The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef. We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino Cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.
Another month and another fun challenge, especially for a chocolate lover. To make the cake (recipe here) I assembled a few bars (tavolette di cioccolato) of different brands, mostly with 70% cocoa content, a couple with 60%. The melting of the chocolate is the step that requires some care and patience, but the smell helps quiet the mind. I baked my cake in a 9" springform pan. While offering a vanilla ice cream recipe each, our hosts let us free to accompany the cake with the ice cream of choice, made by us. I have been making ice cream and sorbet (gelato e sorbetto) at home for several years, so I must admit that this was a welcome requirement.
I decided to go with berries, having a substantial amount of frozen locally grown blueberries (mirtilli) in my freezer. First I made Blueberry and Buttermilk Sherbet, a recipe I have described in my recent post on homemade buttermilk (latticello fatto in casa).
I then made an ice cream, again using blueberries, drawing inspiration from a recipe in the same book, Frozen Desserts by Caroline Liddell and Robin Weir: Strawberry and Mascarpone Ice Cream (gelato alle fragole e mascarpone). I could not pass up an opportunity for using my mascarpone fatto in casa (homemade mascarpone). My gelato ai mirtilli e mascarpone (Blueberry and Mascarpone Ice Cream) was excellent (and this is not just my opinion). I made a custard with two whole eggs, half a cup of sugar (100 g) and a cup of non-fat milk. Once the custard had cooled down slightly in a cold water bath, I added 250 g (8 and 3/4 oz.) of freshly-made mascarpone. I expected the mascarpone to easily blend into the egg custard, but that did not occur, so I ran the mixture through a wire mesh strainer, covered it, then chilled it. [Update: the last time I made the ice cream, my mascarpone blended well into the egg custard as I stirred it with a wooden spoon.]
I placed two cups of frozen blueberries in a pan and warmed them up until some of them started to break open, then removed the pan from the heat, cooled then chilled in the fridge. When I was ready to churn the ice cream, I used a potato masher (schiacciapatate) to mash the blueberries (as it is done in the sherbet recipe referenced above) before adding them to the custard. I then churned the mixture to obtain a mauve ice cream that complemented the chocolate cake and purple blueberry sherbet: the ensemble was a delicious trio.
A special thank you goes to our hosts for their efforts and support: it was a nice challenge. I hope you will take the time to go around and look at the gorgeous creations of my talented fellow Daring Bakers.
Click on the button to hear me pronounce the Italian words mentioned in the post:
or launch the torta al cioccolato Valentino audio file [mp3].