Monthly Archives: November 2013

Amaretti Tiramisu

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Tiramisu
So Italian week continues and this time I bring to you something Dolce. What comes to mind mind when anyone thinks of a classic Italian dessert?  Tiramisu, of course! Every Italian restaurant has it on the menu and it’s a frequent visitor to our house. Not too many things work so beautifully together as strong espresso and silky smooth mascarpone. I call this particular recipe Instant Tiramisu because instead of traditional crisp Savoiardi ladyfingers that take a couple of hours to soak up coffee and liquor I used already soft amaretti cookies or Amaretti Morbidi. I absolutely adore these little cookies in Tiramisu. They bring beautiful almond flavour into the mix making it even more desirable and impossible to stop eating! Also, they are little round guys which makes them fit perfectly in the individual mason jars that I used this time.  A quick side note about the mason jars, they might not be the most original things as they get used a lot but for a good reason! They provide perfect personal portions and you can always pop a lid on them and stick them in the fridge until dinner time. Tiramisu One of the characteristics of true Italian cooking is very few but good quality ingredients. This Tiramisu recipe is no exception. Tiramisu (prep)
Ingredients: {Serves 4}

  • Amaretti biscuits (soft or crisp)-  20-24
  • Espresso or strong coffee- 2 shots/2 oz
  • Mascarpone-1 cup/250 ml
  • Whipping cream- 1 cup/250 ml
  • Icing sugar- 1/4 cup
  • Vanilla -2 tsp.
  • Rum or marsala, brandy etc.- 4-6 tsp.
  • Cocoa for dusting- 3-4 tsp.
  • Chocolate, shaved

Method:

Traditionally Tiramisu cream topping is made of mixture of mascarpone, sugar and egg yolks but using raw eggs could be unsafe so the eggs are often replaced with whipping cream.

Make two shots of espresso if you have an espresso machine or 2 oz of very strong coffee. Divide your amaretti cookies among 4 mason jars or glasses. Pour 1/2 of espresso shot in each glass over the cookies and 1 tsp. of rum.

Whip mascarpone and cream with icing sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form, it will take about 5 minutes. Divide your mascarpone mixture evenly among 4 jars.Tiramisu (prep)

Dust with cocoa.
Amaretti Tiramisu
Or… Shave some chocolate using a cheese slicer or a knife.Tiramisu (prep)
And pile on top.Amaretti Tiramisu
I am still trying to wrap my head around how something so SIMPLE and QUICK could be pure Heaven.
Amaretti Tiramisu

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Bella Italia

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There are certain images of Italy that everyone is familiar with, mostly involving Tuscan villas. What I am sharing here is NOT quite so stereotypical.  We spent this past weekend in Trento, a city so far north it approaches the border with Austria. The first time we visited Trento a year ago we were not even sure we were still in Italy. Many signs were in both Italian and German, we couldn’t recognise half of the food items in local restaurants, while beer drinkers seemed to outnumber wine drinkers. And yet there remains something distinctly Italian, and the area itself is out of this world gorgeous. The mountains, the lakes, the rugged outdoors reminded us so much of our beautiful home in British Columbia. The centuries old architecture made it unmistakingly clear we were in Europe.
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Spaghetti alla Siciliana

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Spaghetti alla Siciliana ( Spaghetti with sundried tomatoes, garlic and olive oil)
How would you like to learn an authentic Italian pasta recipe that consists of only FIVE ingredients? As some of you know, I just returned from Italy 2 days ago and this recipe, along with Sicilian sun-dried tomatoes in a small tupperware container, was one of the things I brought home with me.
I was so blessed to be surrounded by amazing Italian homecooks who gave me tips and advice on cooking authentic dishes from various regions of Italy. Sun-dried tomatoes were an unexpected gift from our dear hostess. You gotta love Italian generosity and hospitality! I just briefly mentioned during lunch that I liked the tomatoes and she immediately pulled them off the table, put a lid on and handed them to me while saying, “Can you take them on the plane?” I wasn’t sure actually whether I could take them on the plane as we only brought our carry-ons but I was not about to refuse the precious gift.
As I was leaving another friend quickly told me how to cook this amazing pasta and in two days I’ve been home I’ve cooked it twice! This pasta is beautiful in its simplicity-so flavourful and satisfying! Here is what you will need. Spaghetti alla Siciliana -ingredients. Ingredients: (Serves 4)

  • Olive oil- 2 tbsp.
  • Garlic- 3 cloves
  • Red Chilli flakes-1-2 tsp.
  • Sun-dried tomatoes, chopped- 4 tbsp.
  • Flat leaf parsley, chopped- 1/2 bunch
  • Spaghetti- 500 gr
  • Salt
  • Hard Cheese like Grana Padano or Parmesan (to taste)

Method:

Before I start, I would like to say that the flavour of your dish will almost solely rest on the quality of sun-dried tomatoes so keep that in mind when you are buying them. Get the best quality you can afford, after all you only need a little jar!

