Carnival is in the Air (again)

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Fasnachtskiechli or merveilles de carnaval

Around here in Basel, Alsace and Baden, Fasnacht or carnaval or Fasching (it all depends which country you’re in) is a big deal. You can tell carnival’s in the air when the houses sprout jolly carnivalesque figures on their roofs, and those gorgeous sugar-dusted, deep-fried wonders called Fasnachtskiechli or merveilles de Carnaval start popping up in the shops.

Food during this season is famously calorie-laden – it’s midwinter here and we’ve had zero temperatures for weeks, along with endless grey skies😦. Besides, you need to build up strength for the rigours of Lent ahead – at least that was traditionally the rationale for all those deep-fried, deeply fattening foods.

2-IMG_0580-001The naughty torte featured here is no exception to the calorific order of the day. It’s super-speedy and ultra-simple – all you do is lay one of those fragile, sugar-dusted wonders in the bottom of a springform tin, arrange scoops of coffee (or other) ice cream on top,  slather them with whipped cream into which you’ve crumbled some more Fasnachtskiechli (or crushed amaretti or Brunsli) and top with a second Fasnachtskiechli…da da. A drizzle of dark choccy sauce doesn’t go amiss either. Brilliant for when you get guests at short notice, and it keeps beautifully in the freezer.

FASNACHTSKIECHLI TORTE WITH ICE CREAM AND CHOCOLATE SAUCE

Serves 6-8
4 Fasnachtskiechli (the pack contains 6)
about 1.5 litres ice cream (coffee, caramel salé etc.)
250ml whipping cream (Schlagrahm/crème fraîche liquide)
100g dark chocolate
200ml water
50g sugar

Take a springform tin a bit larger in diameter than the Fasnachtskiechli, line with baking paper and lay one Kiechli in the bottom. Arrange scoops of ice cream close together to completely cover:

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Put in the freezer to firm up again while you whip the cream until it forms stiff peaks. Crumble in two more Fasnachtskiechli and fold them in carefully.

1-IMG_0583Spread the cream over the ice cream, lay the second Fasnachtskiechli on top and press it down as firmly as you dare, to snuggle it into the cream layer. Return the torte to the freezer.

For the chocolate sauce, break up the chocolate, put it in a pan with the water and the sugar and let it melt/dissolve over gentle heat. Raise the heat, bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes or until sauce is glossy and somewhat thickened, then let it cool.

Just before serving, release the torte from the springform, lift it off the baking paper and set the torte on your best plate. To serve, pour a puddle of sauce onto serving plates, cut slices of torte and lay them on top, drizzle with a little more choccy sauce and settle down in a corner to enjoy your own private carnival of flavours.

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