Monday, February 16, 2009

The "Delight" of Tortoni

I am quite familiar with tiramisu, but this article by the N.Y. Times' Amanda Hesser introduced me to another Italian dessert that begins with the letter "T." It's tortoni.

I have never eaten tortoni. But Hesser's article has made me eager to try it.

If you’ve never had tortoni, you’re in for a delight. It’s ice cream’s fantasy of ice cream: scented with almonds and sometimes rum, it’s uninhibited by gravity yet also a tiny bit chewy.

The differences between ice cream and tortoni lie in the techniques of their making. Ice cream is made by blending rich materials — cream and sugar and sometimes eggs — and then churning air into the heavy mixture with an ice-cream maker. With tortoni, the technique is deconstructed.

In the recipe that appeared in The Times in 1898, air is whipped into egg whites and yolks, and bolstered by the addition of hot sugar syrup. More air is whipped into cream, and the two mousses are folded together, then poured into a mold lined with crushed macaroons.

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