November 15, 2012 by Giulietta
If the gestation of the first recipe I sent to the Fiandino Farms’ Contest was long and painful, I had no doubt about the second recipe (I could send how many recipe I want, but I opted for two recipes, a savoury one and a dessert) since the first moment I saw, made and tasted it during the professional pastry class that I am attending.
Ta dà! Surprise! I didn’t tell you, yet, but I’m attending a professional pastry class at the Chefs’ Association in Turin, and I’m finally learning the basics of pastry, which I wanted to learn for a long, long time, and now I’m finally learning them.
During the lesson about short pastry for tarts and tartellette we made a great Piedmontese classic, the Langarola (which means “from Langhe“, wonderful Piedmontese lands) cake, a triumph of butter and hazelnuts, a delicious cake in which a sort of frangipane cream (made with hazelnuts instead of almonds, though) is enclosed in a shell of short pastry, a real bomb of flavor (and calories, but I didn’t tell you this). A cake perfect for a special occasion, rustic but elegant and refined at the same time .
Maybe it’s my Piedmontese DNA, but I love it … and you?
Category Cakes and pies, Contest, Dessert and Sweets, Dried fruit, Pantry cakes, Piedmont, Regional Italian cooking | Tags: butter,cakes and pies,contest,dessert and sweets,dried fruit,hazelnut,italian cooking,pantry cakes,Piedmont,regional italian cuisine,short pastry | 6 Comments
April 17, 2012 by Giulietta
Here it is, my traditional buttery recipe… it's not a family tradition, but about a regional one, aka little treats made with hazelnut (a classic in Piedmontese cuisine). There's also an almond version, but in this case I vote for hazelnut.
And, in line with the spirit of Burro Occelli's contest on the Burro Occelli and in line with Piedmontese spirit, I chose a very buttery traditional recipe (I live in a Northern region, and this means butter).
I'm talking about (but maybe you've already recognised them in the picture) baci di dama (lady's kisses in Italian), a traditional and very easy recipe, since the ingredients are in a 1:1 proportion and since you can prepare the dough using a food processor.
The hardest part is to resist these stuffed cookies, in which the buttery aroma goes perfectly with the toasted flavour of hazelnuts and dark chocolate.
Category Chocolate, Cookies, Dessert and Sweets, Dried fruit, Pastries, Piedmont, Regional Italian cooking | Tags: butter,chocolate,contest,cookies,dark chocolate,dessert and sweets,dried fruit,hazelnut,pastries,Piedmont,regional italian cuisine | 14 Comments
March 10, 2012 by Giulietta
Picture by Eleonora
Today a bright sun shines in Turin, and it should last for the entire weekend, quite conveniently, since I'm going on a little getaway. I just want to enjoy these first blue skies, this first warm sun, I just want to drive along some country roads and stop whenever I want to, searching for anything, but some photographic fascination… maybe I didn't tell you this, but I'm attending a photography class. I'm doing this, so maybe I'll learn to use my powerful photographic means.
But (and you've already learned that there's always a but), to avoid that weather plays tricks on me, I'd do some sort of sacrifice to the gods of weather: I offer you a recipe that I hope it will be the last winter one for this blogging season… if you'll find the recipe for yak and bell peppers, next time, blame the weather, not my intentions. I couldn't think of anything wintery than a dried fruit cake served with zabaione, flavored with a passito wine (my achilles heel) … is it wintery enough?
I hope this cake would be a sufficient sacrifice, and I hope that sun will be with us longer and longer, from now on, or at least for this weekend (I'll settle for little, after all).
Category Arabic cuisine, Cakes and pies, Dessert and Sweets, Dried fruit, Pantry cakes, Wine | Tags: almond,arabic cuisine,cakes and pies,dessert and sweets,dried fruit,hazelnut,pantry cakes,passito di Pantelleria,pine nuts,pistachio,raisin,tunisia,wine,zabaione | 13 Comments
December 14, 2011 by Giulietta
It is mid-December, already … The most prepared of you have already finished their Christmas presents and will be satisfied, some others will have to think, buy and wrap up gifts (and how come the fundamental gifts are always the last to be crossed off the list?!) and then some other will wait till Christmas Eve to buy the first thing that comes to mind. Well, I usually fall within the first category, 'cause I usually start thinking about Christmas gifts while I'm still wearing flip-flops, and I usually buy every single gift with a disturbing advance .. but this year Christmas will be a little different for me, and this Christmas will include a lot of home-made gifts and a little more calmness .. and it will probably become panic when I'll realize that I forgot the gift for grandma 10 minutes before Christmas dinner.
But I can't, at least in part, give up my proverbial timing and, although I know that Christmas is yet to come, I'm so ahead of you that today I don't suggest you some home-made and last-minute gift, but a recipe to get rid of nougat leftovers. Today I'm the Grinch, who fights the thought of Christmas, almost as if it was already gone!
