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Category Archives: Desserts

Torta Caprese (Flourless Chocolate Cake)

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Torta Caprese is a traditional Italian cake from the beautiful Island of Capri.
This is a very tasty and special cake because made with almond meal and chocolate, so it could be enjoyed by gluten intolerant people.
The texture is amazingly moist and rich with a delicate twist of Sorrento’s Limoncello.
This cake is also known as one of history’s most fortunate mistakes. In the 1920 an Italian baker was preparing an almond cake for three American gangsters in the Island of Capri, he forgot to put the flour into the dough, but the result was a delicious cake.

Buon Appetito!!!

 

INGREDIENTS

11 oz almond meal
10 oz dark chocolate
7 oz granulated sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
5 eggs, separated
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 shot of Limoncello
powdered sugar, for dusting

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven at 350 F degrees.
Grease with butter and flour or baking spray a 9 inch cake pan, set aside.
With a hand or stand mixer, beat the butter and half of the sugar until creamy.
Add the egg yolks (one at the time) and mix until well incorporated.
Melt the chocolate at Bain Marie or in the microwave, allow to cool then fold it into the butter mixture.
Add the vanilla extract, the Limoncello and then the almond meal.
In a different bowl, whip the egg whites with the remain sugar at stiff peaks.
Fold little by little the whipped white eggs into the mixture.
Pour the cake batter into the pan and bake for 45 minutes.                                                Allow the cake cool completely in its pan. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

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White Grapefruit Tiramisù….Welcome Summer!

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I’m welcoming the summer 2017 with a tangy version of the classic Tiramisù. This recipe works great with any citrus fruits (grapefruits, lemons, limes) or with Limoncello, the lemon liqueur originated from Sorrento (Almafi coast). This dessert is a great idea for entertaining your guests on a warm summer night and remember, it will taste even better if prepared one day ahead.

Have a boost of vitamin C and a splash of summer with the white grapefruit Tiramisù.

Buon Appetito!

Photo by Ale Gambini – A Queen In The Kitchen

Servings : 6

Difficulty : easy

Prep Time : 20 min. plus 2 hours chilling in the fridge

 

INGREDIENTS

1 white grapefruit

2 eggs, separated

7 tablespoons caster sugar

8 ounces fresh mascarpone cheese

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

1 cup water

7 ounces savoiardi (Italian ladyfingers)

 

DIRECTIONS

Wash, dry and grate half of the peel of the white grapefruit, then squeeze out the juice of the whole grapefruit. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl beat the egg yolks and 5 tablespoons of sugar with a hand mixer until creamy.

Add the mascarpone cheese and continue to beat until incorporated.

In a second mixing bowl, whip the egg whites until stiff then gently fold into the mascarpone cream.

In a third mixing bowl, whip the chilled heavy whipping cream until stiff then fold into the mascarpone cream.

Stir in the grated grapefruit peel.

Pour the grapefruit juice and 1 cup of water into a rim soup plate, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and stir until dissolved.

Spoon the bottom of a baking dish with a little amount of the mascarpone cream.

Dip briefly the ladyfingers (one at the time) into the grapefruit and water mixture, then squeeze out the excess of liquid.

Make a layer of dipped ladyfingers into the baking dish then spoon evenly half of the mascarpone cream over the ladyfingers.

Make another layer of dipped ladyfingers, spoon evenly the remaining mascarpone cream over the ladyfingers.

Cover the grapefruit tiramisu’ tightly with cling wrap and allow to rest in the fridge at least 2 hours before serving.

Serve garnished with grapefruit slices.

Coconut Sicilian Granita

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Granita is a traditional semi-frozen Italian dessert from the ravishing Island of Sicily. The Sicilian granita is usually prepared with water, sugar, fruit juice ( lemon, orange, mandarin ) or other ingredients such as almonds, pistachios, coffee, cocoa, coconut or jasmine. It is traditionally served in a transparent glass and accompanied by the typical brioche col tuppo, an oval-shaped bread topped with a hemispherical ball (tuppo). During the Arab rule in Sicily, the Arabs introduced on the Island the ancestor of the granita : the sherbet, an iced drink flavored with fruit juice or rose water. Afterwards the Sicilians developed the sherbet recipe collecting the snow on Mount Etna, Mountains Peloritani, Iblei and Nebrodi on the nivieri, (stone buildings erected over natural or artificial caves) and using the collected ice covered with fruit syrups or flowers as a refreshing treat during the Summer. Since 2012, in the beautiful city of Acireale (Sicily), takes place the Nivarata a festival dedicated to “the rite of Granita Siciliana”. This festival has been named after theNivaroli, the people that in the past were in charge of collecting the snow.

Buon Appetito!

 

Photo by Ale Gambini – A Queen In The Kitchen

INGREDIENTS

1 cup caster sugar

1  1.4 cups spring water

2 cups coconut milk

2 teaspoons rose water

chopped pistachios, for garnish

DIRECTIONS

In a medium sauce pan, put the water and the sugar and cook at low heat until the sugar dissolves. Allow to cool completely.

