Cantucci (or biscotti, as they are called in the States and UK), can’t tell you how many of those I ate when I lived in Tuscany. Actually it was one of my favourite dessert when I went at the restaurant. A nice glass of Vin Santo, the relaxed dipping of the cantucci in the golden boozy liquid. The most perfect way to end a dinner. Before Christmas I was unable to bake panettone so I indulged with backing plenty of cantucci and pandolce (a Genoese version of panettone) that I gave as a gift to family and friends. Searching for the best recipes I came across this one which is just perfect. I found it on a very reliable blog which I already known for years, Anice e Cannella. The only two changes I made have been replacing orange zest with lemon zest, which I much more prefer, and not brushing the cantucci with the egg (more out of laziness than anything else). A gift which my guinea pigs welcomed and appreciated very much. You can store them in nice tin boxes and bring them as a gift to friends who invite you over for dinner, maybe with a good bottle of Vin Santo!
Sometimes it does not take much of an effort to have a brilliant idea. One of the easiest ways is to proceed by mental association. What I wanted was to develop a recipe that would be easy and quick to bake but still quite stunning, even its simplicity. Something with bread. Mmmmmh, soup served in loaf…but what if I turned it into a sweet recipe? No, nothing like my beet and mango gazpacho, what I wanted was something more unusual and original. A cake! Well…a cake encased in bread might be a bit too dense. The answer was just around the corner…a cheesecake! Rolls are perfect to serve this cake as a single portion, the crust is crispy on the sides and is not too heavy unlike some cheesecake crusts which are quite dense and heavy. And imagine the reaction of your guests while bringing them to the table humble sandwiches for dessert? There are endless possibilities to flavour the cheesecake cream as well as the pairing of fruits that you can use to decorate these little delicious treasures. Making them takes very few minutes, a little more than half an hour. Ready to make a great impression on your guests?
Carnival could be easily renamed “Feast of fried stuff”. The most common recipes in Italy and Ticino are chiacchiere, frappe, tortelli and frittelle. Needless to say frying makes everything better, crisp and irresistible! A quick dusting with icing sugar and tortelli are ready to taste, hot and straight out of their brown paper cone, while parading between bright coloured masks and multicoloured confetti. Each region has its own specialties, and it is not hard to confuse them between one another. And what if tortelli believed themselves to be chiacchiere?
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In this post I propose the original recipe for the piadina that believed itself to be ravioli. Oh yes, the recipe was originally conceived as a sweet and only later I was asked to change it into a savoury version. In fact, the first recipe’s name should have been “Piadina that believed itself to be ravioli… but also a bit cannoli”because of its sweet filling made with goat cheese and candied fruit, like the traditional cannolo. Since no recipe goes to waste and blog posting optimization has become vital to me I propose the recipe with a slight modification in the dough too, with a mix of fine semolina and AP white flour which is reminiscent of fresh pasta. I recommend using goat cheese because it is much more delicate on the palate and less creamy (too much creaminess is likely to cover the flavours of the other ingredients). I added lemon zest and fennel powder to give some freshness to the filling which would be otherwise a little too bland. Sometimes it takes very little to make a recipe special and I am very happy to say this one passed the guinea pigs test with no problem, despite the presence of candied peel which are not always to the taste of everyone. If you are among those who do not like candied peel you can always replace this ingredient with chocolate chips or other ingredients you like the most.