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The "semifreddo" of Francesco Carletti: cream and bitter cocoa

  • One package of 200 grs of very cold cream to be whipped
  • 1 sachet of vanillina
  • 4 spoons of sugar
  • 1 tea spoon of instant coffee
  • 1 spoon of sugar
  • 20 grams of butter
  • 1 tea spoon of bitter cocoa
  • 2 sponge fingers or "Pavesini" (a type of biscuits)
  • 4 spoons of rosolio of Angelica Paradisea (spirits of Benevento)
  • salt
Whip the cream very well together with vanillina and the 4 spoons of sugar. In the meanwhile take 4 moulds made of light aluminium (the ones which are used for the so called "latte alla Portoghese"), and in each of them crumble 1/2 sponge finger and bathe with a spoon of rosolio. As soon as the cream is whipped, put them in the moulds and fill them for about 2/3, then position them in the refrigerator for one hour. In a small saucepan pour one big spoon of water, the instant coffee, the butter and the spoon of sugar; boil these ingredients very lightly and then add the cocoa. Boil for 2-3 minutes more, turning this stuff and let it become thicker. Take out the small cakes from the refrigerator, bathe them with the hot cocoa and serve immediately.
This is a simple cake, but very tasty. It is based on contrasts (black and white, hot and cold, soft and solid, etc.) and is part of our list of recipe since several years; it still mantains a large favour of public. The reference to Francesco Carletti (Florentine traveller and merchant of the XVI century) is concerned with cocoa (the Indian broth). It seems that in the travels journals of Francesco Carletti, for the first time in Europe, it appeared a quite detailed desciption of "chocolate".

A Giuseppe Alessi recipe
Translated by Gianna Toni
Picture by Kee-Ho Casati

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