Gino - the dessert - might not say much to people outside of Sweden; it is something of a Swedish speciality from some time ago and holds a tiny bit of nostalgic value. The ingredients are simple and it is very easy to make, but the end result does taste like something more complex and refined than what it basically is - a white chocolate gratin.
In my memories Swedish food culture is laden with sugar, this is my most prominent food memory from the days when I lived there as a child, there was sugar in almost everything, even in bread. I can not say that understand the major sweet tooth Swedes have, even though I spent so many years of my life there, but it is only fitting that they eat such sweet foods because it reflects their nature.
Swedish people are very open, sort of soft spoken and friendly; a stark contrast to their neighbours to the east, which is us, the Finns, who are best described as reserved, quiet and maybe even grim.
I have many fond memories of my time in Sweden, even though my Finnish nature sometimes felt out of place surrounded by the joyful and eager to talk Swedes. It is only fitting that I sometimes make Swedish foods and remember how nice it was living there; now I am surrounded by my own kind of people, reserved and quiet, even though I feel at home, still I sometimes miss the other countries I have lived in, Sweden maybe the most.
Gino is one of those foods I associate Sweden with.
There are a lot of different Gino recipes out there, some are more complex - one for example even has a sauce made out of passion fruit and creme fraiche - but the original one uses bananas for a white colour, strawberries for a red colour and kiwi fruit for a green colour, these resemble the colours of the Italian flag. Grated white chocolate is used on top of the dessert. It is usually served with some good quality ice cream, but I like to have it with some plain Greek yogurt; I need the tartness against the sweetness of the white chocolate.
For a dairy-free variety you could use a dairy-free white chocolate, which is quite good if it is made with cocoa butter; I think it is important to use a high quality chocolate whenever possible since those vegetable oils, in cheaper chocolates, do not give the same pleasure, because the fat does not melt the same way in your mouth. The melting of the chocolate combining with the flavours is behind the pleasure of chocolate.
A Gino Recipe
-50 grams or 1,8 ounces of white chocolate per person
-1/2 -1 cup of chopped berries of fruit per person
-1-2 tbls sugar per person
-1-2 tbls desiccated coconut or almond slivers per person (this is optional and is used for the crunch)
- good quality ice cream
Preheat an oven to 225 C or 440 F.
Mix the sugar with the fruit.
Take a baking dish or individual ramekins and place the fruit into it.
Grate the white chocolate and sprinkle on top with the coconut or almond, if you are using them.
Place the Gino into the oven and bake for 7-10 minutes depending on your oven, be very careful so that the white chocolate does not burn; it should have some colour, but it should not burn.
Serve with some ice cream.
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