Today I made Cassata, because tonight I am going out to a friend's for dinner.
The friend is Emma, my ex-flatmate, and she was going to cook some food for another friend named Anke. Anke's Mutti is German. Anyway, Anke is living in barracks, which means she eats at the mess or she eats out so the offer of a home cooked meal was too good to resist.
Being a social butterfly, Emma didn't want to have dinner for two, and I was the next person to be invited. I was pencilled in for a movie/dinner/drinks with another friend on the weekend, so we arranged for the meal to be on Sunday night. I had caught the sight of a lovely looking dessert in my illustrated copy of the Edmond's Cookbook and thought this would be the perfect opportunity to try it out. "I'll bring dessert" I stated proudly.
The next time I saw Emma, I learned our good friend Macchi and her husband Mike were coming too, and they were bringing the cheese board. Emma was in more of a dilemma now - Macchi is pregnant and Emma had to ask lots of questions to find out what foods Macchi will eat. During the course of the day I discovered that Anke (who is supposed to be bringing the DVD's) hadn't replied to Emma's text messages. It will be a surprise to find out tonight if Anke will make it after all. By the way, I don't care what Macchi can eat. She'll either eat it or not. Tough luck if not.
Anyway, I started out by tidying the bench and putting all the ingredients across the front in the order that I would need them, wiping the bench perfectly clean and having a neat stack of implements nearby.
Then I took a litre of chocolate ice cream and mixed it up with half a teaspoon of vanilla essence before smoothing it out to line the bowl. It was still pretty soft so I put it in the freezer and made a mental note to try again when it was a little bit firmer.
Next I had to turn 300ml of runny cream into stiff whipped cream. I don't have a whip, or an egg beater so I decided to pour half out of the bottle and shake it like a Polaroid picture,then repeat the process with the second half. After a while I realised that dancing round the lounge to Bowie's Jean Genie was not conducive to detecting when the cream was suitably stiff in time, and I discovered I had made - not whipped cream - but butter. Mmmm.
It was off to the dairy and $2 later I had 300 more millilitres of cream. This time Bowie was paused and I listened carefully to make sure I didn't over do it. And this time I was successful. Bowie was permitted to move on to his next song - Sorrow.
Now it was time to chop! up 1/2 cup of dark chocolate, 1/2 cup of toasted almonds (replaced with silvered almonds) and 1 cup of glace fruit. Well no one likes plastic cherries, so I replaced that cup with half a cup of white macadamia chocolate, and half a cup of walnuts.
Then these all were folded into the cream - along with 2 Tablespoons of icing sugar. About this point I realised that while this batch of cream was not butter, it probably was a little too mixed. Never mind - it can't be helped now!
Now I take the ice cream out of the freezer, touch up the shape, and put the cream into the hollow. Yum. Edmond's said I should cover with foil and freeze again, but there is no foil left in the house because my flatmates did not buy any on the last shop. My fault for not going I suppose. Anyway, I just put it in the freezer without the foil. What're they gonna do, huh?
And this is what it is supposed to look like! But I won't find out how good mine is, or if it tastes nice until tonight. Maybe - if you're lucky - I'll let you know!