The Tortoni dessert is considered by culinary experts a sort of legend dessert. It was named after his creator, Giuseppe Tortoni, an Italian emigrant from Naples, who in the late 19th century made his fortune in Paris as the owner of the homonymous Café Tortoni. This became one of the most famous literary cafes of its era, and was even represented by Manet in one of his paintings.
Being Italian, and knowing that even intellectual patrons have a sweet tooth, Chef Tortoni created a wonderful frozen dessert (somewhat similar to the Italian Semifreddo), folding together whipped cream, whipped egg whites and yolks, hot sugar syrup, and finally pouring the fluffy mix in a mold lined with almonds macaroons crumbs.
Soon the Tortoni dessert became famous also in the United States, and its original recipe was published in The New York Times in 1898.
My Biscuit Tortoni recipe is inspired by one of today’s versions of Tortoni, and includes maraschino cherries, sliced almonds, and Amaretto liquor.
Ingredients and Instructions:
- Start preheating the oven at 325 F degrees. In a baking sheet, toast the almonds for about 5 minutes, tossing them around a couple of times with a spatula. Set aside
- Using preferably a pre-chilled large metal bowl, whip the heavy cream. When it starts getting firm, add the Amaretto liquor and vanilla extract. Keep whipping until nice and stiff, then fold in the almond macaroon cookie crumbs and 4 of the chopped maraschino cherries. Set to chill in the refrigerator.
- Meanwhile, beat the egg white. Once it's become foamy, slowly add the sugar and continue beating until thick and firm. Fold gently the egg white into the chilled cream mix.
- Using a spatula, fill 8 small ramekins or paper muffin cups, sprinkle the toasted almonds on top, place on a tray, cover with clear plastic paper and freeze for at least 4 hours (better overnight), until completely firm.
- Before serving, take the cups out of the freezer and let sit at room temperature for 5 minutes, and then top each cup with the halved maraschino cherries.
As drinks to serve with Tortoni dessert, I recommend Moscato or Vin Santo wine, as well as also Sherry or Port.
NOTE: This recipe includes raw egg whites. If concerned with health issues, replace egg whites and sugar with 1 and 1/2 cup of vanilla ice cream. Let it become soft at room temperature and fold with the cream mixture.