Tag Archives: summer dessert

Strawberry Crostata with Balsamic Roasted Strawberries and savory Mascarpone Ice cream

Corstata One of the things I love about Italian desserts is that they are not too sweet. In fact, Italians often have cake or sweet breads and crostata for breakfast.

This recipe for strawberry crostata is a variation of a recipe in my upcoming book, Cocktail Italiano. The recipe in the book is savory mascarpone ice cream with balsamic roasted grapes. It is a savory version of ice cream, and it works great with a sweet fruit topping for dessert or for aperitivo.

I had leftover strawberries from the book photo-shoot and thought roasting them with balsamic vinegar would be terrific. I decided that the mascarpone ice cream would be the perfect complement, and I baked a crostata with some homemade strawberry jam I found in the pantry.

Here’s the recipe; its a great dessert even without the addition of the Strawberry Crostata.

Strawberry Crostata
Serves 8

You will need:
– 1 1/2 cups pastry flour
– 1/4 cup sugar
– 1 1/2 cups cold butter cut into slices
– 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1 cup strawberry jam

To prepare: 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

In the bowl of a standing mixer, place flour and butter combine on low speed until crumbs form.

Add sugar, salt, and eggs. When combined about 3 minutes, place in plastic wrap and into the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Cut the dough in 1/2, roll 1/2 the dough out on a floured surface into a round disk. Place disk into the bottom of a fluted 11″ tart pan.  Roll the other half and with a pinked pie cutter cut 1″ strips.

Spread the strawberry jam on top of the crust, then lay the 1 ” strips in a lattice pattern on top of the jam.

Place in the oven for 30 minutes. Until golden brown. Cool and serve at room temperature.

Balsamic Roasted Strawberries

Balsamic Roasted Strawberries
Serves 8

You will need:
– 4 cups cleaned strawberries
– 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
– 1/4 cup sugar

To prepare:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

In a bowl toss strawberries, vinegar and sugar. On a parchment lined lipped cookie sheet, place balsamic soaked strawberries. Roast for 30 minutes, then place in a bowl and allow to cool to room temperature. This can be served warm over the ice cream.

Mascarpone Ice Cream

Savory Mascarpone Ice Cream
Serves 8

You will need:
– 2 cups whole milk
– 1 tsp. unflavored powdered gelatin
– 2 cups mascarpone
– Finely grated zest of 1 orange
– ½ teaspoon salt

*note if you wish to make this a sweet ice cream add 1/4 cup of sugar to the milk

To prepare:

In a small saucepan, whisk the milk and gelatin and let stand for 5 minutes. Warm the milk over medium heat, whisking until gelatin dissolves. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the mascarpone and orange zest until smooth. Pour the ice cream base into a bowl and let cool to room temperature. Pour the base into an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Scrape the ice cream into a container and freeze.

Serve a slice of the crostata with a scoop of ice cream and warmed strawberries.

Enjoy xx

Top photo credit : Bill Addison

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Fig Tart

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Fig season is officially here. When you’re at your local markets, you’ll surely stumble upon this fabulous fruit. When you spot larger figs, those are exactly what you need to bake this tart. Do yourself a favor and add a carton to your cart. You won’t be disappointed.

Choose your figs by looking for ones that are slightly soft and give to a little pressure, but aren’t mushy. Store them in the fridge, but be sure not to wash them until you’re ready to use them.

Figs are incredibly delicate, so be careful when you wash them. Never scrub figs or use anything harsher than your fingers. Instead, gently rub any dirt you see away from the fig’s surface. Remove the stems by twisting gently until they come off. Pat them to dry.

I have to say, this tart is wonderful; it actually tastes like a gourmet fig newton!

Fig Tart
serves 8

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

For the crust:
– 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
– 1 tablespoon sugar + 2 tablespoons sugar
– 4 tablespoons cold butter cut into 1 inch cubes + 1 tablespoon butter
– 1/4 cup olive oil ( I got mine from a local press, 2 blocks away, gotta love Italy)
– pinch salt
– 1/2 cup ice water

To prepare: 

In a Cuisnart or Kitchenaid, put in flour, sugar, salt and 4 tablespoons butter + oil. mix on medium speed until it becomes a crumby mixture.

Slowly add ice water until the dough pulls together. Place in the fridge and start on the figs.

For the fig filling:

Slice the figs into quarters, roll out the dough, and place into the tart pan, arrange fig quarters on the dough in a fan pattern.

Sprinkle 2 tablespoons sugar + 1 tablespoon cubed butter on top of the fig arrangement.

Put into a 400 degree oven for 1 hour, or until the figs and dough are nicely browned, they should be a nice shade of caramel.

Cool and serve.

