Archives For cakes

An Italian croissant?

April 13, 2017 — 11 Comments
Campo de la Bragora

Campo de la Bragora

 

It has become one of my fundamental beliefs that you cannot find croissants in Italy. There are things that look like croissants, usually called brioche or cornetti, served up and down the country for breakfast in bars, but buy one and you will soon discover the difference between these sweetmeats and the traditional salt-and-butter French classics. And by croissant, I mean the full-fat, full-French version.

Italian brioche are sweet, with sugar in the pastry and usually a glaze of apricot jam on top. To satisfy the Italian sweet tooth they often come with crema pasticcera or apricot jam inside: to have a plain one you need to ask for an empty one, or una vuota. French croissants are slightly salty and made with lashings of fresh butter which means that they melt in your mouth and don’t stick to the roof of it. Having spent two years living in Paris, for me the Italian ones just don’t cut the butter and croissants are one of the very few things I miss.

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calcio storico

Florentine Calcio Storico

 

Last week I was invited by Eating Italy Food Tours to take part in their new guided tour, The Other Side of Florence. The tour covers two quarters of the Oltrarno area, San Frediano and Santo Spirito on the southern side of the river, and area not usually visited by tourists despite their proximity to the city centre. Most people cross the river only to visit the Pitti Palace, or Brancacci Chapel before returning to the bright lights of the northern side of the river. But in the Oltrarno area you find the real Florence: an area which has surprisingly managed to avoid gentrification to retain its character.

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pazientina padova

 

 

As I said in the last post, the name of this cake, Pazientina or ‘little patience’ possibly derives from the fact that it takes a little while to make. So, as it was my mother’s birthday this weekend, I thought it was an appropriate item to make as her birthday cake.

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Piazza delle erbe padova

The Piazza delle Erbe in Padua.

 

I think it was Woody Allen in his film Midnight in Paris who said that Paris was the only city in the world more beautiful in the rain. Well, unfortunately I wasn’t in Paris last weekend but in Padua and there was a lot of rain. Padua (or Padova as it’s called in Italian) is undoubtedly a beautiful city but when it’s raining you tend to stay under the porticos to keep dry, patiently waiting for the sun to come out so you can see the buildings. I did a lot of patiently waiting over the weekend.

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zuppa inglese

Zuppa inglese

 

This weekend I was invited for barbecue at my friend’s house to celebrate the finishing of some extension work. I wanted to take a dessert, and so still influenced by my trip to Modena, I decided to take the most Modenese of desserts, a zuppa inglese.

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