Classic flavours in an Italian dessert
I’ve had such great feedback about the Italian desserts I’ve shared recently and feel compelled to write about another addictive-post dinner sweet. This particular Italian dessert is wonderful to have up your sleeve because it involves no flour, perfect for guests with gluten allergies. It also requires no cooking and so is ideal for anyone with limited time on their hands.
Using the classic combination of coffee and chocolate, this Italian dessert is better suited for cold weather when an icy coffee granita might not appeal. With an incredibly luxurious texture, it’s a must-try for fans of panna cotta. The trick for making sure you get the truffle-like texture is two-fold. First, make sure you keep an eye on your melting chocolate and make sure it doesn’t start to seize up and second, whatever you do, don’t over-whip your cream! A very soft, just beginning to thicken consistency is what you’re after with this Italian chocolate-coffee cake dream.
Flourless bitter chocolate and coffee cake
- 340g dark chocolate (around 70% cocoa, broken up into pieces)
- 400ml full cream milk
- 6-8 grams good quality instant coffee
- 2 tbsp. caster sugar
- 800ml double cream
- 30g green cardamom pods (crushed)
- 70g roasted almonds (chopped)
- Crème fraiche – to serve
This recipe uses a 20cm round cake tin. Start by lining the tin with greaseproof baking paper. Next melt the chocolate in a bowl suspended over a simmering pot of hot water. This method is called double boiling. At the same time, put the milk and cardamom in a small pot, on a low heat, so it reduces by about one third. Make sure to keep the heat low do it does not boil. A skin may form in the milk. When reduced, strain and add the coffee and some sugar for sweetness. If you are using chocolate with a higher cocoa content you will need more sugar to counteract the bitterness. Whip the cream until it starts to thicken. Carefully fold the chocolate into the cream and then follow with the milk/coffee mix. Scrape cake mixture into your tin, smooth the top with a spatula and chill for 60-90 minutes.
Scatter the almonds on top before slicing and serve this addictive Italian dessert with some crème fraiche and an espresso!