Thursday, January 26, 2017

Crema al Cioccolato

Proverbio Italiano of the day:
"Chi va piano, va sanno e va lontano."
Meaning: Who takes it slow, goes safely and a long way. My Nonno has been telling me this quote ever since I could remember.

I love creams and pudding for that matter. There are many Italian pastries that have delicious cream fillings, and we make our own version of pannacotta, a cooked sweet cream.

But being a complete chocoholic, I had to try this version in a recent cookbook I purchased. After I made it and had everyone try it, I realized the original recipe had too much cinnamon. It's such a strong spice, that it only needs a pinch to give it a nice taste.

This recipe is great when you don't have much lying around in the house because it only calls for a few ingredients. Whip them up and you've got yourself a homemade delicious crema. Buon Appetito!


Serves 4

2 cups cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 teaspoons flour
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 orange zest peel
dark chocolate pieces
Savoiardi (Italian Sponge Finger Cookies) to serve

let's make it

1. In a saucepan, mix the cocoa powder, sugar, flour, milk, butter, vanilla extract, and the cinnamon. 
2. Cook over gentle heat until the mixture comes to a boil, stirring constantly.
3. Remove from the heat and add the citrus peel zest. 
4. stir through, then leave to set before serving, the consistency should not be too thick. 
Serve with a savoiardo cookie. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Limoncello Cake with Crema

I'm all about the chocolatey, gooey, super sweet desserts. But sometimes after a big meal, all you need is a simple but delectable sweet to finish it off. 

I adapted this recipe that I found in a magazine and made it my own. It's perfect when you're not quite sure what sweet to have after a dinner... serve it with a side of panna cotta sweet cream and una tazza di caffè. Buon Appetito!


Serves 8 to 12


4 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups flour, sifted
2 tbsp. Limoncello
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tbspo. lemon zest
1/2 cup whole milk
butter and flour for coating pan


2 cups whole milk
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
6 egg yolks
1 cup augar
1/2 cup flour
2 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. butter

let's make it


1. Preheat oven to 325°. Grease and flour a 10 to 12 cup Bundt pan, or round pan. 

2. In a bowl using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar on medium until creamy and light yellow, 2 to 3 minutes. 

3. Stir in the flour, Limoncello, baking powder and lemon zest until just combined. Add milk and stir until it is all combined. 

4. Pour batter into the pan. Bake until a wooden toothpick inverted in the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Leave cake cool. 


1. In a saucepan, heat the milk over medium until almost boiling. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. 

2. In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks and sugar on medium until frothy and pale yellow, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the flour and cornstarch. Pour in the hot milk very slowly, whisking constantly and quickly to prevent the eggs from cooking. 

3. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, until almost boiling about 5 minutes. 

4. Remove from heat, stir in butter and let cool to room temperature before refrigerating. Slice cake in half and can place in between, or can scoop some beside a slice of cake. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

A Piece of my Heart : Torrioni, Italia {2014}

     I've been traveling with my family to Italy ever since I was a little girl. Every few years we pack up our luggages and embark on an 8 hour flight to my parents' small hometown in southern Italy called Torrioni. Time seems to stand still as soon as I step foot on my grandparents' balcony, and yet every year I go seems to be a little bit different than the last.
     The town remains the same... you still hear the ding dong of the church bells at noon, the old woman dressed in black always sweeps the dust off her balcony, and the cocking of the rooster seems to know exactly when I should be waking up from my afternoon nap. It's as if I'm completely isolated from everything going on in the world. In those moments all that seem to matter and exist are the majestic mountains and the setting sun behind them.
     It's quite funny how even when reading English words in various places there, I tend to pronounce it in an Italian accent after a while. It's as if my mind starts to engulf itself into the Italian culture. It's amazing how different life is in other parts of the world. I sometimes find myself wondering, would I have been a different person had I been born here? I feel blessed to know a piece of my heart will always belong in that small town in Italy.
     Every time I go, I seem to have a greater appreciation for it. I realize as time passes, everyone gets older and things change. Yet even so, I know the experiences I have in those moments with family and friends are irreplaceable. Eating gelato every night for days in a row, staying up late enough to see the sun begin to peak behind the mountains, driving along the curves as we swayed back and forth just to get a cornetto con nutella, running in the pitch dark with my sister to reach my aunt's house, missing a bus and having to take 3 other trains to reach our destination with my cousins, dancing with my grandparents on their 50th anniversary were among many of the adventures I had this summer.
     On the last day, we woke up before dawn to leave for our flight back home. I took one last step out onto the balcony and just stood there, breathing in the scent one last time and waiting for my eyes to adjust themselves to the darkness. And once I stayed out long enough, the stars slowly began to reveal themselves. So far away, yet their light shined so brightly as if to remind me, that it's never really a good bye but rather a see you soon. Here are my favorite photographs I took on my trip. They depict where I left a big part of my heart, and hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I did capturing them. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Taralli di Patate

Proverbio Italiano of the day:
"Chi lassa 'a via vecchia p''a nova, sape chello ca lasse e nun sape chello ca trova."
Meaning: Who leaves the old road for the new... knows what he leaves, 
but not what he finds. 

During most holidays, one of the sweets that Italians love to make (at least in my family it's what we do) is doughnuts or better known as zeppoles. 

The fried smell will yes stink up your entire kitchen... but that soft, fluffy sweet taste sprinkled with sugar is all worth it. 

This is my Mamma's recipe, and is quite simple with a little time and patience. There are many different versions out there, but I simply stick to what I know is easy and delizioso. Buon Appetito!

6 eggs
2 lbs. of flour (have extra on hand)
6 potatoes (1 lb)
1/4 cup warm milk
1 pinch of salt
2 yeast bags
1 stick of butter
1 lemon zest (grated)

let's make it

1. Boil potatoes, once done set aside to cool.

2. Take potatoes and place in a potato ricer.

3. Pour the flour onto a counter or large cutting board (make sure to have plenty of space). 

4. Pour potatoes in the flour and mix together. 

5. Heat up the milk in a small pan, and dissolve the two yeast bags in it.  

6. Melt butter either over heat or in microwave.

7. Then place eggs, melted butter, and milk yeast mixture in flour.

8. Mix all of the ingredients together, constantly kneading the dough until it has a stretchy consistency. 

9. Once dough is ready, form it into a log. 

10. Start by cutting one section at a time.

11. From each section, you cut into thin lines. Each line is then formed into circular doughnut shape. 

12. Once you have cut and shaped through the entire dough... place them onto a big board, all evenly spread apart. (Do not have them touch, because they need to rise). 

13. Let the doughnuts rise for about an hour. 

14. Once an hour has passed, take a large and deep pan and fill it with plenty of oil (close to top but not overflowing).

15. Fry a few at a time, turning them over once golden.

16. Place each one in a bowl of sugar, and dip all sides of it.