Panna Cotta Brain…Happy Halloween!


Tomorrow’s HALLOWEEN and that’s my treat for you all, a delicious brain-shaped Panna Cotta, drizzled with strawberry syrup and served along with mini marshmallows. This recipe is very simple, you’ll only need a brain gelatin mold and lot of heavy whipping cream. To make it tastier and creepier, I’ve inserted in the Panna Cotta a syringe filled with strawberry syrup.

Keep it always simple, scary and delicious.

Happy Halloween from your Queen In The Kitchen and family!

Version 2

Photo Credits: Ale Gambini – Maurizio “Otto” De Togni


6 tbsp cold water

6 tsp powdered gelatin

4 cups heavy whipping cream

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tbsp vanilla extract

strawberry syrup, to drizzle

mini marshmallows, to garnish


Bloom the gelatin in cold water. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine heavy whipping cream and sugar and heat until bubbles forms around the rim. Add the vanilla extract and gelatin and stir until the gelatin is dissolved.

Remove from heat and pour the mixture into the brain mold. Allow to cool off then place in the refrigerator overnight.

Unmold the panna Cotta it into a plate, drizzle with strawberry syrup and garnish with mini marshmallows.

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!





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


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.

HOW TO Make Strawberry Santas

Strawberry Santas are the most fun and delicious Christmas treats for the whole family. Easy to make, delicious to eat, it takes only a few minutes to turn your organic fresh strawberries into little cute Santas filled with mascarpone cream.

This recipe makes 6 big Strawberry Santas.

Keep it always homemade, simple and delicious!

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Ale Gambini (Host Chef – Founder – Video Maker – Video Editor)
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Photo by Ale Gambini –

Yields : 6 Strawberry Santa

Difficulty : easy

Prep Time : 20 min.


6 big strawberries, washed and dried

4 oz mascarpone cheese

4 oz powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Holiday sequins and pearls, to decorate

Kitchen tools

1 paring knife

1 pastry bag with a small star tip


With a paring knife, slice the stems off the strawberries then cut the top third of each strawberry. Set aside

Prepare the mascarpone cream by whisking together mascarpone and powdered sugar until creamy.

Add the vanilla extract and blend well.

Fill a star tipped pastry bag  with the mascarpone cream and pipe a small amount over the large pieces of strawberries.

Top with the Santa’s hats (small strawberries pieces).

Make pom pom and Santa’ s buttons by piping just a smidgen of mascarpone cream.

Use Holiday sequins or pearls for making eyes.

Dust with powdered sugar for a snow effect.


Italian Lemon Spritz Cookies + DKST Cookie Press Set Giveaway


Have you already thought about Valentine’s Day menu? Here is my idea to celebrate the sweetest day of the year : Italian Lemon Spritz Cookies with Fresh Strawberries and Chocolate Swirls. I made these delicious spritz cookies adding fresh lemon juice and zest to my favorite Italian cookie dough recipe; then I shaped into hearts using my DKST Cookie Press, a must-have kitchen tool very reliable and super easy to use. I plated the little hearts along with halved fresh strawberries, and I garnished this plate with melted semi-sweet chocolate chips swirls.

I’m also thrilled to announce that on Valentine’s Day I’ll be giving away 2 DKST Cookie Press Set , sponsored by DKST Kitchen .

DKST Cookie Press is the new elegant cookie press from DKST Kitchen. This high quality finished stainless steel cookie press set comes with 20 disc and 4 icing tips to create your favorite designs.

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To enter this giveaway, simply shout out on the comment below YOUR FAVORITE DESSERT FOR VALENTINE’S DAY and LIKE Bread Love And Dreams on Facebook .

For more chances to win, share on your timeline and let me know.

Winners will be chosen randomly and announced on FEBRUARY 14 2016.

Winners will be notified via email.

Prizes will be shipped only in the United States (Alaska and Hawaii not included).

You must be 21 years old to qualify for this prize.

Giveaway sponsored by DKST Kitchen.





Recipe & Photo by Ale Gambini –

Yields : 36 cookies

Difficulty : easy

Prep Time : 25 min.

Cook Time : 10 min.



2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

3 ounces powdered sugar, sifted

1 egg

1 lemon rind, finely grated

1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed

1 teaspoon vanilla extract



Preheat oven at 325 F degrees.

Cream the butter with a hand or stand mixer at medium speed until very smooth.

Slowly add the powdered sugar and continue to mix until well blended.

Add egg, lemon juice, lemon rind and vanilla extract.

Reduce the speed then add the flour little by little and mix until well incorporated.

Fill the cookie press with the cookie dough and set the heart disk as directed by the brand.

Press the dough over a baking sheet as is (no grease or parchment paper).

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.

Allow to cool couple of minutes on the baking sheet, than transfer to wire cooling racks to finish the cooling.

