I've always prided myself on my Italian heritage. While I may not speak Italian and I've never set foot in Italy (why oh why didn't I study abroad there when I had the chance?!), I can cook a mean Bolognese, tiramisu and cannolis are my weakness, and wine is my version of water. So anytime I stumble upon an Italian recipe I've never heard of, the Italian part of me cringes for not knowing it. Boccone dolce is one such dish. Except this dish caused a double cringe as it originates from the same region as my family (northern Italy). However, it wasn't until just 2 weeks ago, when my father-in-law ordered a piece at our pre-Broadway show dinner, that I even heard the name 'boccone dolce' (or at least that I can remember). Eager to make up for lost time, I immediately began researching recipes and buying ingredients so that I could whip up my own boccone dolce at home. It's not the healthiest of desserts (I promise there is fruit somewhere in all that cream!), but the airy consistency makes for a perfect summertime dessert. Oh, and bonus, it's gluten-free! Mr. RC thinks it should be a requirement to make this dessert at least once a month, and since I have a lot of years sans boccone dolce to make up for, this Italian kind of has to agree!
P.S. This would also look really pretty topped off with a few of these!
4 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon of salt
3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
6 tablespoons of Grand Marnier
3/4 cups slivered almonds (approximately)
2 cups sliced strawberries (approximately)
Begin by preheating your oven to 250 degrees. Then, line 2 baking sheets (or 1 large sheet and 1 small sheet) with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, begin beating the egg whites on medium-high speed. Once they begin to stiffen up, add the salt and granulated sugar. Continue beating for several more minutes, until stiff peaks form.
On the baking sheet spread the egg whites out evenly into 3 circles. Each circle will be about 1/4 inch thick and about 8" in diameter, give or take. Once you have the circles spread out, place them in the oven for 45-60 minutes. They should turn a nice golden brown color and be slightly sticky yet crunchy to the touch. Remove the pan from the oven and set aside to cool.
Back in your mixing bowl (which should be nice and clean again), begin whipping the cream. Once soft peaks begin to form, add in the sugar and Grand Marnier. Beat for just a few seconds longer, until everything is incorporated.
Once the egg white rounds have cooled, begin assembling your "cake". On a serving dish place your first round. Add on a layer of whipped cream (about 1 cup), then sprinkle with almonds and finish with a layer of sliced strawberries. Repeat with the next layer. Frost the entire cake with whipped cream.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Wrap leftovers in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.
The original recipe does not call for Grand Marnier, so feel free to leave it out.
Although I have not tried it, I think it would be delicious to do this with Amaretto liquor in the whipped cream with peaches for the fruit, or lavender whipped cream and raspberries, and, for the Fourth of July, a mix of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries.
This can also be made sans nuts (for those with nut allergies).