The desert above is another of my childhood favorites.
I’m on a roll with these memories guys - I cannot seem to stop them.
This time, the recipe is not from my grandmother’s or my mother’s but, from another important person in my life while growing up – my nanny, Maria.
Just like any country, Venezuela has its share of local desserts that are very uncommonly found anywhere else but there. And this “cake” or “torte” is precisely that. Even after all of my travels I have yet to find something like this.
It’s a simple and quick dessert to make. Its main star is the ‘Galletas Maria’, or the Maria biscuit as they were originally called. Created by an English bakery Peek Freans in London in 1874 to commemorate the marriage of the Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia to the Duke of Edinburgh. It became popular throughout Europe, particularly in Spain where, following the Spanish Civil War, the biscuit became a symbol of Spain’s economic recovery after bakeries produced mass quantities to consume a surplus of wheat. Today, these biscuits are the most popular in all of the latin countries around the world.
The best part of this torte is that there is no cooking involved, and if constructed just right can be a showpiece in any fancy table.
I never did write down the recipe for this, but since I been reminiscing for the past week and remembering all of my childhood favorites, this came to mind. A quick Google search came back with tons of variations, but not necessary the variation that my nanny Maria made. So I decided to pull all the stops and bring forth every single memory that I had and bits by bits recalled all of the ingredients that she used. I’m happy to report that sitting in my refrigerator is the exact duplicate of this childhood snack
I’m not going to lie; this dessert is rich, and very sweet, I already have a couple of ideas how to tone down the sweetness factor, but for now, every bite takes me back to our outdoor porch, where we will sit after coming back from school to have a “merienda” with this torte before we would be off to play
In times like this I would like to be a kid again.
GALLETAS MARIA TORTE
- 2 packages of Galletas Maria
- 1 can of sweetened condensed milk
- 2 sticks of unsalted butter (at room temperature)
- 8 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate (60% cacao) chopped
- 1 cup of milk, divided (or better if you have heavy cream use that)
- 1 tablespoon of rum
In a bowl, mix the soften butter and sweetened condense milk until is nice and smooth and comes together almost like a pudding consistency.
Bring ½ of cup of milk (or cream) to a simmer in by using the microwave. Pour the hot liquid into the chopped chocolate and whisk until smooth.
Prepare the soaking milk, by using the rest of the milk and pouring the rum in a shallow bowl – you will be using it to dunk the biscuits.
Line a loaf pan or cake tin with a large piece of glad wrap/cling film so that there is an over hang on all sides. Starting with the melted chocolate covered the bottom, then dunk each biscuit in the milk/rum liquid and place them on top, covering the chocolate. Next up do a layer of the whipped butter cream, and follow by covering with another layer of soaked milk biscuits. Continue on until you end with chocolate on top.
Fold the overhanging glad wrap over the cake. Using your palms, gently press down to compact everything. Refrigerate for 3 hours or till the cake is set. I highly recommend leaving it for 24 hours.
When you are ready to serve, you pull on the plastic wrap to take out of the mold can turn the whole thing into a platter. Cut carefully with a sharp knifed dipped in hot water.
You can also cover the side of the pans with the melted chocolate (you will need to use another 8 ounces if you want to completely over the whole thing), but I like the exposed sides, I do cut all around to even it out and make it perfectly even sides.
Next time I may use only half of the can of the sweetened condensed milk to bring down the sweet factor, but the semisweet chocolate does a wonderful job in balancing it out, so I would taste my beaten butter until I get the right sweet taste on it.