This Layered Dessert recipe is from one of the first pastry shops in my village. The shop itself has closed long ago but this recipe is so good that it has survived until now. And is going to have a long future with me and my family because it's incredibly delish!
My mother got the recipe from a friend of her's (from the family who owned the pastry shop) 20 something years ago and since then we always make this layered dessert at least once a year on a celebration (either Christmas like I did this year or on a name day etc...).
It's a very old fashioned dessert like the ones you see in the post-depression era. It's a version of Ekmek made with a chocolate layer.
The Layers & The Ingredients Used
In this recipe, syrup-soaked toast rusks are used as a base. Then a chocolate cream made with cocoa instead of chocolate is spread over them, a very creamy vanilla cream on top (that's made off Morfat and sweetened condensed milk), + plenty of crushed walnuts.
Morfat is a heavy cream substitute. It's skimmed milk with vegetable fat preserved in a can for long shelf life. You can search for it in a Greek food store or buy online.
But since finding Greek post-war ingredients like this may be a bit difficult or even expensive to buy online I'm going to give you a few alternatives that won't change the flavor of the final result noticeably.
Also instead of making the top cream using Morfat & sweetened condensed milk, you can use a thick, homemade whipped cream (see Vanilla Cream Version No 2 in the recipe below).
Now ideally, the Morfat version is the best as it yields the most creamy whipped cream but the homemade whipped cream will be equally good as well.
Plenty Of Servings...
This Layered Dessert is great to serve when you have to feed a crowd. It doesn't take long to make (although it ideally has to be refrigerated overnight) it's pretty easy and simple (no baking required), and yields plenty of portions.
I cut it into 20 large square pieces that you can easily break down to more. I just like to serve a big piece of it because it's that good that everyone loves it.
Another classic version of Ekmek. Made with Kataifi (shredded phyllo pastry), vanilla custard cream, fresh homemade whipped cream, nuts, and cinnamon. You won't be able to pick which one is the best!
Old-Fashioned Layered Dessert (Ekmek)
- 190 grams / 6.7 oz toast rusks
- 200 grams / 7 oz walnuts crushed
For The Syrup:
- 550 grams / 1 lb +3 oz sugar
- 750 grams / 1 lb + 10 oz water
For The Chocolate Cream:
- 1200 grams / 2 lb + 10 oz fresh milk
- 360 grams / 12.6 oz sugar
- 200 grams / 7 oz fresh milk
- 10 tablespoons cornstarch
- 5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
For The Vanilla Cream (Option No1):
- 2 cans Morfat cream
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
For The Vanilla Cream (Option No2)
- 1200 grams / 2 lb +10 oz heavy cream 35% fat
- 300 grams / 10.5 oz icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For The Syrup:
- In a saucepan add the sugar and water. Bring to a boil over high heat. You may stir using a whisk up to the point the syrup starts to boil. When it starts boiling stop stirring as syrup may get crystalized. Boil for 5 minutes and then remove from heat.
- Pour the hot syrup all over the toast rusks. Set aside until they cool down to room temperature.
- Meanwhile, prepare the cream.
For The Chocolate Cream:
- In a cooking pot, add the 1200 grams of milk along with the sugar and heat over medium-high heat.
- In a mixing bowl whisk together the 200 grams milk, the cornstarch, and the cocoa.
- Once the milk starts to get steamy hot (do not let get bubbly), pour in the cocoa mixture while whisking constantly.
- Keep whisking until cream starts to thicken. This will take a few minutes.
- Once the cream is thickened, spread over the rusks (once they have cooled down).
- Sprinkle half of the walnuts over the chocolate cream and set aside to cool.
For The Vanilla Cream (Option No 1):
- So if you have managed to get your hands on some Morfat, than empty both cans in your mixer bowl, along with sweetened condensed milk.
- With the whisk attachment on, beat over medium-high speed for 30 minutes.
- Then transfer to the freezer for half an hour until the chocolate cream has cooled down sufficiently.
- Then spread on top of the chocolate cream. Sprinkle remaining walnuts on top, and refrigerate ideally overnight before serving.
For The Vanilla Cream (Option No2):
- So in case you didn't find any Morfat, no worries, we'll make a super creamy whipped cream instead.
- Pour the heavy cream in your mixer's bowl, along with vanilla extract.
- With the whisk attachment on, beat over medium speed until cream looks like it starts to thicken. Then start adding the sugar in small bits at a time until fully incorporated.
- Once firm peaks start to form on the cream and you can see the traces of the whisk on the cream, stop beating.
- Spread the whipped cream over the chocolate cream. Sprinkle remaining walnuts on top, and refrigerate ideally overnight.
- Cut into 20 square pieces and serve!
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