We're having friends over for a formal sit-down dinner. The menu's homemade pasta, lamb with garlic, and sides. We need a killer chocolate dessert. Any thoughts? Brian from St. Paul,MN
This dessert will knock their socks off. Picture the plushest, richest hot chocolate you've ever put to your lips. Serve it in little cups alongside martini glasses of vanilla ice cream piled with whipped cream. The idea is you take a spoon of cold ice cream and a sip of hot chocolate.The chocolate nips with bittersweet and spice, while the ice cream plays perfect foil. You can do the recipe days ahead. You can even freeze it.
The historian in me loves the fact that this hot chocolate comes from the Bologna court of the Duke of Bentivoglio in the year of 1632. Don't you love new ideas!
The Duke's Hot Chocolate with Vanilla “Martinis”
Serves 8 to 10
2 4-inch cinnamon sticks, crushed
2 8-inch vanilla beans, slip lengthwise
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Zest of 1/2 medium orange
4 cups water
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped (Guittard unsweetened preferred)
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (Valrhona 71% bittersweet preferred)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 quart vanilla ice cream
1 cup cold heavy cream, whipped, sweetened to taste and chilled
1. In a 4 to 5-quart non-aluminum saucepan combine the cinnamon,
vanilla beans, salt, sugar, pepper, orange and water. Bring to a boil, cover,
simmer 5 minutes, and turn off the heat. Seep, still covered, for 15 minutes.
2. Strain liquid into a bowl and return to the saucepan. Set over
medium-low heat. Whisk in chocolates, keeping the liquid below a simmer.
Whisk constantly until smooth. Add the vanilla extract and cool. Turn into a
shallow, nonmetal container. Chill 24 hours to 1 week.
3. To serve, heat gently, whisking to froth. Keep warm as you place
a scoop of ice cream in each martini or wine glass. Top with a generous
dollop of cream. Pour hot chocolate into small cups and serve.