Since Italians love food, and Italian food (as everybody knows) is absolutely delicious, it is pretty common that for Christmas, Italian friends and families exchange edible gifts. Usually these gifts consist of big, beautiful boxes or baskets decorated with Christmas themes and full of goodies such as deli, coffee, chocolate, wine, Panettone and more. One that’s never missing is Torrone (o Mandorlato).
When I lived in Italy, it often happened that during Christmas Holiday I received 4-5 packs of Torrone (or Mandorlato), and it was always hard to eat it all without feeling sick by the end!!
Thank goodness my grandmother (probably because SHE also was overwhelmed by huge quantities of Torrone at Christmas time 😉 ), used to prepare this really, really delicious dessert to get rid off the extra Torrone. And although most Americans will probably not have an excess of Torrone at the holidays, it can be found easily in many stores here in the U.S. Plus, this absolutely stunning dessert is easy to make, not requiring any particular baking or cooking talent! But the best part of this dessert is the fusion between the frozen creamy compound and the warm chocolate used for garnishing… absolutely heaven!
Before we go ahead with the recipe, you should probably know what Torrone is! 🙂 Well, it is a treat typically made of honey, sugar, and egg white, with nuts or toasted almonds (in which case it is called Mandorlato), and usually shaped into either a rectangular tablet or a round cake. It is frequently consumed as a traditional Christmas dessert in Italy, Spain and countries formerly under the Spanish empire as well, particularly in Latin America.
The Torrone I’ve found shopping here in US looked like this, and it tasted mostly like the Italian one:
INGREDIENTS for about 6 small cups of semifreddo
7 0z. torrone – 200 gr. torrone (hazelnuts or almonds)
2 eggs – 2 uova
7 oz. whipped cream – 3 dl. panna da montare
2 oz. (or 1/4 cup) sugar – 50 g. zucchero
5 oz. dark chocolate – 150 g cioccolato fondente
chopped toasted hazelnuts for garnish
(if your Torrone has few nuts inside, consider using an extra handful of nuts)
First of all, grind the Torrone (and any extra nuts, if using) in a food processor.
Separate the yolks from the whites and put them in two separate bowls. Whip the whites with an electric whisk until they form stiff peaks.
Measure out and whip about 2/3 of the whipping cream.
Beat the sugar with the yolks for few minutes to obtain a light and fluffy compound.
Fold into the beaten yolks the whipped cream and the egg whites, a little at a time, stirring gently from the bottom to the top.
Then, add the crumbled Torrone and nuts, again stirring gently until you obtain a homogeneous mixture.
Portion out into 6 ramekins, lined with plastic wrap. Then transfer into the freezer for about 3-4 hours.
Before serving the dessert, melt the chocolate in a double boiler (or microwave) and mix it with the remaining whipped cream.
Flip the frozen desserts onto plates and garnish with the chocolate sauce, and chopped hazelnuts or nuts.
Your guests will be very impressed by the beauty and deliciousness of this dessert!
LEARNT IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!
Tip: If you don’t have small ramekins you can use a pudding mold instead.
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