Author Patricia V. Davis is writing a trilogy set on the Queen Mary1, the retired ocean liner moored in the harbor of Long Beach, CA. In anticipation of the first book of The Secret Spice Cafe Trilogy2, titled Cooking for Ghosts and Lost Lovers, Patricia has launched a contest that runs until August 15. The idea is to prepare a personal interpretation of one of two dishes that appear in the book: Cristiano's Spiced Shrimp Rohini or Angela's Raspberry Chocolate Truffle Tarts.
I thought about various ways of deconstructing the dessert and created this recipe. If I were the pastry chef at the Secret Spice Cafe, this would be my raspberry chocolate specialty, something rather surprising — though knowing that I am Italian, the guests would understand.
The dessert is composed of four elements:
- cocoa tagliatelle
- ricotta, which I make at home3
- raspberry coulis
- chocolate sauce
The recipe makes two portions.
Ingredients for the cocoa pasta:
- 1 tablespoon / 7 g unsweetened cocoa (cacao amaro)
- 80 g all-purpose flour + more as needed
- 1 large egg (no less than 2.2 ounces / 62 g)
Ingredients for the raspberry coulis (see Note #1 below):
- 12 ounces / 340 g fresh raspberries
- 1 tablespoon / 12 g ultra-fine or granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon / 5 ml fresh lemon juice
Ingredients for the chocolate sauce (see Note #2 below):
- 75 ml heavy whipping cream
- 50 ml non-fat milk
- 3 tablespoons / 1 1/2 ounces / 42 g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 4 ounces / 115 g good quality chocolate 70%, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon / 2.5 ml vanilla extract
- 1/16 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 70 g / 2 1/2 ounces fresh ricotta, possibly homemade
Important: I listed the ingredients and provided the instructions following the order of the recipe name. However, both the raspberry coulis and the chocolate sauce can be prepared before the pasta and refrigerated until ready to use.
Note #1: these quantities make more than necessary for the pasta and you can halve them. My thought is that, since you are going through the effort of straining the puréed raspberries to obtain a smooth sauce, you may as well make a nice batch. You will certainly find ways of using it.
Note #2: these quantities make more than necessary for the pasta. However, the sauce keeps in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 weeks and you can find ways of using it within that time. This chocolate sauce was derived from a recipe by David Lebovitz4.
How to make the cocoa tagliatelle
Weigh the flour and cocoa in a bowl and stir them with a metal whisk until the cocoa is well dispersed, then add the egg and mix into a cohesive dough, first with a fork and then with your hands.
Empty the bowl onto a kneading board (scraping the container well) and start kneading the dough with your hands.
Add a bit more flour if needed to obtain a dough that is not sticky, but should not feel hard when kneaded. Knead for 8-10 minutes, folding the dough on itself towards you and pushing it away from you with the heels of your hands in a fluid motion that should feel relaxed and meditative. Cover well (e.g., wrapped in plastic film), and let rest for about an hour.
Cut the dough into 2 equal pieces, flatten both with a rolling pin and then roll with a pasta machine until you are down to the last but one notch. Sprinkle the dough with all-purpose flour as needed to prevent sticking.
Let the rolled dough rest for a short while. Sprinkle the dough with a bit of all-purpose flour, then cut each piece into tagliatelle (long strips that are 1/4-inch / 6 mm wide) with the machine attachment or by hand. In the latter case, fold a 3-inch strip of pasta lengthwise away from you. Continue to fold the strip until the entire pasta sheet is folded into a flattened roll. With a sharp knife, cut across the flattened roll. Immediately unfold the cut tagliatelle.
Lay out the tagliatelle in such a way that they don’t stick to each other until you are ready to cook them.
How to make the raspberry coulis
Place raspberries in a bowl and add and sugar. Stir well and let sit for half an hour or so. Process the raspberries briefly with an immersion blender. Press through a fine-mesh strainer, using a spatula to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard seeds.
In a saucepan, bring raspberry sauce to a simmer and maintain for 8 minutes or so to reduce it. Remove from the heat, let cool a bit, then add the lemon juice and stir well.
Can be prepared in advance, and, once cooled, refrigerated in a lidded container.
How to make the chocolate sauce
In a small saucepan, warm up the cream, milk and butter until the fluid begins to steam.
Remove the pan from the heat and add the chocolate, vanilla, and salt, stirring until the chocolate is melted and the sauce is smooth. It will take a little while, so be patient and keep stirring. The chocolate aroma will make this a pleasant task.
Can be prepared in advance. Once the sauce reaches room temperature, pour it in a glass jar, place the lid on and store in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 weeks. Warm up the amount of the sauce you need by putting it in a jar or ramekin and placing it in a pan of very hot water.
How to cook and dress the cocoa tagliatelle
Bring a small pot of water to a rolling boil. Since the pasta takes only a short time to cook, prepare the sauces just before tossing it into the boiling water.
Place 1 1/2 tablespoons / 22.5 ml of chocolate sauce in a ramekin and gently heat until the sauce melts. I do this by heating up in a small saucepan enough water so that I can immerse the ramekin in it without having the water come up its rim. Immerse the ramekin in the water and remove the pan from the heat. Stir as the sauce melts.
Place 3 tablespoons / 45 ml of raspberry coulis in a ramekin and gently heat to lukewarm. I do this in the microwave set to defrost checking often.
Prepare the ricotta as the water comes to a boil. I like to think about this dessert as shared by a couple and given that it is eaten warm, I dress it and toss it in a serving bowl, then plate it and serve immediately. Put the ricotta in a bowl and mash it with a fork to make a cream. If it is on the dry side, add to it a teaspoon or so of the pasta cooking water.
Add some coarse salt to the boiling water, stir and then toss the tagliatelle in it. Bring water back to boiling and keep it there. The time needed to cook the tagliatelle is only a few minutes, so don’t wander away.
When the pasta is ready, remove from the heat, pour a glass of cold water in the pot, stir and then drain the pasta, leaving a bit of water clinging to it. Toss pasta and ricotta. For the presentation, arrange pasta in a nest shape, pour raspberry sauce in the center, then make a ribbon all around it with the chocolate sauce. Toss well before serving.
If you prefer, divide the ricotta into two bowls and proceed as above, but diving the ingredients between the two bowls and repeating the steps for each one.
I enjoyed making pasta with cocoa, and you will see another version in the next post: stay tuned.
As mentioned at the beginning, this recipe was inspired by, and developed for, the recipe contest organized by Patricia V. Davis. The contest is open until August 15. Details are available on the Secret Spice Cafe's Facebook page.
1 Wikipedia: The Queen Mary
2 Cooking for Ghosts and Lost Lovers web page
3 One of the posts in which I talk about making ricotta
4 Recipe for Salted Butter Chocolate Sauce by David Lebovitz
Click on the button to hear me pronounce the Italian words mentioned in the post:
or launch the tagliatelle al cacao con ricotta, salsa di lamponi e salsa di cioccolato audio file [mp3].
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