Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Chocolate, hazelnut and crushed meringue ice cream terrine

Sometimes, you want a dessert that’s rich, smooth, chocolaty, nutty, creamy, luscious and crunchy all at the same time.

You want a frozen dessert that’s more than ice cream; that’s far easier than regular ice cream; that’s more decadent yet lighter than ice cream.

A no-churn ice cream that’s flavored with coffee liqueur and vanilla, that includes crushed meringues, with finely ground hazelnuts folded in the mixture and layers of melted dark chocolate swirled through it, and drizzled with a dark chocolate magic shell that hardens when it hits the ice cream and becomes so very irresistible.

Enter the ice cream terrine, which actually reminds me a bit of Viennetta. It’s luscious, with a smooth flavor and creamy texture, almost like a semifreddo or a parfait but far lighter as it doesn’t contain any eggs.

The coffee liqueur and the vanilla bring their wonderful aroma and taste, while the finely ground hazelnuts and crushed meringues add crunchiness and their unique flavor notes. The melted dark chocolate that’s swirled through the mixture creates layers that have the texture of a soft biscuit or brownie that’s incredible and makes for a delicious surprise when you bite into the terrine.

The magic shell that’s poured on top adds a crispy texture and gives even more chocolate flavor —which you can never have enough of in my book— and the berries served on the side bring freshness and lighten up the dessert which, admittedly, is quite rich, but if eaten in thin slices is just perfect.

Chocolate, hazelnut and crushed meringue ice cream terrine

Use meringues of the crispy kind, not the chewy ones.
You could use flavored meringues instead of plain ones if you’d like; I would suggest mocha, coffee or caramel as they work great with the rest of the ingredients.

Yield: 12 slices

100 g good quality dark chocolate (55-60%), chopped
400 ml cream, full-fat (35%), cold
85-100 g ready-made, crispy meringues, crushed but leave some smaller pieces to add texture
1 Tbsp coffee liqueur
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
60 g finely ground blanched hazelnuts
Pinch of fine sea salt

for the magic shell
50 g good quality dark chocolate (55-60%), chopped
25 g extra virgin coconut oil

Fresh berries or cherries (depending on the season you’re making this in), to decorate

Special equipment: hand-held electric mixer, loaf pan (23 x 9 x 8 cm), plastic wrap

Take your loaf pan and line the bottom and sides with plastic wrap. There needs to be an overhang on all four sides as you’ll have to cover the ice cream terrine completely with it.

Put the chocolate in a small bowl and melt it in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water (bain-marie) or in the microwave, being careful not to burn it. Then leave to cool to room temperature, stirring from time to time.

In a large bowl, add the cold cream and beat on medium-high speed until thick but still fluffy and soft. Add the crushed meringues, finely chopped hazelnuts, coffee liqueur, vanilla extract and salt and fold them in the whipped cream with a soft spatula, being careful not to deflate it.

Add half of this mixture to the prepared loaf pan and use the spatula or the back of a spoon to smooth the top. Pour half of the melted and cooled chocolate along the center and use a skewer or the handle of a spoon to swirl it in. Don’t overdo it but make sure to cover the whole surface of the mixture so there’s chocolate all over, not only at the center of the ice cream terrine.

Then, add on top the rest of the whipped cream mixture and smooth the top. Pour the rest of the chocolate and swirl it in again.

Then, smooth the top and cover with the overhanging plastic wrap, tapping it gently onto the ice cream to get a proper seal but without squeezing the mixture.
Wrap the loaf pan all around with more plastic wrap and place it in your freezer for at least 8 hours but preferably overnight.

for the magic shell
Place the chocolate and coconut oil in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water (bain-marie) and melt, stirring often. Alternatively, you can melt them in the microwave. Allow to cool slightly before drizzling over the ice cream. It takes 30-50 seconds to harden once it hits the ice cream.

The next day, before you want to serve it, remove the ice cream from the loaf pan by lifting it up from the plastic wrap. Unwrap it and invert it onto a plate. Drizzle with the magic shell and decorate with fresh berries, cherries etc.
You may want to leave it for about 20 minutes in order to soften a bit before you cut it.
Serve sliced with berries on the side.

You can keep it in your freezer, wrapped with the plastic wrap for 4-5 days.