Torrone (nougat) is a very popular sweet in Italy, and we eat it especially during Christmas holidays. There are at least a thousand different kinds of torrone: hard, soft, semi-hard, with hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios, covered in chocolate, covered in glaze, big, small and so on..
Well, the funny thing is… I don't like nougat! My mom could practically eat a ton of it (so it's not genetic), and instead I don't like it so much, basically 'cause it's too sweet for my tooth.
But, after Christmas holidays, it's practically impossible living in an Italian house without seeing nougat all around, since it's a very common gift and it's also very used in Christmas goodie baskets.
So, if you want to use some of those leftovers or if you actually love nougat and you'd like to make a very Christmas sweet, very easy and very sensational, here it is my semifreddo al torrone (nougat semifreddo).
Today you can find my recipe also here, on Nami's fabulous blog Just One Cookbook (I'm a blogsitter, today), together with a little interview with the undersigned. If you're interested or if you don't know Nami's blog, yet, please pay a visit, and you won't regret it.
Category Chocolate, Christmas, Dessert and Sweets, Holidays, Ice cream semifreddo and sorbet | Tags: chocolate,Christmas,dark chocolate,dessert and sweets,eggs,hazelnut,holidays,ice cream semifreddo and sorbet,nougat,semifreddo,whipping cream | 30 Comments
November 13, 2011 by Giulietta
With this recipe I officially start (perhaps I should include some old recipes, though) a new "section", and I'm calling it Home-made is better, a section dedicated to all those delicacies that perhaps you might find in stores that sell quality products… but those same delicacies, if home-made, reach a new level of deliciousness, almost beyond the Nirvana of taste.
In addition, I'll use this section to give you some gift ideas for the upcoming (argh!) Christmas, gifts that can be used for other occasions, too (birthdays, graduations, confirmations, baptisms, bar mitzvahs, weddings – gifts or favors- and so on) .. In short, do whatever you want with them.
To get off on the right foot, I chose a regional product. Some of you might know it, but I believe that most of you never heard about cugnà. Cugnà (or cognà), a word which I don't know the meaning of, but that materializes in a dense marvel that you can store in jars. I don't define it, 'cause there is a quarrel about its ontological essence: is it mustard? Not really, but it looks like it. Is it jam? No, but it can be used as jam, and a few decades ago it was used like that, simply spread on bread, as a snack. Well, maybe it's better not to define it, but simply be enchanted by it.
One thing it's sure: it's an ancient dish, which comes from the need to reuse the waste from the harvest (the main ingredient is, in fact, grape must) and the excess production of autumn fruits. This is enriched with dried fruits (needless to say, the special guests are Piedmontese hazelnuts) and some spices. In the past people didn't keep in jars, but simply in an earthenware container (called the Tupina. Piedmontese small note: a very similar word, tupin, is still used in Piedmont, more than every day, to call a generic container, from a jar to an airtight container and so on. So if a Piedmontese says "put it in a tupin", he/she is not saying that you have to stuff a rodent. PS. in Italian "topo" means "mouse", so there's a little word pun, here) covered by a plate.
You'll wonder how you use this delicacy … traditionally, since it was born a poor dish, cugnà was especially eaten with polenta (I'll have to try this use), while the wealthier used it to accompany boiled meat (which is very typical here in Piedmont) and cheeses; however,as I already said, it was also used like an usual jam, so spread on bread. The choice is yours!
Category Conserve, Dried fruit, Fresh fruit, Home-made is better, Jam, Piedmont, Regional Italian cooking | Tags: almond,apple,cinnamon,clove,cognà,conserve,cugnà,dried apricots,dried figs,dried fruit,fresh fruit,hazelnut,home-made is better,madernassa pears,most,pears,quince,renette apples,walnut | 31 Comments
July 22, 2011 by Giulietta
On summer you should eat plenty of vegetables, lots of fruits, eat light foods and drink a lot.
The key is "you should": I love vegetables (while I simply like fruits), but it would be a sad life without a nice "boost of life" from time to time?!
So why don't indulge, once in a while, and enjoy a nice and fresh dessert, although not a very light one?! And what's better than a Nutella cheesecake, to spoil yourself?!
I know, I sound like a Nutella spot (but Nutella is a product of my homeland, so I might be entitled to publicize it), but actually all started with another idea and another recipe, by Alessia of Muffins, cookies ed altri pasticci for a Ferrero Rocher cheesecake (and Rocher aren't so far away from the Nutella … they came from the same family), that I tried a year ago, and won me for its simplicity and for its great taste.
