Recipe from Dolci: Italy’s Sweets by Francine Segan (Stewart, Tabori and Chang, 2011)It tickles me that this recipe, which feels so ultra-modern, comes from an Italian cookbook written in 1891! This no-bake cake is not only incredibly delicious, but it's easy to make. Store-bought savoiardi ladyfinger cookies are dipped in liqueur, layered with chocolate, and then refrigerated until firm. Pronto fatto, it's done.
serves 4 to 6
- Butter 7 tablespoons (3½ ounces/100 grams)
- Confectioners' sugar - ½ cup (1¾ ounces/50 grams)
- Egg yolk - 1 large
- Dark chocolate - 3½ ounces/100 grams
- Heavy cream - 2 tablespoons
- Pure vanilla extract - ½ teaspoon
- Warm water - 5 tablespoons
- Sugar - 2 tablespoons, plus more to taste
- Sweet liqueur, such as alchermes - 4 tablespoons
- 12 savoiardi (crisp ladyfingers)
- Crushed nuts - 2 tablespoons
In a large bowl, using a whisk or electric mixer, beat the butter, confectioners' sugar, and egg yolk until very smooth and creamy. Set aside.
Put the chocolate and cream in a small bowl and melt the chocolate, either in a microwave oven or over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Let the chocolate mixture cool to room temperature, then stir it and the vanilla into the butter mixture. Set aside.
Combine the warm water and the granulated sugar in a shallow bowl and stir until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the liqueur, adding more sugar to taste.
Dip 4 of the savoiardi, one at a time, into the liquid. Be sure to moisten them well on all sides. Arrange the 4 liqueur-dipped savoiardi in a row, close together, on a serving plate. Spread with one third of the chocolate mixture.
Repeat the dipping and layering to make two more layers, spreading the last layer of chocolate mixture on top and around the sides of the stacked savoiardi. Sprinkle the top layer with pistachios or hazelnuts. Refrigerate for 3 hours, or until firm. Serve cold.