When my family and I were living in Houston, Texas many years ago (approx. 28 years), I was asked by several friends to teach them how to cook many of the Italian dishes that I prepared for them. Being a teacher by profession, this was right up my alley to do things I truly enjoyed, teaching and cooking. Sharing my family recipes with others was quite a thrill and they enjoyed the lessons and the dishes.
This was before the Food Network, Rachel Ray, and Martha Stewart. However, Julia Child and the Joy of Cooking cookbook was what most of us were familiar with and tried to duplicate. The one drawback in teaching others was that I was not much of a dessert cook. Italians tend to eat fruit, cheese and nuts for dessert and when they have sweets, it is usually for a special occasion or a guest would bring dessert as a gift to the hostess.
I had to reach out to my family members to teach me their dessert recipes. You can find my Aunt Mary’s cheesecake recipe on this blog as well as those from Aunt Laura. My sister, Natalie, shared this Tortoni recipe with me and it was one that my students truly enjoyed and they always told me of the rave compliments they received when they served it. Tortoni is a frozen Italian dessert which is light and complements any meal when served with a cup of Espresso. I hope you enjoy the simplicity of this delicious dessert.
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 cups sugar
- Dash salt
- 1/4 cups whole blanched almonds
- Almond extract (1 1/2 tsp.) plus 1/4 tsp
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream (whipping cream)
- 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 12 candied cherries (optional)
- 12 paper cupcake liners
- Separate eggs. (Yolks can be refrigerated and saved). Let whites warm to room temperature. Mix ¼ cup water with the sugar in 1 quart saucepan. Stir over low heat to dissolve sugar. Boil uncovered without stirring till 236
degrees on candy thermometer (soft ball stage).
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place blanched almonds in shallow baking pan: bake just till lightly toasted 8-10 minutes. Chop almonds finely in processor or blender. Turn into small bowl. Stir in 1 ½ tsp. almond extract and set aside.
- Beat egg whites with salt just until peaks form. Pour hot syrup in thin stream over whites, beat constantly till very stiff peaks form. Refrigerate 30 mins.
- In medium bowl beat cream with ¼ tsp. almond extract and ¾ tsp. vanilla, until quite stiff. Gently fold into egg-white mixture until well combined.
- Spoon into 12 paper-lined 2 ½ inch size cupcake pan. Sprinkle with almonds, top with candied cherry (optional). Cover with foil. Freeze until firm several hours or overnight. (For longer storage remove from pan, wrap each well. Keeps 1 month in freezer).