This post goes out to our Italian sweetheart Claudia and her many friends at What’s Cooking Italian Style where you will always find glorious recipes, warm family values and a whole lot of love.
As mentioned before, our family tree has no Italian roots as far as I know. And, as stated earlier, that doesn’t mean our family didn’t cook the foods from Italy or at least what we thought was Italian in nature. Maybe not real Italian cookery, but close enough for us. Spaghetti with a thick red meat sauce made from cans of store-bought tomato sauce and fresh ground beef, baked chicken with a Venetian lemon sauce, fried pork chops smothered in tomatoes & basil, veal cutlets in wine and of course, lasagna with a sauce pretty much the same as the spaghetti. All Italian, right?
When I sat out to find a tribute for Claudia, my first thought was to avoid her area of expertise since there are no Italian leaves falling from our tree. Then I thought of the sweets mentioned above lovingly made by my family and of the recipes unknowingly having hints of Italian influence. That’s when I remembered this one from Aunt Ida; a frozen dessert that follows a resemblance to Tortoni. It contains both the whipped egg white and cream mousse uninhibited by gravity, tastes of almond with chewy nutty bits and frozen as ice cream snuggled with crunchy essence of macaroons. Aunt Ida made hers with bourbon and pecans; I changed the recipe for Claudia and used brandy. Think of it as a 'melt-in-your-mouth' southern Tortoni if you please. Enjoy!
Aunt Ida's Almond Coconut Frozen Fluff
1/4 cup chopped pecans or almonds
1/4 cup flaked coconut
Almond biscuit or vanilla wafer crumbs
6 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 to 2 tablespoons bourbon, brandy or dark rum
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 drops walnut or almond extract (depending on the alcohol)
1 cup whipping cream
1 egg white
4 maraschino cherries, chopped and drained
Spread a teaspoon of biscuit crumbs in the bottom of 6 paper cupcake liners and set liners in a muffin tin.
Whip the cream until fluffy, fold in 4 tablespoons sugar, brandy, vanilla and almond extracts.
Beat the egg white to soft peak stage; add 2 tablespoons sugar and beat stiff. Fold the cream mixture into this followed with the almond and coconut reserving about a tablespoon to sprinkle on top of the servings.
Mound the mixture into the liners, sprinkle with the reserved almond and coconut. Add a few cherry bits on top of each and place tin into the freezer for several hours. Serve frozen.
Note: May be prepared and frozen several days in advance.