Yes, yesterday it was my birthday (I'm going towards the 30)! And, while someone claims that the making of his own birthday cake is bad luck (but why?) or simply is not very nice, I have a certain compulsion ("another one?", you'd say) not only in preparing the dessert, but the whole dinner for a party in my honor!

Am I stupid?! Maybe.

Do I love cooking too much?! For sure!

On my birthday, however, traditionally I don't cook, my boyfriend takes me out for dinner (preferably in a surprise restaurant, and this year we ate Piedmontese in a very nice restaurant… awesome) and I buy a nice dessert from my favorite ice-cream maker and/or pastry chef (yesterday I chose two little semifreddo cake, a yogurt-soft fruit one and a three chocolates one), what the heck!

But, for all other parties (and, believe me, my agenda is really full) I MUST (i's a primordial need) prepare something, the whole dinner or just the dessert. But it's July, so I don't like to stay near the oven (although yesterday it seemed autumn … in hindsight I could have used the oven) … last year I decided to make a tarte tatin and, later, near the oven, I decided that dying would have been a better choice! In short, this year, aided by the loan of an ice cream machine and the consequent desire to experiment, I will present you two cold dessert. Actually, they can't be colder… ICE CREAM!
PS: the ice cream maker IS NOT ESSENTIAL, though!

And, for my first birthday dinner (but I'll remake it, especially now that I tasted it) I tried an "industrial" production: I tried to make a classic Viennetta, according to the recipe found on Misya. But I made a few changes: I didn't put hazelnuts inside the Viennetta (to be faithful to the original) and I used Nutella instead of dark chocolate, to made it even more tempting .. Next time, however, I'll use melted chocolate or chocolate sheets, to make it crunchier (Nutella ice, but doesn't begin crunchy, you know) and maybe I'll use Nutella to garnish… So I won't miss anything! Obviously, the other change is the ice cream maker, but I'll explain both procedure, with and without it!

Ingredients (for a 22×9 cm plum cake mold, 5 cm deep. 4-6 servings, depending on what you'll eat before this dessert and if you're greedy or not)

* 250 ml heavy whipping cream

* 3 egg whites

* 50 g powdered sugar + 1 teaspoon

* 0,5 g vanillin

* 150 g Nutella (the original recipe required dark chocolate, but you can use milk chocolate, too). Obviously you can increase these doses.

* finely chopped hazelnuts (optional. I used it only to garnish, and not inside)


In a bowl beat the egg whites until very stiff and then add the powdered sugar and vanillin. In another bowl, whip the cream with a spoonful of sugar. Now add the egg whites to the whipped cream, stirring from the bottom up, not to deflate the mixture.

If you chose the melted chocolate middle layer, melt the chocolate in a bain marie and, in the meantime, put the mixture in the refrigerator. If you chose the Nutella middle layer, there won't be waiting time, but take care that Nutella is at room temperature and real creamy, so it's easy to use. If you have an ice cream maker, put the mixture in it while you melt the chocolate, or before spreading the Nutella, and let it run for 10 to 20 minutes, so that your cream will become more… creamy.

Now spread a third of the cream in the mold. Above this first layer spread the melted chocolate (or the Nutella), making it fall from a fork or a teaspoon; if you want to, add some chopped hazelnuts (I used it only to garnish). Put in the freezer for 2 to 3 minutes so that the chocolate hardens. Then proceed the same way, until you have 3 layers of cream and 2 intermediate layers of chocolate (and hazelnuts, if you want): in short, in the order cream-chocolate-cream-chocolate-cream.

Then put the mold in the freezer for at least 3 hours (I prepared it the day before, and it was perfect). A few minutes before serving, pull your Viennetta out of the freezer and cut the edges of your dessert with a knife; then turn the Viennetta upside down on a serving platter. Garnish as you wish (chocolate, hazelnuts, meringue … follow your dreams) and enjoy it cold.

It's not just me, but this is a thousand times better than the original Viennetta: this has a pleasant vanilla flavor, but it taste of cream.

Next time I'll try a crunchy intermediate layer (made with chocolate or cookies, or something else … who knows), but Nutella is always a great choice!

PS: Obviously you can use the egg yolks for another recipe: for some meliga pastries, for a custard (to make a chantilly cream, perfect for a mille-feuille) or for catalan cream.

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