Archives For patisserie

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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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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collage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If Bologna is the city of colonnades, Modena, its near neighbour is the city of bicycles. There are hundreds all over the town and are the preferred way for the locals to navigate the centro storico lending the city a tranquil air. There are also colonnades which give the town the look of a small Bologna but that’s where I will stop the unfair comparisons, for Modena is a city in its own right, with a proud history, and a very impressive culinary culture.

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