Sweet endings

10 Apr


It feels weird that Vincent Price is the man my family credits for the sweetest, most angelic dessert we know.

His 1965 Joy of Creepy cookbook (Treasury of Great Recipes) is the source of our treasured family treat.
Boccone Dolce (“sweet mouthful”) is from Sardi’s on West 44th Street in Manhattan’s theater district.
It is ridiculous.

It’s an ice-box cake made with meringue, fresh strawberries, whipped cream and a touch of chocolate.

UPDATE: We recently succumbed to a fit of the lazies and tried to make one large meringue (which we baked slowly for close to two hours)

But we should have left the chocolate sparse: we coated the whole thing and the cream couldn’t penetrate to soften the base. So while it looked good and tasted good, it was tough to cut and turned into a shipwreck.

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BOCCONE DOLCE
(Sweet Mouthful)

Preheat oven to 250.
Meringue Layers: 3 base layers which can be done days ahead.
(some recipes call for 1/4 tsp cream of tartar and 250 oven)

4 egg whites, room temperature
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup superfine sugar

Preheat oven to 225 degrees. In mixer, beat egg whites, salt, cream of tartar, and vanilla extract until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in sugar and continue beating until meringue is stiff and glossy.

Line baking sheets with parchment. Trace three, eight inch circles on paper

With a rubber spatula, spread meringue evenly and equally over top of the circles. bake approximately 2 hours or until meringue becomes bisque colored. The low temperature will prevent them from browning too quickly. Then turn off oven, open oven door and let meringues “rest” in oven another 15 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully peel off parchment or waxed paper. Put cake on racks to dry until thoroughly cool.

Once cooled, meringues may be wrapped in saran and frozen or just store in an airtight container if using within the next 24 hours. NOTE: Wrap each meringue in several saran layers, then stack in a large plastic container for freezing. Remove from freezer at least an hour before assembling.

6 ounces of semisweet chocolate pieces
3 Tbsp. water
3 Tbsp. powdered sugar
3 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 pints berries, sliced and macerated with sugar
Chocolate curls (for garnish) I just shaved some chocolate over the top
Melt chocolate pieces over hot water. When perfectly smooth, remove from heat and cool.

In a large bowl, whip the cream until stiff; gradually add powdered sugar and then vanilla extract. (try a splash of grand marnier)

Take two lbs./pints of fresh strawberries. Pick out the eight prettiest berries and put them back in the fridge for later. Hull and slice, or half, the rest of the berries into a bowl and sweeten with a half cup of sugar.

Stir gently, cover, and put back in fridge for an hour or two.

To assemble, place a meringue layer on a serving plate, rounded side down. Spread a very thin coating of chocolate over it. NOTE: Go easy on chocolate, too much will make it impossible to cut cake! I used a pastry brush to spread the chocolate.

Top chocolate with a layer (about 3/4 inch thick) of whipped cream.

Top cream with a layer of sliced berries.
Place a second layer of meringue on top of this, and repeat filling.
Top with final meringue, rounded side up (some say down), and frost top smoothly with remaining whipped cream.

Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. Garnish with several whole strawberries and chocolate curls.

This dessert is not the easiest to cut – use a serrated bread knife works well and use a sawing like motion.
____________________________________
And to gild the lily, here’s a remarkable peach meringue cake sweetened with butter cream and bolstered by ground almonds.

ALMOND MERINGUE CAKE WITH PEACHES
From Laura Calder
4 ounces ground almonds or hazelnuts
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon sugar
4 egg whites
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons125 g sugar (for the buttercream)
4 egg yolks (for the buttercream)
1 cup butter, very soft (for the buttercream)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (for the buttercream)
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted (for the topping)
6 peaches, sliced (for the topping)

Directions
Make the cake: Heat the oven to 275°F/140°C. Line two baking sheets with parchment and draw on two 9-inch/23 cm circles. (You could also do rectangles). Combine the ground almonds, cornstarch, and all but 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Beat the whites to peaks, then beat in the remaining sugar to make a stiff meringue. Fold in the almond mixture in three batches to combine thoroughly. Using a piping bag with a large tip, pipe the meringue onto the circles on the parchment. Bake until crisp and dry, about an hour and a half.
Make the buttercream: Heat the sugar with 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons/100 ml water to dissolve, then boil to soft-ball stage, which is just before the syrup changes colour (239°F/115°C on a candy thermometer). Beat the egg yolks in a stand-up mixer, then, with the beaters running, quickly add the hot syrup in a thin stream. Continue beating until the mixture is cool and forms and thick mouse, about 5 minutes. Beat in the butter, gradually, and finally add the vanilla.
Assemble the cake: Set a round of meringue on a serving plate. Spread over a quarter of the buttercream. Lay in a layer of sliced peaches. Spread the top layer with buttercream and set it on top on the first. Spread the remaining butter cream over the sides of the cake. Press the toasted almonds all around the sides. Arrange another layer of peach slices on top.

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2 Responses to “Sweet endings”

  1. Jenny November 4, 2013 at 6:19 pm #

    YUM – omygawd I have always wanted to attempt this but never have. It looks A-Mazing!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Vincent Price Cookalong! | Saucy Cherie - November 4, 2013

    […] from Cooking Price-Wise early and — lucky us — his Yorkshire pudding, Quiche Lorraine and Sweet Mouthful (Boccone Dolce) remain in heavy […]

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