December 3, 2012 by Giulietta
Did I ever tell you that I have a passion for pistachios? No?! Well, now you know it: I am a pistachio-addicted! I can’t say no to a couple (a couple?! Who believes that?) pistachio nuts, at any time and situation, I believe that “if a dessert has pistachio in it must be good” (and not just desserts… I’m not a racist!), I strongly believe that “Sicily is the promise land”.
So when last summer I went to Calabria, even without setting foot in my promise land (I admit it, I haven’t been in Sicily, yet), I found out that pistachio flour was very easy to find. Could I ever come back home empty-handed? I definitely couldn’t, so, while a part of that treasure still lies in my wardrobe/pantry (yes, sometimes I keep food and clothing together), a part has already gone away, but it was for a good cause.
Our heroine, in fact, sacrificed itself on a special occasion, the birthday of two people who are very important to me and who, like me, love pistachios. So I chose to prepare as a birthday cake a mille-feuille with hand-made puff pastry, pistachio custard and then garnished with a sprinkling of pistachios and a chocolaty writing (as I said, there were two party boys: no one turned 2728).
To accompany the dessert I could choose to stay in Sicily, with a Pantelleria passito (did I ever mention my passion for passito wines?! Well, I still have many secrets), but then I decided to serve it with a Piedmontese passito, the Sulé Caluso Passito doc produced by Orsolani. This wine, sweet and fruity, would marry even better with pastries, but I think that pistachios created the right conditions for a perfect wedding, even if this dessert is made with custard and whipped cream. And, maybe it’s my love for the Sicilian land, but I’m always in favour of a marriage between Sicilian food and a Piedmontese wine, as I already shown in the past.
Category Birthday, Dessert and Sweets, Dried fruit, French cuisine, Holidays, Home-made is better | Tags: birthday,butter,custard cream,dessert and sweets,french cuisine,holidays,home-made is better,mille-feuille,nuts,pistachio,puff pastry,whipped cream | 5 Comments
September 7, 2012 by Giulietta
That’s right, now when I see a crème brûlée, I make or I eat one, I can’t help but think about Amélie Poulain from “Amélie” and her small pleasures of life, among which stands out cracking the crust of a crème brûlée with a teaspoon … well, like her, I also like dipping my hands in the grain -or flour-, but that’s another story.
But over time Amélie’s crème brûlée (who knows what’s the recipe for HER crème brûlée?!) overlapped with other suggestions, not film ones, but very personal, small and sweet memories that make me feel like crème brûlée is also my dessert (and perhaps not only mine).
I believe that every one of us bind dishes, savoury or sweet ones, to some moment in our lives, to some people or states of mind. And so, if I have to give a dish-definition of this particular moment in my life, I would say it’s a moment made of pizza and crème brûlée and, more generally, a moment with a lot of food, few pictures and few posts (but you know me, I come and go and, sooner or later, I’ll come back to the fold, at least a little more often). And I would say that, apart from my presence/absence on this blog, I keep the rest very tight.
Category Cinema, Dessert and Sweets, Egg yolks only, French cuisine | Tags: cane sugar,cinema,crème brulée,dessert and sweets,egg yolks,french cuisine,vanilla,whipping cream | 14 Comments
January 17, 2012 by Giulietta
The Tarte Tatin is not an easy dessert, but a simple one. And, like all the simple dessert, made with a few ingredients, it needs to be done with all the care that it deserves to be really good.
We have to make a good caramel sauce, to carefully slice the apples, cover them in pâte brisée (or puff pastry, if you prefer) and make sure that this little masterpiece doesn't burn, so that, once you've pulled it out of the oven and turned it upside down, it stays perfect like you've dreamed, ready to be eaten slightly cooled down, served with some semi-whipped cream or some vanilla ice cream, but also in its simple perfection.
The simplicity of the Tarte Tatin, however, lies also in its possible speeding, if you use ready made pâte brisée (or puff pastry). I know that home-made dough is an all different thing, that no one knows what ingredients are there in the ready made one .. I agree with your hesitations, but (there's always a but) let's say you have so many apples and no butter (but you have a ready made pâte brisée in your freezer), let's say you have to make a quick dessert for some unattended guests or let's say you simply feel the irresistible urge to have a slice of Tarte Tatin or you feel the irresistible urge to spend a Parisian afternoon … well, in these cases don't give up … home-made is better, but sometimes home-made could be sacrificed (at least in my humble opinion).
Category Cakes and pies, Dessert and Sweets, French cuisine, Fresh fruit | Tags: apple,brisée,cakes and pies,dessert and sweets,french cuisine,fresh fruit | 24 Comments
June 19, 2011 by Giulietta
After I confronted myself for the very first time with a classic Overseas sweet (if you missed them, I remind you my brownies), this time I decided to dedicate myself to a great, great classic of Transalpine pastry making. Who, in fact, on a little trip to our French cousins (here in Piedmont these cousins are very very close) has never tasted a soft madeleine?
Sure, maybe the croissants or the pains au chocolat are more famous (and easier to find here in Italy), but I wasn't psychologically ready for my first attempt to make puff pastry, yet (and maybe it's better to wait for a more cold season to give it a try, huh?). Also, I recently received a brand new nonstick pan for mini-madeleines… should I leave it untouched?! Never!!! It would be an insult and a mortal blow to my self-esteem.
So, looking for a recipe for madeleines, I came across this video, which explains in detail (in French) how to prepare the most classical madeleines, lemon-flavored. Of course you can flavor them as you wish: coffee, matcha tea, chocolate chip, orange rind, with jam heart and so on.
I start from the basics and, seeing the result, I will continue to experiment with madeleines, 'cause these little cakes are soft and fragrant, perfect for breakfast, as snacks to accompany your afternoon coffee or tea (and mine, being mini-madeleines, attenuate the standard sense of guilt) or as little desserts.
Category Dessert and Sweets, French cuisine, Muffins cupcakes and little cakes | Tags: butter,dessert and sweets,french cuisine,lemon,muffins cupcakes and little cakes | 20 Comments
June 6, 2011 by Giulietta
The short (maybe too short) cherry season, that red and juicy fruit that we let go with considerable difficulties (raise your hand if you have never really thought that one cherry leads to the other!), is about to end, and it deserve, as a requiem, a tasty recipe that values its harsh sweetness (I love oxymoron).
Therefore, I chose the par excellence dessert that can be prepared with cherries, so that this dessert change its name depending on whether you prepare it with cherries or with other fresh fruits. In fact, while this dessert is called clafoutis, if you prepare it with the same procedure, but with different fruit, is called flognarde, instead.
This is a French recipe, especially typical of the Limousin region (before this dessert, I knew this region for enamels and miniatures … professional bias), and its preparation is easy and fast. The name comes from the dialectal clafir , which means garnish, fill, because to prepare this dessert you fill a cake mold with cherries and then cover them with a soft batter, similar to the one you use to make crêpes or flapjacks . This is a traditional and poor dessert, which farmers brought with them in their working days, and it was prepared with wild cherries deprived of the pit and the stem, even if they said that with these parts the dessert became tastier (because in this way cherries release less water). For the the eaters' comfort, I wasn't faithful to this ancient tradition.
Category Cakes and pies, Dessert and Sweets, French cuisine, Fresh fruit | Tags: cakes and pies,cherry,dessert and sweets,eggs,french cuisine,fresh fruit | 40 Comments