Italian Chocolate Loaf

An unusual dessert which requires no cooking, Italian Chocolate Loaf combines creaminess and crispness in one dish. Its rich flavour is best complemented by lashings of whipped cream.2 tablespoons vegetable oil 8 oz. dark cooking chocolate, broken into small pieces

2 fl. oz. dark rum

8 oz. unsalted butter, softened

4 oz. sugar

2 eggs, separated

6 oz. ground almonds

½ teaspoon salt

4 oz. small macaroons, crushed

2 tablespoons icing sugar

Line a 3-pound loaf tin with greaseproof or waxed paper, leaving some of the paper overlapping the tin. With a pastry brush, lightly coat the paper with the vegetable oil and stand it upside-down on kitchen paper towels to drain.

In a small, heavy saucepan, melt the chocolate over low heat, stirring constantly. Stir in the rum. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together with a wooden spoon. When the mixture is smooth and light, gradually beat in the egg yolks, almonds and chocolate.

In a second bowl, beat the egg whites and salt with a wire whisk or rotary beater until they form stiff peaks. With a metal spoon, carefully fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Fold in the macaroons.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, spreading it out evenly with a knife. Cover the tin with aluminium foil and place it in the refrigerator to chill for 5 hours, or until the loaf is firm.

To unmould the loaf, loosen the sides with a knife and quickly dip the bottom of the tin into hot water. Place a serving plate, inverted, over the tin and, holding them firmly together, reverse them. The loaf should slide out easily. Remove the paper.

Just before serving, sprinkle the icing sugar over the loaf and slice it thinly.

Italian Meat Loaf

This tasty meat loaf is good to serve for a summer lunch or supper, or to take on picnics. It may also be served hot with a well-flavoured tomato sauce.

1 teaspoon butter

2 oz. fresh white breadcrumbs

2 eggs

1 large onion, grated

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 ½ lb. minced beef

8 oz. pork sausage meat

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 celery stalk, finely chopped

2 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated

2 oz. tomato puree

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat the oven to moderate 350°F (Gas Mark 4, 180°C).

Using the teaspoon of butter, lightly grease a 2-pound loaf tin. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, eggs, onion, garlic, beef, pork sausage meat, parsley, oregano, celery, cheese, tomato puree, salt and pepper with a fork or your hands. Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly and press the mixture into the greased loaf tin.

Place the tin in the oven and bake for 1 hour.

Remove the tin from the oven and allow the loaf to cool in the tin.

When the loaf is cold, run a knife round the edge and turn it out.

Cover the loaf with aluminium foil or greaseproof or waxed paper and chill it in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve it.

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