7:00 AM EST
File under “Zabaione Montato” or “Italian Ambrosia”
I learned this recipe for Zabaione Montato from Bertolt, my aunt Malinka’s Alsatian lover. They own a small villa in Tuscany where they occasionally spend Buon Natale. Surrounded by their Italian and ex-pat friends, Christmas for them is a celebration of the region’s best foods and wines. So is this gianduja, tiramisù and zabaione hybrid classic, traditional or specifically Tuscan? No. Does it really matter? Light as a feather with rich chocolate and hazelnut flavor…I think you’ll agree it doesn’t really matter!
Did I lose you at zabaione? Zabaione – or sabayon in French – is a custard or thick dessert drink made from egg yolks, sugar and sweet wine, usually Marsala. You know that light creamy layer in tiramisù? That’s more/less zabaione incorporated into mascarpone cheese. Gianduja is a decadent hazelnut and chocolate spread…you’re probably familiar with a mass-produced (but still delicious) version, Nutella. The word “montato” simply means whipped. This dessert can be served frozen like gelato, chilled like a mousse or as a delicious spread for not-too-sweet cookies (my preferred way to enjoy it).
Zabaione Montato is not particularly difficult to make but you must fully whip your egg whites and very gently fold them into the zabaione and gianduja to produce an ethereal dessert. Nutella is made with palm oil I suggest you make your own gianduja or break down and buy the real thing.
• 4 eggs (4 egg yolks, 2 egg whites)
• 2 tablespoons white sugar
• 2 tablespoons Marsala or Moscato d’Asti wine
• 1 cup gianduja (recipe here)
• 2 cups mascarpone
• Special equipment: stand mixer, whisk, spatula
Make the Zabaione
Start by creating a makeshift double boiler. Put the kettle on. When the water is ready pour it into a bowl. Add the egg yolks, sugar and Marsala to a separate bowl. Place this bowl on top of the hot water bowl and whisk the egg mixture until it slightly thickens (lifting the whisk out of the bowl should produce thin ribbons) and turns a noticeably paler shade of yellow. Once properly whisked, remove the egg mixture bowl from the hot water bowl.
Using a stand mixer at its highest setting, whisk the egg whites until stiff, glossy peaks form. It may take a while but be patient.
Mixing & Folding
Whisk the gianduja into the zabaione until well incorporated. Whisk the mascarpone into the gianduja-zabaione mixture. Finally, carefully fold (use a spatula, not the whisk) the egg whites into the mascarpone mixture just until you no longer see stray white streaks in the mixture. Chill or freeze the final whipped dessert.
2:12 PM EST
Spread the Word: Fundraiser for Grove Street Fire Victims at Two Boots in Jersey City
View of the 11/27/13 Grove Street fire from 500 Tasty Sandwiches’ Jersey City test kitchen.
The Historic Downtown Special Improvement District and Two Boots Jersey City (133 Newark Avenue) are hosting a night of good food, music and fundraising on Monday, December 9th from 6 to 9 p.m. for the victims of the 4-alarm fire in Downtown Jersey City which took place the day before Thanksgiving.
There will be a required donation of $15 at the door, which will include a slice of pizza and a beer. Live music will be provided by local band Rock-it Docket. Donations of clothing and non-perishable food will also be accepted.
We hope to see you there!
Heavenly: Brutti ma Buoni
In English Brutti ma Buoni means ugly but good. They are a meringue but also a cookie. Sweet but light (no yolks and only a scant amount of flour which some recipes even omit altogether). 500 Tasty Sandwiches’ recipe is based on the exemplar brutti ma buoni made at Veniero’s Pastry Shop in New York’s East Village: crisp on the outside, slightly chewy on the inside and full of hazelnut and cinnamon flavor. The key to making this sweet treat is patiently whisking the eggs to form glossy, medium-hard peaks so the meringue can support the sugar and nuts. While you may be tempted to double this recipe a non-commercial stand mixer can’t hold more than the given volume of beaten eggs.
• 1 lb whole hazelnuts (unsalted) or 3/4 lbs chopped hazelnuts
• 1/4 lb Italian chestnut flour*
• 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon ground Vietnamese cinnamon
• 2 ½ cups granulated sugar
• 7 large egg whites, room temperature
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 teaspoon almond extract
• 1 tablespoon amaretto
• Cooking spray
• Special equipment: tea towel, stand mixer, baking sheets, parchment paper
We call for a full pound of hazelnuts assuming some attrition in the skin removal process. Do you have to remove the skin? No. Does it make for a better product? Definitely. Whether you shell them yourself or buy them shelled you ultimately want a total 3/4 lbs of very finely chopped hazelnuts. Lightly toast shelled hazelnuts in a pan set over medium-high heat, stirring constantly to avoid burning them.
To remove the skins add the hazelnuts to a pan set over medium-high heat. Continuously stir the nuts until the skins are nearly black then transfer to a tea towel and rub them until the skins come off. You may need to work on individual nuts with your fingers or the edge of a spoon. Throw away any blackened nuts or use a spoon to scrape off black spots on otherwise good hazelnuts.
Next, combine 3/4 lbs of hazelnuts, the chestnut flour, all-purpose flour and cinnamon. Add the mixture to a food processor or blender and pulse until mostly pulverized. If you overprocess the nuts a paste (i.e., butter) will form. As a precaution you can freeze the nuts before processing.
Separately, combine the vanilla extract, almond extract and amaretto to have it ready for the next step.
Finally, preheat the oven to 300° and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Lightly spray the parchment paper with cooking spray.
Make the Meringue
Using your stand mixer whisk the egg whites until glossy stiff peaks form. Important: only when peaks have formed slowly add the sugar followed by the vanilla/almond/amaretto with the whisk still on high speed. Gently fold in the hazelnut mixture until rather well (i.e., not completely) incorporated. The less folding you have to do the better.
Add fluffy cookie-sized dollops of the prepared meringue to the baking sheets, allowing at least 1-inch of space around each dollop. Bake for 30 minutes. If you like very chewy brutti ma buoni remove baking sheets from the oven and, this part is crucial, allow them to cool completely before transferring to an air-tight container. Otherwise you risk tearing these delicate-when-warm treats.
We prefer brutti ma buoni that are slightly crisper. After 30 minutes remove the baking sheets from the oven and reduce the heat to 250°. Only when the oven reaches 250° return the baking sheets and bake for 10 more minutes. Allow the cookies to cool completely before transferring to an air-tight container.
*Nut flours are simply pulverized nuts. The home cook can make his or her own nut flours by freezing nuts before small-batch processing them in a food processor or blender. At room temperature the heat of the processing will turn the nuts into a paste (i.e., butter).