We have had the first taste of summer, a faded blue sky, a scorching sun and a restoring shadow. Two days brave bathers crowded again our local shores, still pale and reluctant to undress after so many months spent wrapped in tights and scarfs. The weathermen say this has been the first taste of Summer, but believe me when I say that you can taste Summer in many different ways.
When I drizzle some fruity extra virgin olive oil over sun ripened tomatoes and the dried oregano lights up and releases its balsamic smell, I taste Summer. When my hair touches for the first time my bare skin and dance on my shoulders following the rhythm of my steps, I feel Summer.
When I walk along my country road and I am instantly surrounded by a choir of crickets, cicadas and pheasants, when I am overwhelmed by the ripe smell of flowers, I am certain that Summer is walking with me. When I wake up and open the window searching for the fresh are of the morning, I know I woke up on a bright Summer day.
When I have a stroll in Florence in a starry night with a gelato in one hand and his hand holding my other hand, I know I’m tasting Summer.
This is the first recipe I made for Sammontana: for five weeks I’ll give you ideas on how to use their yoghurt gelato, either to make a dessert for a dinner al fresco or to offer a refreshing sweet treat to your friends on a lazy afternoon.
I’ve already told you how I love Sammontana and its barattolino, a friend during many summers that I spent as a teenager watching romantic movies in my living room, dipping the spoon directly into the barattolino. It’s a guilty pleasure I still enjoy once in a while, cup and cone are definitely overvalued.
The first recipe turns the yogurt gelato into an ice-cream slice with caramelized hazelnuts. If you are looking for a fresh dessert to serve at the end of a Sunday meal, do not look further, you found it. You can make it in advance and keep it in the fridge already cut into slices. Just remember to take it out of the fridge half an hour before serving it.
Ice-cream slices with caramelized hazelnuts
For the cookie dough with almonds and cocoa
- 100 g of egg whites
- 25 g of sugar
- 150 g of whole eggs
- 20 g of egg yolks
- 100 g of icing sugar
- 125 g of almond flour
- 35 g flour 00
- 10 g of cocoa powder
For the slices of ice cream
- 250 g of yogurt ice-cream
- 100 g of peeled hazelnuts
- 100 g of sugar
- 100 g of dark chocolate
- 20 g of butter
- 4 tablespoons of whole milk
- Start with the soft cookie dough, made with almonds and cocoa. Make it well in advance, even the day before. Preheat oven to 200°C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Beat the egg whites with the sugar until are firm and thick, then set them aside. Whip eggs, yolks and sugar for about ten minutes with an electric mixer or a stand mixer until they white, fluffy and firm.
- Sift the flour with the cocoa and almond flour and then gently fold them into the egg and sugar mixture. Fold in gently the egg whites.
- Spread the batter on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 10 minutes. The cookie dough should be elastic to the touch.
- When the cookie dough is ready remove it from the oven, turn on a wire rack, then gently remove the parchment paper. Make it cool completely.
- When the cookie dough is cold, melt the sugar in a saucepan and when it gets amber coloured, add the coarsely chopped hazelnuts. Swirl the saucepan to completely cover the hazelnuts with caramel, then turn them on a sheet of baking paper and try to separate them with a fork. Make them cool completely and once cold break the bigger pieces of caramel.
- Remove the yogurt ice-cream from the freezer and let it soften a little bit, just enough so you can mix it with the caramelized hazelnuts. Mix it with the caramelized hazelnuts, keeping some aside for the final decoration.
- Cover with baking paper a rectangular (approx. 18cm x 12cm) baking tray, line the bottom with the almond and chocolate cookie, cover it with the ice cream and caramelized hazelnuts and top with another rectangle of cookie dough.
- Seal the ice cream with plastic wrap and place it in the freezer for a few hours.
- Shortly before serving, take it out of the freezer, gently remove the ice cream from the baking tray and set it on a cutting board. Cut it down into 6 slices and decorate each slice of ice cream with dark chocolate, previously melted in a double boiler with milk and butter. Add some caramelised hazelnuts and serve immediately .
I forgot! a taste of summer is also to be finally able to have my favorite walk without sinking into the mud. Consider yourself lucky, I showed you my secret country road, where the fairies hide…