Torta fredda allo yogurt (cold yogurt cake)
|July 17, 2012||Posted by ameliaps under blackberries, dessert, Italian, italy, summer|
Have you noticed how HOT it is? Will we finally acknowledge that global warming is an actual fact rather than a theory? Who has the desire to go in the kitchen and turn on the oven? Not me! Does that mean I have to give up dessert? Not quite. I was reminded of no-bake desserts by lovely Nicole from “And Baby Cakes Three”. If you don’t already know of this blog, you have to visit…the stories Nicole weaves in from her travel adventures, her childhood memories and her motherhood endeavors are delightful and endearing. I am constantly inspired.
Now that I am back into three digit Fahrenheit degrees of heat, I have memories of one long and particularly hot summer in Rome, when I was 18 and studying for my baccalaureate test, in which nothing could keep me cool. I had devised a bucket of water under the desk, as I studied in my bathing suit, a frozen towel on my neck, the windows open over the earthen roofs of the eternal city, the fan blowing the curtains in a gentle dance (since at the time there was absolutely no air conditioning), while everyone was already gone on vacation, somewhere at the beach (al mare)…which sounded like a distant reverie for me.
So, back to my kitchen, frustrated by my rhetoric and translation exercises, lost among Cicero and Aristotle, tired of philosophy and physics, I conjured with my sister to make a cold yogurt cake for the afternoon merenda (snack). It is a perfect summer dessert, because it requires no baking. It has the consistency of a mousse (or Bavarese), the cool-ness of a semi-freddo, and the fresh flavor combinations of a yogurt-granola parfait. In a way, it is a rather lighter version of the omnipresent panna cotta.
In Italy, this torta is a classic already, for which there are even packaged versions available at the store… but as with everything, I like making mine from scratch. So off I went to find my interpretation. I have to admit… I had to tweak the recipe I found from a friend a couple of times before coming to peace with the effort. My first effort was rather soft and “languid” in texture, so I had to adjust the amounts in the recipe below.
I used “colla di pesce” as the jellifying agent, as I brought back some sheets from Italy… but you can use any sheet/leaf gelatin. If you really can’t find sheet gelatin (I do see them on Amazon), you can use powder gelatin, but you have to know that it is not the same thing, as powder is more processed and has a salty after-taste that sheet gelatin does not have. For reference, 10 grams/0.33 ounces of leaf/sheet gelatin (equivalent to about 1 packet of 1/4 oz. powder unflavored gelatin = 1 Tbsp.) should be sufficient to jellify 2 cups or 500 milliliters of liquid to standard firmness. But this is a bit of an art…and it requires some testing.
|Torta fredda allo yogurt (cold yogurt cake)||
- Cookie base/crust:
- 5 oz. (200 gr., 1 pack) crumbly cookies (Digestive, Graham crackers, or even Savoiardi)
- 1 stick butter (100-115 gr.) butter, melted
- 2 Tablespoons of sugar
- Yogurt filling:
- 2 lbs. (32 oz., 500 gr.) whole yogurt -> but feel free to use less for a lower cake
- 1 cup powder sugar
- Half a pint (8 oz., 125 ml.) whipping cream
- 20 gr. “colla di pesce” / sheet gelatin (OR use 3 or 4 packets powder gelatin)
- Berry gelée
- 7 oz. (200. gr.) berries (I used blackberries)
- Juice of half a lemon
- 4 tablespoons (50 ml.) of water
- 4 tablespoons (50 gr.) sugar
- 5 gr. “colla di pesce” / sheet gelatin (OR use 1 packet powder gelatin)
- A few more berries to decorate
- Crush the cookies into crumbles then mix with the sugar and butter.
- Lay them, pressing down, in a 9 inch (22 cm) spring form cake pan.
- Cool in the fridge while making the filling.
- Allow the gelatin to soften (if using sheets) or bloom (if using powder) in a few fingers of cold water.
- Take 4 to 5 tablespoons of the whipping cream and heat in a small pan. Add the gelatin, stir, and cool down.
- Whip the remaining cream to soft peak. Gently fold in the yogurt and the powder sugar and then add the cooled gelatin until well mixed in.
- Pour everything in the pan over the crust (that was cooling down) and allow to set at least 2 hours in the refrigerator.
- Once the cake is cool and set, allow the gelatin to soften (if using sheets) or bloom (if using powder) in a few fingers of cold water.
- Take the berries and blend them with the lemon juice, water and sugar. Then add the gelatin and stir well.
- Pour over the cake and allow to set in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Top with reserved berries.
- Unmold (if need be, use a warm knife to help around the edges)
Note: you may use already sweetened and flavored yogurt: if you do, omit or decrease the extra sugar.