Transfer the cooled water and sugar mixture into a pitcher or a quart measuring cup then add the coconut milk and the rose water. Stir well.

Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and churn for about 20 minutes.

Serve right away in transparent glasses, sprinkled with chopped pistachios on top.

Must-Have Tiramisu’

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Today I celebrate 10 years of blessed marriage by preparing my delicious must-have tiramisu’. With this recipe I’ve been selected as Runner Up in the Healthy Cooking  Contest issued by the prestigious Taste of Home Magazine, and featured in the Country Woman Magazine.

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This tiramisu’ is incredibly light and creamy. For a kid-friendly version just omit the espresso coffee and use whole milk instead of non-fat milk.

#aqueeninthekitchen #anniversary #tiramisu’ #tasteofhome

BUON ANNIVERSARIO A NOI!!!

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Recipe & Photo by Ale Gambini – A Queen In The Kitchen

SERVINGS : 8 

DIFFICULTY : easy

PREP TIME : 25 min. + 2 hours in the fridge for chilling

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, chilled

2 cups (16 ounces) vanilla yogurt

1 cup fat-free milk

1/2 cup Espresso coffee, cooled

1 package (7 ounces) Italian ladyfingers

unsweetened cocoa powder or dark chocolate flakes, to dust

fresh raspberries, optional

DIRECTIONS

In a small bowl, beat heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form.

Gently fold in the yogurt.

Spread 1/2 cup of cream mixture onto bottom of a baking dish.

In a shallow dish, mix milk and espresso coffee.

Dip quickly half of the ladyfingers into the coffee mixture, allowing excess to drip off.

Make a layer of ladyfingers over the baking dish.

Spoon over half of the remaining cream mixture and dust with cocoa powder or chocolate flakes.

Repeat the layer (dipped ladyfingers, cream, cocoa powder or chocolate flakes).

Cover with cling wrap, refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Serve with fresh raspberries, if desired.

Italian Cheesecake

Italian cheesecake

Couple of days ago I was craving for something sweet, fresh and decadent. I came up with this delicious cheese tart that I named Italian cheesecake. This tart has a shortcrust pastry shell made from scratch with the highest quality butter and flour type 00. The filling is a delicate mascarpone custard. I topped this dessert with a quick and easy strawberry coulis (a fruit or vegetable puree, used as a sauce).

Fun Facts :

Mascarpone is an Italian cheese from the Lombardy region.

Mascarpone is the key ingredient for preparing Italy’s most popular dessert: Tiramisu’.

Italian shortcrust pastry is called Pasta Frolla (literally crumbly pastry).

A pastry similar to Pasta Frolla was already known in Venice after the 10th century.

Buon Appetito!

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Photo by Ale Gambini – A Queen In The Kitchen

Servings : 6 to 8

Difficulty : intermediate

Prep Time : 25 min. + 30 min. (dough resting time)

Cook. Time : 1h 10min.

 

For the pastry shell

2.5 cups flour type 00

2 sticks unsalted butter, chilled and diced

1 cup powdered sugar

2 egg yolks

finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon

For the filling

16 oz mascarpone cheese

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs, separated

1 tsp cornstarch

finely grated zest of one lemon

1 tsp vanilla extract

For the strawberry coulis

2 cups fresh quartered hulled strawberries

3 tbsp powdered sugar

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

DIRECTIONS

Place the flour on a large bowl, make a well then add powdered sugar and diced butter. Work with a fork until sandy.

Add the egg yolks, the lemon zest and work by hand until a smooth and pliable dough forms.

Shape the dough into a ball then wrap it with cling paper. Let rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven at 350F degrees.

Place the dough between to large pieces of parchment paper then, with a rolling pin, roll the dough approximately 1/8-inch thick.

Move the dough in a greased 9 inch springform pan, press the dough across the bottom and up the sides of the pan then trim the edges with a sharp knife. Poke the bottom of the dough with a fork.

Cover the pastry shell with parchment paper, place over dried legumes such as beans or chickpeas so the shortcrust pastry will not rise while baking.

Bake for 15 minutes than remove paper and dried legumes and continue to bake for  another 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

Prepare the filling by mixing mascarpone, sugar, egg yolks, cornstarch, lemon zest and vanilla extract with a hand or stand mixer.

In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form then fold them gently into the mascarpone mixture.

Spoon evenly the filling into the pastry shell and bake for 45 minutes (the center may be wobbly and it will set while cooling).

Allow to cool completely in its pan.

Remove the springform pan’s ring, cover with cling wrap and place in the fridge for 4 hours before serving.

Prepare the strawberry coulis by pureeing strawberries, powdered sugar and lemon juice with a hand blender.

Serve the Italian cheesecake sliced, garnished with a dollop of strawberry coulis and fresh fruit.

Happy Pi Day!

Today is Pi Day, the annual celebration commemorating the mathematical constant π (pi).

Let’s celebrate with delicious Italian sweet or savory pies, because baking is a lot like mathematics!

#PiDay

Pies by Ale Gambini 😉