Wednesday, December 3, 2008
ITALIAN DOLCI 101
GRANITA – is an Italian water ice with a coarse texture, the crystals broken up by stirring with a fork.
SEMIFREDDO – meaning "semi-frozen", this Italian light ice cream has a smooth creamy texture that never sets completely. Semifreddo can also refer to any chilled or partly frozen dessert, possibly containing ice cream, sponge cake, cream and fruit.
ZABAGLIONE (zabaione) – is one of the lucky accidents of the culinary world. It came into being in the seventeenth century when a chef in the court of Savoy mistakenly poured sweet wine into an egg custard. Today it is eaten on its own or served as a sauce over fruit, cake or pastries.
GELATO – is the Italian name for an ice cream made with egg custard and sugar.
PANNA COTTA – "cooked cream", is a rich creamy dessert set with leaf or powdered gelatin.
PANFORTE – is a medieval recipe from the twelfth or thirteenth century, a specialty of Siena where nearly every shop seems to feature it. This rich cake is sold in huge wheels of both blonde and dark panforte (the latter made by adding cocoa) and will keep for about two weeks.
CASSATA – strangely, there are two Italian desserts sharing the same name. One is an ice-cream dessert. The other hailing from Sicily, is a cake made with ricotta and candied fruits and covered in marzipan that is traditionally colored green.
ZUCCOTTO – is a traditional Florentine dessert, its shape inspired by the rounded roof of the local duomo. It consists of a sponge filled with layers of chocolate, mascarpone, fruit (traditionally candied fruit) and nuts.
TIRAMISU – meaning "pick me up" in Italian – a reference, no doubt, to the generous shot of brandy in this rich dessert. It was created in the 1960s in a Treviso restaurant and has rapidly become popular in many other countries.
ZUPPA INGLESE– the name of this dessert, which is similar in construction to the English trifle, does not literally translate to "English soup," as might be assumed. The zuppa has the same linguistic background as the English "sops" and refers to bread (or cake) soaked in wine.
from Simply Italian by Sophie Braimbridge - my favorite Italian cookbook :)