Desserts and Sweet Snacks: Rustic, Italian-Style Treats

Overview

Home-style, elegant, and easy-to-prepare sweets — inspired by traditional Italian eating, perfect for today's table

Viana La Place, one of Morrow's most-loved cookbook authors, brings us to Italy, where the best desserts are pure and simple treats made from the freshest ingredients. Viana has a true passion for home-style cooking and eating, which she shares in her teaching and has won her numerous fans.

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Overview

Home-style, elegant, and easy-to-prepare sweets — inspired by traditional Italian eating, perfect for today's table

Viana La Place, one of Morrow's most-loved cookbook authors, brings us to Italy, where the best desserts are pure and simple treats made from the freshest ingredients. Viana has a true passion for home-style cooking and eating, which she shares in her teaching and has won her numerous fans.

Published in the same lush, full-color format as Viana's popular Panini, Bruschetta, Crostini, Desserts and Sweet Snacks presents such delights as ripe fruit in clouds of whipped cream, tender single-layer cakes, and delectable ice creams. Sweet Olive Oil Cake with Lemon needs only a hot espresso to make a satisfying afternoon snack; Pink Honeydew Ice Cream cools on a sultry day. For Viana, sweets are inextricably linked to experiences in Italy, which she relates in beautiful narrative reminiscences interlaced with the recipes. Desserts and Sweet Snacks is a wonderful culinary trip and a collection of recipes to be savored.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
It's come to this -- apparently Italians even snack better than anyone else. Not content to rip open a bag of chips, they spread sauteed apples and apricot jam on toasted bread or munch on rustic bread and bittersweet chocolate to satisfy their cravings so do the French, but it sounds more fun in Italian. Riding the wave of enthusiasm for all things Italian, La Place Panini, Bruschetta, Crostini; An Unplugged Kitchen has put together this bite-sized collection of rustic sweets inspired by home cooks throughout Italy.

There's a rich semolina cake studded with diced candied orange peel and pistachios, and she suggests enhancing Sweet Olive Oil Quick Bread with pink honeydew ice cream. What could be simpler than topping fresh ricotta with cocoa, brandy and almonds? Just as welcome are her chic ideas for serving fresh fruit, from fresh figs stuffed with chocolate and almonds to the simple goodness of ripe peaches dipped in a glass of red wine. On the other hand, readers may have a hard time conjuring up when they might eat a piece of bread sprinkled with sugar and soaked in red wine. The least justifiable fat in the book is found in the short essays that accompany the recipes, most of which are clearly filler.

But La Place does manage to tickle the imagination as well as taste buds. Hardcore types, either Italophiles or snackers, will come away from this idiosyncratic little book with a new perspective on eating sweets.

Library Journal
La Place is also the co-author of several enduringly popular cookbooks on casual Italian food, including Cucina Rustica. Her newest book echoes the 'less is more' philosophy of her Unplugged Kitchen, starting with recipes as simple as Rough Bread with Wine and Sugar or Fruit Bowl Lido San Giovanni a pear, a handful of cherries, a peach, a kiwi, and some ice cubes. Many of the desserts are light, often fruit-based, but there are a few more indulgent ones; there's also a chapter of Sweet Fresh Cheese and a Savory Cheese Dessert.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780688141394
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/3/1998
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 144
  • Product dimensions: 8.42 (w) x 9.45 (h) x 0.58 (d)

Meet the Author

Viana La Place is the author of numerous books on Italian cooking, including Desserts and Sweet Snacks, Rustic Italian Style, and Panini, Bruschetta, Crostini. She lives in San Francisco and spends part of each year in Italy.

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Read an Excerpt

Gelatina di Espresso

Good gelatin desserts shimmer and wobble. They appear solid, but melt under the tongue in a moment.

A little gelatin added to freshly brewed espresso turns this dark aromatic liquid into just barely solid form. Sugar the coffee sparingly so that it maintains its slightly bitter edge, and serve the gelatina in small stemmed goblets with a cloud of pure whipped cream atop it.

Espresso gelatin makes for a summertime offering that is both cooling dessert and revivifying coffee. It also is a great afternoon pick-me-up.

Makes 4 servings

1 tablespoon (1 envelope) unflavored gelatin
2 tablespoons cold water
2 cups freshly brewed espresso, sugared to taste
Heavy cream, whipped, with or without a touch of sugar
In a bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water and let sit for about 5 minutes. Add the hot sweetened espresso and stir until the gelatin melts completely.

Pour the mixture into 4 small 1/2-cup dessert goblets. Refrigerate until firm. Just before serving, top with a big dollop of whipped cream.

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Introduction

Sweets play a special role in the foods that we eat. They are inextricably linked to a moment, an experience, a time of day, a season -- they enter the world of memory and fantasy. -- From the Introduction
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