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Critically acclaimed cookbook author Anne Bianchi teams up with her Tuscan cooking school partner, Sandra Lotti, for an enticing book of recipes from Italy's most creative gastronomic region. Desserts are the feature attraction, with tempting Tuscan specialities such as Fig Crepes, Chestnut Timbale, Pear Fritters with Rum Cream, and Apple and Frangipane Pie. Bianchi and Lotti reveal how to recreate the wonderful desserts that you thought could only be found in Italian bakeries or cafes-biscotti, gelati, tiramisu ...
Critically acclaimed cookbook author Anne Bianchi teams up with her Tuscan cooking school partner, Sandra Lotti, for an enticing book of recipes from Italy's most creative gastronomic region. Desserts are the feature attraction, with tempting Tuscan specialities such as Fig Crepes, Chestnut Timbale, Pear Fritters with Rum Cream, and Apple and Frangipane Pie. Bianchi and Lotti reveal how to recreate the wonderful desserts that you thought could only be found in Italian bakeries or cafes-biscotti, gelati, tiramisu and many other traditional Tuscan treats. Beginning with the basics, the authors offer technical information on tools, sugars, liqueurs, yeast, how to beat egg whites, and how to whip cream. They follow with nine chapters full of mouth-watering recipes for Cookies; Cakes and Tarts, Fruit Desserts and Preserves; Ice Creams and Sorbets; Brittles, Fritters, and Crepes; Custards and Mousses; Sweet Breads; Pies and Pastries; and Traditional Holiday Desserts.To start off each chapter, Lotti, Bianchi, and their Tuscan friends muse over topical subjects in spirited essays that capture the essence of the region. Topics include Thinness, Italian Men and Their Mothers, The Definition of Art, and Carnival in Viareggio.With recipes and stories that indulge and delight, Dolci Toscani is a wonderful addition to any cooking library.
1-1/2 hours plus
7 eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3-1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup brewed espresso
1 teaspoon water
Espresso beans, for garnish
1. Using an electric mixer or hand whisk, beat the eggs and 1/4 sugar until fluffy, smooth and pale, about 5 minutes with the mixer (15 minutes by hand). Add the zest and vanilla.
2. Pour in the milk and the espresso and stir until all ingredients are well blended.
3. Place the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon water in a small heavy saucepan. Place the pan over low heat and cook until the sugar dissolves into a clear syrup, about 5 minutes. Increase the heat and continue to cook, swirling the pan until the sugar turns amber, 3 to 5 minutes. Quickly pour the caramelized sugar into ten 4-ounce custard cups. Preheat the oven to 375'F.
4. Divide the custard mixture among the 10 cups. Lay a towel ina large baking pan, arrange the custard cups on top and fill the pan with enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the cups.
5. Bake until the centers are set, about 40 to 50 minutes.
6. Let cool to room temperature and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. To unmold, dip the bottoms of the cups briefly into hot water and invert onto individual plates. Garnish with coffee beans.
Variations: Can be made in 1 large dish instead of individual portions.
Make Ahead: The flans can be made the day before, wrapped loosely with foil and refrigerated until ready to serve.
Plus 3 Hours
One of Tuscany's most outstanding cakes is this version of the legendary Zuppa Inglese. While the name suggests an English pedigree, this is the most Tuscan of cakes, incorporating egg custard, marsala wine and rum. A guaranteed delight!
1/2 cup marsala or sherry
1 recipe Basic Custard (see page 34)
1 recipe Pasta Genovese, or Basic Sponge Cake (see page 36)
1 cup light rum
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup finely chopped hazelnuts
1. Stir the marsala into the custard.
2. Carefully slice the sponge cake into 3 very thin horizontal layers. Put 1 layer in the bottom of a deep serving bowl. Soak with 1/3 cup rum and cover with 1/3 of the marsala-custard mixture. Top with the second layer of sponge cake and repeat the process, dousing with another 1/3 cup rum and topping with another 1/3 of the custard. Do the same with the third layer and then refrigerate the cake for at least 3 hours.
3. Just before serving, beat the cream in a large bowl into stiff peaks. Spread the cream over the top of the cake, sprinkle with nuts and serve.
Variations: Sliced fruit such as strawberries or other berries can be layered on top of the marsala-custard mixture.