DePalma, pastry chef at upscale Italian restaurant Babbo in New York City (owner Mario Batali contributes a foreword), approaches Italian-American desserts from three directions: traditional Italian (Polenta Cookies from the Veneto); Italian-American, learned at the elbow of her Calabrese grandmother (in a charming introduction, DePalma recalls how her grandmother used to visit her family in Virginia, stepping off the plane from New York bearing hunks of cheese, cans of olive oil and DePalma's favorite taralli); and what are best described as American-Italian. The latter are true hybrid desserts, such as a crustless Yogurt Cheesecake with Pine Nut Brittle, which combines mascarpone and the Greek-style yogurt now widely available in U.S. grocery stores. This concoction has probably never appeared on any menu in Italy, but it successfully marries ingredients and techniques from both places, without losing sight of the genuine quality that is the hallmark of Italian food. DePalma's tone is genuine, too, whether she's recalling how she woke up in the middle of the night in her Brooklyn apartment to obsess over a lemon tart or patiently explaining why real balsamic vinegar is costly, but worth it. (Oct.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Dolce Italiano: Desserts from the Babbo Kitchenby Gina DePalma, Mario Batali (Foreword by)
“Follow the seasons. Keep the flavors pure and straightforward. Use proper yet simple techniques.” Applying this aesthetic to the Italian tradition, Gina DePalma has created a cookbook of the desserts that have wowed diners at Babbo, New York’s most coveted reservation since it
Scrumptious, easy-to-make Italian desserts from the hand of a master.
“Follow the seasons. Keep the flavors pure and straightforward. Use proper yet simple techniques.” Applying this aesthetic to the Italian tradition, Gina DePalma has created a cookbook of the desserts that have wowed diners at Babbo, New York’s most coveted reservation since it opened eight years ago with DePalma as pastry chef. From her exciting imagination spring desserts such as Sesame and White Corn Biscotti, Little Grappa Soaked Spongecakes, and Chocolate and Tangerine Semifreddo. Recipes for classics like Cassata alla Siciliana join new interpretations of traditional desserts such as White Peach and Prosecco Gelatina. More than just a cookbook, Dolce Italiano reveals the ten ingredients you need to know to make Italian desserts, along with wine pairings to accompany the recipes. Never before has a cookbook given home cooks a chance to experience the full variety and subtlety of Italian desserts. Mario Batali has called Dolce Italiano “pure inspiration.”
Tantalizing yet comforting, sophisticated but simple, DePalma's cookbook bears the same virtues as the Italian sweets it describes. Presenting a wide array of traditional Italian recipes, it includes her own ingenious and mouthwatering updates and alterations and covers many desserts, including cookies, cakes, puddings, ice cream, fruit, specialties, and even savories and cheese selections. Introductory materials offer information about regions within Italy, important Italian ingredients, necessary equipment, and a helpful source list included as an appendix. Each recipe is introduced with notes and explanations steeped in DePalma's own extensive experience. She is currently pastry chef at Mario Batali's Babbo in New York City and has been nominated for the James Beard Outstanding Pastry Chef Award. Recommended for all public libraries.
- Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
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Meet the Author
Gina DePalma (19662015) was the acclaimed pastry chef at Babbo in Greenwich Village. In 2008, Bon Appétit magazine named her best pastry chef of the year. She lived in New York City.
Mario Batali is a chef, restaurateur, and award-winning author. In addition he is a former star of Food Network's Molto Mario and Iron Chef America programs. Batali currently co-owns and operates restaurants in New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Singapore.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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This is my favorite cookbook by far. The first recipe I attempted was successful and declicious. As a non baker, that is saying a lot. The same goes for every recipe I have made sense then. If I could eat everything in the book today I would. The recipes are that good. Ricotta pound cake.....this will make you cry it is so good.
Cookbooks have never topped my reading list. Truth be told, they've never been anywhere on the list. However, having a fully functioning sweet tooth, I was drawn to this repository of tasties by the mouth watering full page full-color pictures. Then, I was intrigued by famed chef Mario Batali's description of the author's ability, 'From a nearly criminal situation, with lack of space to store products, lack of burners to cook on, tiny ovens, a room often as warm as 118 degrees, and a walk-in fridge shared with the entire savory kitchen, Gina is miraculously able to produce one tasty treat after another.' Readers of this cookbook will agree that is not all DePalma is able to do for her descriptions of the sweets she loves literally sing, and her written candids of life not only at the acclaimed restaurant, Babbo, but also on the streets of Brooklyn where she lives and the markets she frequents are as tantalizing as any travelogue. DePalma's description of being awakened in the middle of the night by dreams of 'dolce past' brings smiles, as does her depiction of an American supermarket where fruit 'bears the indignity of a numbered sticker smacked onto it.' Her standards are high, yet she appaently continues to raise the bar. Of special help to this reader was the chapter devoted to Italian ingredients that we should know. Of course, when you read DePalma's definition of mascarpone you want to rush out and buy it. Or, once introduced to Amalfi lemons, none other will do. DePalma is a Scherazade, tempting you with every page. The recipes included cover the gamut of sweets from cookies to cake to spoon desserts to tarts. Then, DePalma moves on to my personal favorites - ice creams and sorbets. 'All Things Fried' offers a heavenly Neopolitan Doughnut with Warm Chocolate Sauce, and 'Ways With Fruit' presents not only fresh fruits but also marmalades. Whether you're an experienced cook with a love for Italian sweets or a newbie to the kitchen, you'll find much to enjoy in Dolce Italiano. DePalma writes skillfully and clearly, offering step by step directions as she shares her passion for perfect desserts. Enjoy! - Gail Cooke