Monday, May 26, 2008

Cherry Tortoni (Page 864)

  • Date: Saturday, May 17, 2008 -- 9pm
  • Location: Somerville, MA
  • Kitchen: Matty's Apartment
  • Dining Companions: Matty, Irene, Yano, Alp, Phil O, Ben W
  • Recipe Rating: B+

Last summer, after searching and searching for sour cherries in the stores, Matty and I finally found a place where we could pick sour cherries ourselves. We picked nearly ten pounds of cherries that day and I pitted them, measured them out for the various recipes in The Book that called for them, and put them in the freezer. I didn't manage to make all of said recipes before I moved to Bloomington in the fall though, and the cherries stayed with Matty in Boston. The cherries could have been transported to Indiana on one of our many trips this year. After the struggle to acquire them though, those cherries are like gold to me, so I couldn't risk a cherry/airline/TSA battle. (Who knows? Frozen cherries might be a security risk. Or, my luggage could get lost long enough for the cherries to thaw and rot...). So, here we are, a year later, with many sour cherries still in the freezer, and many sour cherry recipes not yet completed. Hence this dessert.

Tortoni is a frozen mousse cake, often with almonds and Marsala. This version was also studded with sour cherries and accompanied by a sour cherry sauce. This tortoni was pretty nice. The crust was delicious (ground almonds, vanilla wafers, and butter -- how could it not be!). The mousse filling was also very tasty. The highlight though was definitely the sour cherry sauce. Once everyone had eaten their piece of tortoni Matty and I finished off the accompanying sauce by the spoonful -- I never claimed to have good table manners! The sauce was beautiful (although somehow I didn't get it in either of the pictures above), with a perfect consistency, and a wonderful cherry-almond flavor. I liked this dessert a lot, but I had two minor complaints. One, the sour cherries got very icy in the freezer. The frozen mousse had a good, creamy texture, but the ice crystals in the cherries disrupted that. Consequently, if I made it again I would simply leave the cherries out of the filling, and still bring the cherry flavor into the dish with the sauce. My other complaint was that it was nearly impossible to extricate the crust from the pan. I buttered very generously, but still, in the battle between the pan and the cake, the bottom crust sided with the pan every time. It was a shame too because the crust was very delicious! We ended up scraping it out of the pan so we could enjoy it. (Like I was saying about my table manners...). Overall though this dish had good flavors, and was very tasty.

Here is the recipe.

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