So, for a nice Piedmont-themed dinner with friends (but not too Piedmontese … at least I wanted to skate over the tradition for the dessert, 'cause Russian salad, Barbera risotto, and castelmagno risotto had already given an adequate taste of Piedmont – to quell any criticism, you have to know that I made a goodie-bag bonet for all my guests … none should leave my house unhappy!) I wanted to repeat the successful cheesecake experiment, but I reminded of a tragic truth: in summer, because of the hot weather, no Ferrero Rocher (you can't find them in the stores).
So I had to fall back on what, making everybody unhappy? I had to fall back on the hated Nutella (I'm kidding, uh .. let's say that if I spent a nanosecond more to photograph the cake, maybe I wouldn't be here talking … and I start to think that the blurred area in the top of the picture can be a fingerprint of some impatient friend on the camera)!
In short, a little reworking that left everyone with full-mouthed (and not open-mouthed).
Category Cakes and pies, Chocolate, Dessert and Sweets, Dried fruit | Tags: cakes and pies,cheesecake,chocolate,dessert and sweets,dried fruit,eggs,hazelnut,nutella,ricotta cheese | 32 Comments
July 8, 2011 by Giulietta
Yes, yesterday it was my birthday (I'm going towards the 30)! And, while someone claims that the making of his own birthday cake is bad luck (but why?) or simply is not very nice, I have a certain compulsion ("another one?", you'd say) not only in preparing the dessert, but the whole dinner for a party in my honor!
Am I stupid?! Maybe.
Do I love cooking too much?! For sure!
On my birthday, however, traditionally I don't cook, my boyfriend takes me out for dinner (preferably in a surprise restaurant, and this year we ate Piedmontese in a very nice restaurant… awesome) and I buy a nice dessert from my favorite ice-cream maker and/or pastry chef (yesterday I chose two little semifreddo cake, a yogurt-soft fruit one and a three chocolates one), what the heck!
But, for all other parties (and, believe me, my agenda is really full) I MUST (i's a primordial need) prepare something, the whole dinner or just the dessert. But it's July, so I don't like to stay near the oven (although yesterday it seemed autumn … in hindsight I could have used the oven) … last year I decided to make a tarte tatin and, later, near the oven, I decided that dying would have been a better choice! In short, this year, aided by the loan of an ice cream machine and the consequent desire to experiment, I will present you two cold dessert. Actually, they can't be colder… ICE CREAM!
PS: the ice cream maker IS NOT ESSENTIAL, though!
Category Birthday, Chocolate, Dessert and Sweets, Egg whites only, Holidays, Ice cream semifreddo and sorbet, Ice-cream cakes | Tags: chocolate,dessert and sweets,egg whites,hazelnut,ice cream semifreddo and sorbet,nutella,vanilla,whipping cream | 28 Comments
April 3, 2011 by Giulietta
How many creams, sauces and cakes require only egg yolks? A lot. But the question that haunts all of us (I see you, sleepless, thinking about egg whites) is: what can I do with just egg whites?!
Often thay end up in an anemic omelette, or they can be used to make "cat tongues" (I'll translate that recipe, too, if anybody cares), but there is another problem, their conservation: We certainly can't let the egg whites in the refrigerator for a hundren years, hoping to accumulate them in a sufficient number of them to actually use them (for me, the chances of this happening before the egg whites go bad are very poor).
So, after reading here and there in the world wide web tips and recipes, I went the hard way: I put the egg whites in a small airtight container and froze them! First two, then two more (within a couple of weeks), then another … so, with no problems of conservation, I found myself with 5 egg whites and, finally, the possibility to try a plum cake with egg whites only.
Category Cakes and pies, Chocolate, Dessert and Sweets, Dried fruit, Egg whites only | Tags: cakes and pies,chocolate,dessert and sweets,dried fruit,egg whites,gianduja chocolate,hazelnut | 4 Comments
March 11, 2011 by Giulietta
There is nothing I can do .. now I'm spoiled! At breakfast or for snack I usually eat homemade muffins, cakes or cookies.. don't get me wrong, I eat everything, but starting your day with a homemade sweet changes everything!
And now I can't stop: I go to the university library provided with cookies to share with my fellow colleagues, I go out for a breakfast with a friend provided with a can of "bugie" in my purse, I visit an ill friend provided with a tin box full of cookies.
Somebody puts me down!!! Or somebody gives me 10 kg of butter, flour and sugar, otherwise I can't go on!!!
The story of these cookies is very simple: today I went to visit a friend of mine who had some affliction of old age (when she'll read this, she'll kill me), and because she loves hazelnut, I said to myself: "let's do something with that pound of hazelnuts that my grandmother gave me the other week" and so I have been busy, first of all shelling the hazelnuts (the most boring task) …
Category Cookies, Dessert and Sweets, Dried fruit | Tags: cookies,dessert and sweets,dried fruit,hazelnut | 1 Comment