boccone dolce

DSC_6526Papa Haydn is a dessert-centric restaurant in Portland that serves amazing cakes all the way ’til midnight on most days. Thank goodness I don’t live in Portland because I’m pretty sure the only thing keeping me from gaining 15 lbs a year is the fact that bakeries in the Suburbs of Silicon Valley all close in the late afternoon, well before that 9 pm daily cake craving hits. But when in Rome, do as the Romans do; we visited the city a few months ago, and per a friend’s recommendation the three of us came by at 11:30 pm to get three slices of cake. Normal!!!!

We got slices of berry cheesecake, baked Alaska, and boccone dolce, the latter of which was obviously the star of the show. I inhaled that large slice of cloudy meringue, barely distinguishable from the fresh whipped cream. The texture of the berries and chocolate added just enough without taking away from the fluffy, airy cake base.

DSC_6546One of the major perks of this recipe is that the sweetness can be adjusted to taste in both the meringue and the whipped cream.

Modified from:
Natasha’s Kitchen
Makes a 6″ cake, about 6″ tall. Serves 4 moderately.
Assemble the cake right before serving, if possible.
You need:
1 large bowl
Egg beater, flat spatula, Ziploc or pastry bag
1 baking sheet lined with parchment paper
2 large egg whites (or 4 T liquid egg whites)
1/3 c granulated sugar
1/4 c chocolate chips
3/4 c mixed berries (raspberries, strawberries, blueberries), cut to similar sizes
1/2 c heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 T powdered sugar

DSC_6472DSC_6476DSC_6480DSC_6495Begin whisking 2 egg whites with an egg beater. Add in 1/3 c sugar in a slow, steady stream, pausing occasionally to allow the sugar to fully combine with the meringue. (This is so your meringue won’t weep!) When all the sugar has been added, continue whisking until meringue forms stiff peaks.

Preheat oven to 220 deg F. Using a spoon or spatula, drop meringue into three similarly sized blobs on your baking sheet, at least 7″ apart. Use your flat spatula to slowly press and spread the meringue into flat disks approximately 6″ in diameter and 1/2″ thick, using small back and forth motions like frosting a cake. Bake for 2.5-3 hours, until meringues are evenly light brown (like a milky latte). Keep in oven for an additional hour or overnight to dry out completely.

In the mean time, melt 1/4 c chocolate chips in the microwave (mix often, don’t overheat) and fill a pastry bag or Ziploc bag with the warm, melted chocolate. Cut a small opening and doodle loops and lines continuously to make a criss-cross pattern of chocolate about 6″ in diameter. Make three of these, then refrigerate.

On the day of consumption, make your whipped cream. Use a hand mixer to begin whisking cold 1/2 c heavy whipping cream. When cream becomes just foamy, add 1 1/2 T powdered sugar. Continue to whisk to stiff peaks.

Ready for assembly! On your serving plate, plate a small amount of whipped cream on the plate to stabilize the first meringue layer. Press down with the meringue to secure. Dollop about 1/3 of your remaining whipped cream onto the center of the first meringue layer, spread with a spatula just to the edge of the meringue. Top with 1/4 c berries, then a chocolate “wafer”. On top of the chocolate, place a little bit of whipped cream to secure the next layer of meringue. Repeat whipped cream, berries, chocolate two more times with the last layer.

Serve immediately – the meringue layers will become soggy and chewy in the refrigerator.


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