Enjoy xx

 

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Plum Tart

 

plum tart IMG_2099

Plum season is here which means that it’s the perfect time to put them to use and whip up this yummy plum tart. Plums are a wonderful fruit, and as a relative of peaches and nectarines, you can find them everywhere this time of year.

If you can’t find plums near you, pick up some fresh figs instead. Figs will start making their appearance on fruit stands this month, and you’ll find this tart to be just as exquisite with figs as with tarts. Enjoy!

Plum Tart
(you can substitute figs as well)
serves 8

Start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees

You will need:

For the crust ~

– 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
– 1 tablespoon sugar + 2 tablespoons sugar
– 4 tablespoons cold butter cut into 1 inch cubes + 1 tablespoon butter
– 1/4 cup olive oil ( I got mine from a local press, 2 blocks away, gotta love Italy)
– pinch salt
– 1/2 cup ice water

To prepare:
In a Cuisinart or Kitchenaid put in flour, sugar, salt and 4 tablespoons butter + oil. mix on medium speed until it becomes a crumby mixture.

Slowly add ice water until the dough pulls together.
Place in the fridge and start on the figs.

For the plum filling ~

You will need:
– Plums or figs
– 3 tablespoon sugar
– 1 tablespoon butter, cubed

To Prepare: 
Slice the plums in half removing the pit, roll out the dough and place into the tart pan, arrange plums on the dough in a fan or row pattern.

Sprinkle 3 tablespoons sugar + 1 tablespoon cubed butter on top of the plums arrangement.

Put into a 400 degree oven for 1 hour, or until the plums are bubbling and crust is browned.

Cool and serve.

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Recipe:: S’mores Donuts

SmoresDonut2

Hey everyone! I’m Nicole, Annette’s web-manager and friend, and I’m back today to help you celebrate a very exciting holiday…Happy National S’mores Day! Did you know there was such a thing? Neither did I until I stumbled upon it on…where else? The internet. Some of these holidays are just silly, but if it involves chocolate and marshmallows, I can certainly get on board…and just wait until you see this clever twist on a classic summer treat.

SmoresDonut3

There are few things better than s’mores in the summer, but s’mores donuts take it to an entirely different level altogether. Before you get started on this delectable recipe, there are a few things that you need to know:

First, use stale donuts for these s’mores. A stale donut is firmer and therefore will be easier to place on and off of the grill. Second, make sure you buy the jumbo marshmallows. Jumbo marshmallows will melt into the perfect size for your s’mores donut.

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S’mores Donut
serves 1

You will need:

– 1 stale, glazed donut
– 2 squares of chocolate candy
– 1 jumbo marshmallow

To prepare:

Preheat your grill.

Slice a stale, glazed donut in half length-wise so that you’re left with two halves (like a bagel). Set aside. Prepare a kabob skewer by adding one jumbo marshmallow. Roast your marshmallow over your grill to desired doneness (I like mine crispy and extra gooey). When your marshmallow starts to crisp, add your 2 donuts to the grill, cut side down for 30 seconds to 1 minute. *Note: it’s very important that you grill the donut cut side down because sugar from the glaze will burn easily and will not hold together.

Remove your donut halves, add chocolate to one half along with the toasted marshmallow. Top with other donut half. Enjoy!

xo, Nicole

photographs via

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Peach Cobbler – my summer in Italy

Peach Cobbler

Peach Cobbler one of my favorite summer desserts. In fact, I actually love it for breakfast too. Recently I made it for my hubby Frank’s welcome to Italy. He loves it!

When the peaches ripen on the tree as they do here in Italy, the fragrance infuses the entire cobbler. I buy all my fruits and veggies from the local shopkeeper. Here in our town, unfortunately, there is not an open street market like in some of the bigger cities. We depend on the mom and pop vendors to bring us the most delicious local ingredients…and they do.

Here’s my quickie recipe for peach cobbler just in time for the 4th of July…enjoy!

Peach Cobbler
Serves 6-8

You will need:

– 8 ripened peaches cut into wedges
– 1/4 cup sugar
– 2 cups flour
– 1 teaspoon baking powder
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1 cup butter cut into small cubes
– 1 cup sugar
– 1/4 cup cold water

To Prepare:

Preheat the over to 375 degrees F.

Wash and cut the peaches into wedges and toss with 1/4 cup sugar, set aside.

In a large bowl combine flower, baking powder, salt, butter, and sugar. With your hands, knead the ingredients until the dough becomes sandy then add water and combine until the dough pulls together. The dough should be soft.

In a ceramic baking dish place the peaches (I like an oval 9″:  9″ x 6 1/2″ x 1 3/4″ high; 1-qt. cap.), and then cover the top with the dough. The dough should be rustic and look cobbled. Place dish into the oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until peaches are bubbling, and the cobbler is golden brown.

Enjoy warm with ice cream, whip cream, or at room temperature.

Photo Credit: Me

 

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