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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Dark Chocolate Sformato


Looking for a special Valentine's dessert?  This one is a winner.

Sformato is an Italian dish that resembles a baked custard. It can be sweet or savory. I've made mine bittersweet by using dark chocolate and replacing a large amount of sugar with a small amount of honey.

Because it's flourless, this sformato is almost free of refined carbohydrates. The dark chocolate contains a small amount of sugar but it also adds compounds shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke and cancer.

You can serve it 30 minutes out of the oven or make it ahead and serve it at room temperature. Either way, you'll have no complaints.

12 oz, dark chocolate 72% or darker
2 cups organic whole milk
1 packet gelatin
Pinch sea salt
4 eggs 
1/4 cup honey
Organic butter to grease the baking dish

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Coat a 9" by 7" baking dish with butter and set it aside. 

Prepare a saucepan with a couple inches of slowly simmering water. 

Add the dark chocolate to a large stainless steel or glass bowl and place it over the saucepan. Cover the bowl and warm it over low heat just until melted.

While the chocolate melts, add the cold milk to a saucepan and whisk in the gelatin and sea salt. Warm the mixture over low heat. Do not boil the milk mixture.

Once the milk mixture is hot, mix up the eggs in a blender. Continue blending while you add the warm milk mixture, slowly so you don't scramble the eggs. Add the honey and blend until thoroughly combined.

(You can do this step without a blender, but if you whisk it by hand, strain it through a fine mesh sieve afterward to ensure a smooth final product.)

Once the chocolate has just melted, turn off the heat. Transfer the bowl to a heat-proof surface (a folded kitchen towel on the counter top works well and the moisture on the bottom of the bowl prevents it from slipping). Whisk the melted chocolate while you pour in the milk and egg mixture until it is smooth and consistent.

Transfer the chocolate mixture to the prepared baking dish. Bake for about 50 minutes, until the center is just set. Take it out of the oven and cool for at least 30 minutes or to room temperature.

To serve, spoon the sformato onto individual plates.

(If you want picture-perfect squares, chill it before you cut it. Freshly out of the fridge, cut the sformato into squares and transfer them to plates while cold. Allow them to come to room temperature before serving. If you plate the sformato before the meal, it will be ready to eat by the time you're ready for dessert.)

If desired, garnish with one of the following:
  • A spoonful of freshly whipped unsweetened organic cream
  • Sliced raw almonds 
  • Unsweetened shredded coconut
  • Fresh berries

    1 comment:

    Anonymous said...

    This is mouthwatering! I love the idea of being able to make dessert ahead of time, too.