Thursday, September 24, 2009

Friendly Food

One of my friends moved away about three years ago. I wish I could say that "we keep in touch", or that we have "gotten closer" but miles apart are strongly felt in our relationship. When one makes the effort to call, the conversations are amazing and I always wish that she could be back here, back from where I knew her, met her, hung out with her and woke her up in the mornings to say a bright hello. Its been a while now, but she always makes it a priority to come and visit for all the important things going on in each of her girl-friends life.

During one of our rare conversations, we talked about food. She was excited about a show she had just seen where the chef prepared a delicious, decadent, chocolate indulgent dessert. It was hard not to want it. I think I craved the very words that she used to describe this mouth-watering treat. Feeling like we needed to spend some time with each other we made a phone-date. We planned on face booking the recipe online and baking it together over the phone.

This Wednesday we did just that. It was easy to prepare so we chit-chatted over the noise of our kids and later when the pudding set for an hour in the oven we took that to our advantage and had a more serious conversation about life, love and God. Their were struggles in each of our lives and our hearts poured out concern. Let me just write that nothing cures concern better than warm, melting chocolate with amaretto cream and toasted almonds so the ending was sweet and pleasant.

Chocolate Sformato with Amaretto Whip Cream
Courtesty of Everyday Italian


2 cups whole milk, divided
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 packet gelatin
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 (12-ounce) bag bittersweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
1 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1 tablespoon almond liqueur (recommended: Amaretto)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cups of the milk, the sugar, and vanilla. Bring to a simmer and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat. Sprinkle the gelatin over the remaining 1/2 cup cold milk and let dissolve for 2 minutes. Combine the cold milk and gelatin with the hot milk and sugar. Stir to dissolve the gelatin, about 5 minutes. (Heat the milk gently if the gelatin is not dissolving easily.) When the gelatin is dissolved combine the eggs with the warm milk, whisking constantly to avoid scrambling the eggs. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a large measuring cup or small pitcher.

Meanwhile, melt the chocolate over a double boiler. When the chocolate is melted gradually combine the milk and egg mixture with the melted chocolate, stirring between each addition to create a smooth chocolate mixture.

Pour the mixture into a buttered 2-quart casserole dish. Sprinkle the top with the almonds. Place the casserole dish in a larger dish or roasting pan. Add hot water to the outer pan until the water comes halfway up the sides of the baking dish. Bake until the sides are firm and the center is jiggles slightly, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 30 minutes.

Just before serving, whip the cream to soft peaks in a medium bowl using a whisk or electric hand mixer. Add the sugar and almond liqueur and whip to combine. Spoon the sformato into individual serving bowls and dollop the top with the almond liqueur whip cream.

Deep, sweet and always a treat. Hope.

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