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Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking: Desserts and Breads [CoTM Sept 2006 and Nov 2013]

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September 2006 Cookbook of the Month: Please post your reviews of dessert and bread recipes from Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking here. Please mention the name of the recipe you are reviewing as well as any modifications you made to the recipe.

A reminder that the verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

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  1. Diplomatico: delicious.

    Polenta Shortcake with Raisins, Dried Figs, and Pine Nuts: I've been searching for a recipe for a polenta cake like the one I was served fifteen years ago. This wasn't it. It was pretty heavy. But enjoyable in a middle-eastern/indian dessert kind of way.

    Brutti Ma Buoni: they came out hard as rocks.

    1 Reply
    1. re: heidipie

      Heidipie - For the Diplomatico, do you think it makes a difference using homemade vs store-bought poundcake?

    2. I LOVED Hazan's Polenta Shortcake with Raisins, Dried Figs and Pine Nuts. Those fennel seeds, Lord!
      It isn't too sweet. Unlike Heidipie, I didn't find it heavy. A very surprising mix of flavors. I thought they all worked beautifully together.
      I cannot wait to make it again.

      1 Reply
      1. re: abud

        Almost two years after you, I just made this this morning and I think it's GREAT! Fennel seeds and pinenuts are two of my favorites so it already had that going for it. Here are a couple of pix I snapped. Our local wine merchant got pretty enthused about a wine pairing but he (I defer to him cause I'm not wine knowledgeable) finally decided on a half botte of an Australian muscat. Can't wait til tomorrow to try it.

         
         
      2. I made Marcella's Italian Chocolate Mousse because you can make it a day ahead of time and it doesn't require baking, which are my main requirements for a dessert recipe!

        It was excellent. Really simple but really tasty. Even my husband, who isn't normally a fan of chocolate, really enjoyed it. I put chocolate shavings and a sliced strawberry on top to dress it up. That is the one downside (upside?) to the lack of photos in this book - you have to use your imagination for presentation.

        I followed the recipe exactly, though I don't have an espresso machine, so I used the instant stuff from a jar.

        1. Ricotta Fritters, p. 602

          These were really delicious. They are kind of like a small doughnut with a creamy center.

          They are quite easy to make. You mix 1/2 lb ricotta, 2 eggs, 1/3 C flour, 1.5 T butter, lemon zest, and pinch of salt. Let it rest for about 2 hours. You then fry them (drop Tbsp full in 1/2 inch of oil) and serve them drizzled with honey.

          I served some rolled in 5 spice powder sugar (think cinnamon sugar, but using 5 spice instead) instead of the honey. They were also delicious.

          1. i'm about to make the foccacia, but it calls for 6 1/2 cups of flour to one packet yeast. that seems like a lot. is that right?

            hmm, from the interwebz, it seems it might be:
            http://www.theculinaryenthusiast.net/...

            hounds, what say you?

            1 Reply
            1. re: rose water

              The proportions seem fine to me.

              A packet of yeast is 2 1/4 teaspoons. The recipe in the link shows 2 teaspoons for the same amount of flour, so basically the same.