Crostata Di Fragole (Strawberry Tart)


At this time of the year, in beautiful SoCal, strawberries are fully ripe which mens it’s time for strawberry picking! Our favorite spot near LA for strawberry picking is the Underwood Family Farm, a NO-GMO, sustainable farm located in Moorpark (Ventura County). This time we brought home some pounds of fresh strawberries and my first thought was to make a simple and delicious Italian dessert : Crostata di Fragole (Strawberry Tart). For the shortcrust pastry I used my beloved recipe that yields more than one shortcrust pastry shell, so I usually use half of the dough for making a tart and I freeze the remaining half for another cake or cookies. For the filling I used one of the staple of the Italian Pastry : Crema Pasticcera (Custard Cream), and I made a simple lemon syrup for glossing the fresh strawberries. Enjoy the end of the Spring and the upcoming Summer with a slice of Crostata di Fragole.

Buon Appetito!!!





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Photo by Ale Gambini & Maurizio “OttO” De Togni –

Servings : 6 to 8

Difficulty : intermediate

Prep Time : 30 min. + 30 min. ( the dough needs to rest in the fridge)

Cook. Time : 30 min.


For the shortcrust pastry 

1.1 lb (500 gr) flour type 00

11 oz (300 gr) unsalted butter, room temperature

7 oz (200 gr) powdered sugar

5 egg yolks

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 lemon rind, grated

For the custard cream

3/4 cup (150 gr) granulated sugar

2 egg yolks

1.76 oz (50 gr) corn starch

8.5 fl oz (250 ml) whole milk

For the syrup

1.7 fl oz (50 ml) water

1/4 cup (50 gr) granulated sugar

freshly squeezed juice of half lemon

For garnish

1 pound of fresh strawberries, washed dried and hulled


Prepare the custard cream beating with a whisk egg yolks and sugar until smooth.

Add the sifted corn starch and continue to whisk until incorporated.

Slowly add the milk, stirring constantly.

Transfer the mixture into a sauce pan, add the vanilla extract and bring to boil. When it starts to boil, reduce the heat and cook until thickens. Remove promptly form heat, pour the cream into a bowl, cover the surface of the custard cream with cling paper and allow to cool. When cooled move into the fridge.

Grease with butter and flour a 9.5 inch pie dish. Set aside.

Place the flour on a work surface, make a well and add powdered sugar, butter, lemon rind. Work with hands until sandy.

Add the egg yolks and the vanilla extract and work until smooth and not sticky.

Shape the dough into a large 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 into the dish pie, cut the excess of dough, than pinch it with a fork.

Cover bottom and sides with parchment paper than place over dried legumes such as beans or chickpeas so the shortcrust pastry will not rise while baking.

Bake for 15/20 minutes than remove the paper and the dried legumes and continue to bake for  another 8 minutes.

Allow to cool completely.

Prepare the syrup placing  water and sugar into a small sauce pan.

Heat at low heat and stir until the sugar dissolves.

Bring to boil, than add the lemon juice and cook until thickens.

Move the syrup into a small bowl and allow to cool.

Cut the strawberries in half. Set aside.

Place the custard cream into a sac-à-poche then pipe the cream into the crust with circular motion starting from the center. Spread evenly with a spatula.

Decorate the cake with strawberries as you prefer.

Brush the strawberries with the syrup.

Refrigerate for an hour before serving.

Homemade Ricotta Gnocchi With Strawberry Cream Sauce

Gnocchi plate

Did you know that California is the nation’s largest producer of strawberries? Its unique weather (warm and sunny during the day, cool and foggy during the night) makes California the perfect environment for growing strawberries.The harvest has its peak in the middle of April, so I took advantage of the strawberry season for cooking up this new recipe : homemade ricotta gnocchi tossed with strawberry cream sauce. An easy dish to make and delicious to taste.

Buon Appetito!!!

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Gnocchi Frag mano


Photo by Ale Gambini –

Servings : 4 – 6

Difficulty : easy

Prep Time : 20 min.

Cook Time : 10 min. for the strawberry sauce -1 min. for the gnocchi


For the strawberry cream sauce :

10 fresh strawberries

2 cups water

1 pinch salt

1 cup heavy whipping cream

For the ricotta gnocchi :

1 lb fresh ricotta cheese

1 cup flour type 00

1 cup parmesan cheese, grated

2 egg

1 pinch ground nutmeg

salt and pepper, to taste

freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, to sprinkle


Rinse, dry and hull the strawberries.

Cut into small pieces and place them in a medium skillet with two cups of water and a pinch of salt. Cook until the water dissolves.

Allow to cool then puree the strawberries with a hand blender.

Return the pureed strawberries into the skillet, add one cup of heavy cream and heat for a couple of minutes.

In a big mixing bowl, place ricotta cheese, flour, parmesan cheese, egg, nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Knead together all the ingredients with your hands until well blended (add a little more flour if the dough is too sticky).

Transfer the dough on a floured wooden cut board, roll golf-sized balls of dough into 3/4-inch diameter dowels then cut them into 1-inch long pieces.

Drop the gnocchi into a pot of boiling salted water and cook until they rise on top of the water (usually 1 minute).

Remove the gnocchi quickly with a skimmer, shake off the excess of water and plate.

Toss the gnocchi with strawberry cream sauce.

Serve warm, sprinkled with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.