- Jasmine, her blog is Labna.it, @labna on Twitter, her FB page and her Pinterest
- Juls, my Twitter @Julskitchen, FB page and Pinterest