In a large pot of boiling and salted water cook your spaghetti according to package direction. I usually subtract 2 minutes off the cooking time suggested, this way you get them al dente.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp. of olive oil in a frying pan and add minced garlic, sun-dried tomatoes and red chilli flakes, cook while stirring over low heat for 1 minute, then add half of your chopped parsley. Set aside. Spaghetti alla Siciliana (prep)

Drain your cooked pasta and toss everything together in the same pan, add salt to taste and remaining half of chopped parsley. Serve with grated cheese on top. Seriously, it couldn’t get any easier or tastier than that!  Buon Appetito!
Spaghetti alla Siciliana (spaghetti with sun-dried tomatoes, garlic and parsley)

Pumpkin Pie with Toblerone Swirl

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Pumpkin Pie with Toblerone Swirl
Until a couple of days ago I was convinced it’s impossible to improve on a pumpkin pie. Why mess with what is already perfection?  I still believe the classic recipe is pretty darn great but every once in a while it’s fun to try a twist on an old favourite, especially when this awesomeness comes into play. Ready? Pumpkin Pie meets…Pumpkin Pie with Toblerone Swirls
TOBLERONE. One of my favourite sweets ever! How could you not love those little crunchy bits of nougat in rich and smooth chocolate! It turns out that seams of light crunch mesh brilliantly with creamy pumpkin. A winning combination!Pumpkin Pie with Toblerone Swirls

I also topped each slice with whipped cream (a must) and a teensy bit of more crunch from crushed honeycomb. If you don’t have access to honeycomb you can use more crunchy nougat.Pumpkin Pie with Toblerone Swirls

Ingredients:

  • 9″ pie crust-1 (I used the same recipe as my Dulce de Leche Apple Pie )
  • Solid Pumpkin Puree- 400 gr/15 oz
  • Eggs- 3 large
  • Double Cream/Whipping Cream- 1/2 cup
  • Brown Sugar- 1/2 cup
  • Cinnamon- 1 1/2 tsp.
  • Cloves- 1/4 tsp.
  • Ginger- 1/4 tsp.
  • Nutmeg- 1/4 tsp.
  • Salt- 1/2 tsp.
  •  Toblerone (chopped)- 1/2 cup

For Topping:

  • Whipping Cream- 2 cups
  • Powdered Sugar- 1/4 cup
  • Vanilla- 1 tsp.
  • Honeycomb, crushed- 1/4 cup

Method:

Preheat your oven to 400F/200C. The recipe and directions for the best and flakiest pie pastry are found here.  Roll out your pastry on a floured surface, then drape on your rolling pin and transfer to the pie/tart plate.  This is a one crust pie so we want the edges nice and clean that come up to the top of your pie plate.  The next step is blind baking which is necessary for all tarts that are filled later or to ensure that the crust is not too soggy. Line your unbaked pie crust with parchment paper and fill the pie plate with rice or beans (or a combination like I did because I didn’t have enough of each to fill the plate!). Bake at 400F/200C for 15 minutes, then take out of the oven, turn the temperature to 350F/180C, let it cool for 5 minutes and then lift the parchment paper together with the weights out of the pie.

Making tarts (blind baking) Pumpkin Pie with Toblerone Swirls
While your crust is blind baking make your pumpkin filling. Beat your eggs with sugar, then add pumpkin puree, cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger and salt. Set aside for a moment.  Now chop up your toblerone bar and melt it in a double boiler, stirring continuously so it doesn’t burn. Pumpkin Pie with Toblerone Swirls
Pour the pumpkin filling in the pie crust, then drop in melted chocolate randomly.Pumpkin Pie with Toblerone Swirls
Then take a skewer or a tooth pick and swirl it lightly.Pumpkin Pie with Toblerone Swirl
Bake in the oven for 40 minutes until the filling is set. It will probably crack like mine did because of the different consistency of pumpkin filling and chocolate but I thought it made it look even cooler!
Pumpkin Pie with Toblerone SwirlsToblerone made some pretty amazing craters in that pumpkin. Don’t you think?

Whip some cream with powdered sugar and vanilla.

Do serve it with some whipped cream and crushed honeycomb or nougat, the extra crunch is heavenly!
Pumpkin Pie with Toblerone Swirls
For more pumpkin treats check out Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes, Toffee Honeycomb Pumpkin Muffins and DIY Pumpkin Spice Syrup.