Meringue Gelato Cake with Chocolate Sauce

Meringue Gelato Cake with Chocolate Sauce

I found this recipe for one of the world’s easiest but most delicious desserts in a rather fabulous book, by chef and “culinary philosopher” Gioacchino Scognamiglio, called Il Chichibio: ovvero poesia della cucina, which translates as “The Gallant: or the Poetry of Cooking” (and Chichibio, I should also tell you, was a rakish Venetian cook in Boccaccio’s Decameron). At Scognamiglio’s instigation, I went to great lengths to acquire a bottle of Elisir San Marzano, which has a peculiarly Italian, chocolate-coffee-herbal hit. Feel free to use coffee liqueur or rum or, better still, a mixture of the two in its place.

This is a no-churn affair. You mix everything together, wodge it into a loaf tin, freeze and you’re done. I like this with a few raspberries to tumble around and a chocolate sauce to Jackson Pollock over it.

For how many? Serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • 300ml double cream
  • 30g dark chocolate (min.70% cocoa solids)
  • 1 x 15ml tbsp Elisir San Marzano, or coffee liqueur and/or rum
  • 1 packet 8 meringue nests (approx. 100g total)
  • To serve:
  • 250g rasberries
  • For the chocolate sauce (makes approx 300ml):
  • 250ml double cream
  • 125g dark chocolate (min.70% cocoa solids), finely chopped or in buttons made for melting
  • 2 x 15ml tbsp Elisir San Marzano, or coffee liqueur and/or rum

Instructions

Line your loaf tin with clingfilm, making sure you have enough overhang to cover the top later.

Whip the cream until thick but still soft.

Chop the chocolate very finely so that you have a pile of dark splinters, and fold them into the cream, along with the liqueur.

Now, using brute force, crumble the meringue nests and fold these in, too.

Pack this mixture into the prepared loaf tin, pressing it down with a spatula as you go, and bring the clingfilm up and over to seal the top, then get out more clingfilm to wrap around the whole tin. Freeze until solid, which should take around 8 hours, or overnight.

To serve, unwrap the outer layer of plastic wrap, then unpeel the top and use these bits of long overhanging wrap to lift out the ice-cream brick. Unwrap and unmould it onto a board and cut the frozen meringue cake into slabs to serve. I like to zig-zag a little chocolate sauce over each slice, and sprinkle a few raspberries alongside on each plate.

For the chocolate sauce:

Pour the cream into a saucepan and add the tiny bits of chocolate.

Put over a gentle heat and whisk as the chocolate melts, taking the pan off the heat once the chocolate is almost all melted. If the mixture gets too hot, the chocolate will seize, whereas it will happily continue melting in the warm cream of the heat.

Add the liqueur, still of the heat, and whisk again to amalgamate the sauce completely. Pour into a jug, whisking every now and again until it cools to the desired temperature.

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