As a fruit lover and the wife of a man who has a worrying addiction to cream, I felt I had to share this yummy but very easy summer recipe. Tortine fredde allo yoghurt e frutta take me back to my university years, when I would be stubborn about taking my exams in the July session to make sure as few as possible were left for September. Universities in Italy work slightly differently to those in the UK, but suffice to say you can choose when to take your exams from a number of sessions available during the year.
It would be fine to take exams in July if it were not for the 35-40˚C heat that delights people in Naples during the summer. No matter how early I would wake up to revise, it would always be too hot. At the time we did not even have air conditioning installed at home. The house felt like an oven and I was grumpy as hell. The heat, the revision, the stickiness, and the desire to go to the beach and swim… But what on earth has this got to do with recipes – and today’s in particular?
I bet you already worked it out. My super mamma would try all she could to make things easier for me. As always she spoilt me by making all my favourite meals – and these tortine allo yoghurt e frutta were what she came up with one afternoon when I felt really down.
What can I say? They became my afternoon delight: something to look forward to every day, towards 5pm. It was still rather hot, but I would be approaching the end of my daily revision and in need of a sugar boost. They were just the perfect treat: cold from the fridge, with some gorgeous fruit from our own garden and the guilty pleasure of cream. I remember I used to sit on the terrace with my mum and just forget about my approaching exam. It was a life-saving break and the right boost for the final sprint.
Tortine fredde allo yoghurt e frutta could be compared to mini cheesecakes, but the use of yoghurt instead of cream cheese makes them so very light and less heavy on the calories. They are, however, as easy to make as cheesecakes and I can assure you that they give just as much pleasure to the palate.
During my recovery time from surgery recently I made them for my friend Sonia, who absolutely loved them. They are elegant and pretty to look at – maybe too pretty – and are a very nice way to end an evening with friends.
When I came back last week, my husband George hugged me first and shortly after casually asked: “So… those tortine I saw in your pictures? When are you making them for me?!” Haha! Cheeky monkey. We are definitely going to make them together as they are really easy – and quite fun – to make.
Sometimes it takes very little to cheer someone up or give them the boost they need to carry on. These tortine will always remind me of the love, support and understanding my mum showed me during those days when revising for an exam in torrid heat just felt like too much.
Do I miss my uni years? You know what? Nope. After all – I’ve still got my tortine allo yoghurt e frutta! :-p
Makes at least 6 tortine (depending on the glass/container you use to serve)
- 250g dry biscuits
- 150g unsalted butter
- 300g yoghurt (your favourite flavour. Mine is peach)
- 300g cold whipping cream
- fruit (again, your choice. For the tortine pictured above, I used 4 yellow plums, but strawberries and other berries are great, too)
- 3 tablespoons of black cherry syrup (you could use strawberry syrup; anything similar will work)
- A bunch of cherries or strawberries or other berries (get creative!)
- Extra crumbled biscuits for the topping (just as another option)
In a mixer add the biscuits and reduce to very fine crumbs. Transfer to a bowl.
Add the butter to a little saucepan and melt on medium heat.
Pour the butter over the crumbs and stir well until all crumbs have been coated.
In your chosen container (it could be a dessert glass with a flat bottom, as these mini cakes are not meant to be taken out) add about a tablespoon or two of biscuits as a base and flatten it with a tablespoon. It is up to you to decide how thick you want the base to be!
Fill the other glasses until you run out of biscuit base, transferring each to the fridge as you go. They will need to stay in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a bowl pour the whipping cream straight from the fridge. Whip until firm, but not too firm. Pour in the yoghurt and incorporate it evenly with the cream.
At this stage there are some optional steps you can take. Add some extra pieces of fruit to the filling or some crumbled biscuits. These are just ideas – it’s up to you.
Take the glasses out of the fridge. Pour in a tablespoon or two of the yoghurt and cream mixture. The depth depends on your taste. I’ve always believed the depth of the biscuit and the amount of cream is a very personal thing.
Once you’ve filled up all the glasses, decorate with the fruit of your choice and add some fruit syrup. Place in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
These tortine fredde allo yoghurt e frutta are great to treat yourself on a warm summer evening. They can be a nice post-lunch treat, too! They keep well in the fridge for 2-3 days. But it is unlikely they will last for that long.
Isn’t summer amazing?