Dec 28

 

This sparkling white wine is named after the grape from which it is made, and comes in semi-sparkling, sparkling and still versions. Prosecco DOC comes from the Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene zone located in eastern Veneto in Northern Italy, which is where the grape primarily grows.

Prosecco-Berry Cream Cups

Sparkling 31⁄2 cups fresh mixed berries, or substitute frozen mixed berries
3⁄4 cup vanilla confectioners’ sugar, divided
1 cup Prosecco, divided
4 tablespoons corn flour
8 meringue shells, crumbled
1⁄2 cup whipped cream

In a nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook the berries, stirring, until they break down, about 10 minutes. Pass the berries through a sieve and transfer them back to the skillet. Add 1⁄2 of the vanilla confectioners’ sugar and 1⁄2 of the Prosecco and simmer over a low heat for 10 minutes.

In a bowl, mix together the corn flour with the remaining sugar and Prosecco, then add the mixture to the skillet. Continue to cook, stirring, until thick. Remove from the heat, add the crumbled meringue shells to the cooked berry mixture and stir to combine. To serve, distribute the cream evenly among 4 individual dessert cups and garnish with the whipped cream. Serves 4

Note: If you can’t find vanilla confectioners’ sugar at your local gourmet store, you can make your own by placing confectioners’ sugar and a split vanilla pod (1 per each cup of sugar) in a sealed glass jar for 1 to 2 weeks.

Dec 22

You might not to be able to roast them on an open fire, but here’s how to enjoy chestnuts just the same.

1. Preheat the oven to 450°. Wash the chestnuts and pat them dry. Using a sharp paring knife, carefully score the top of each chestnut with an X.
Step 1

2. Place a sheet of aluminum foil on a baking sheet. Transfer the scored chestnuts to the center of the foil, and fold up the ends to form a packet. Place in the oven.
Step 2

3. Roast the chestnuts for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until a paring knife can easily be inserted into the top. Set aside to cool slightly for 10 minutes and peel.
Step 3

Dec 17

Panettone and pandoro are the quintessential Italian Christmas desserts. Today, these cakes can now be found in more than Italian specialty stores and can even be picked up in many local supermarkets. Part of their appeal is that they are ready-made desserts that you just have to slice when you are ready to serve. But if you want to do something special, try this ice cream-stuffed pandoro recipe. Although you will have to work a little harder than when serving plain panettone or pandoro, with not too much effort you will have a sweet masterpiece. 

Ice Cream Stuffed Panettone

Ice Cream-Stuffed Pandoro

1 pre-made pandoro
1 jar maraschino cherries with juice
1⁄4 cup white wine
1⁄2 gallon vanilla ice cream, slightly softened
1⁄2 cup currants
1 cup chocolate chips
1⁄2 gallon chocolate ice cream, slightly softened
confectioners’ sugar for dusting

  1. Assemble the ingredients.
  2. Using a serrated knife, slice the pandoro horizontally 1 inch from the bottom. Set the bottom aside and turn the pandoro on its side.
  3. Using your fingers or a spoon, make the pandoro shell by scooping out the center of the pandoro, leaving about a 1-inch border all the way around. Reserve the inside to use for the pandoro pudding recipe and set the pandoro shell aside.
  4. Drain the maraschino cherries and reserve the juice. Transfer the juice to a small bowl and set the cherries aside. Add the white wine to the maraschino juice and mix well. Brush the inside of the pandoro with the maraschino-wine mixture. Set the pandoro aside.
  5. In a bowl or on a cold, flat marble surface, combine the vanilla ice cream, currants, chocolate chips and cherries.
  6. Quickly work the ingredients together until well combined, without letting the ice cream melt.
  7. Add in the chocolate ice cream and mix only slightly to swirl the ice cream flavors together.
  8. Carefully transfer the ice cream into the pandoro shell, gently pressing the ice cream against the walls of the pandoro. Repeat until it is completely filled.
  9. Replace the bottom slice to cover the ice cream. Carefully turn the pandoro over so it is right side up and place in the freezer for 2 hours. When the pandoro is firm and ready to serve, dust with confectioners’ sugar and slice into wedges.  Serves 12
  • This recipe was featured in the December 2010 issue of our e-magazine Cibo. To subscribe, please click here.  
Dec 10

 

Whether for a holiday party, Christmas with the family or a New Year’s Eve celebration, these cheese puffs, made from the fine, sharp Italian cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano, will disappear even before all of the guests arrive.

Parmesan Puffs

Parmigiano Puffs

4 tablespoons butter
1⁄8 teaspoon nutmeg
1⁄8 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
4 large eggs
5 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated

Preheat the oven to 350°. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add the butter, nutmeg and salt. When the butter begins to melt, lower the heat and add the flour. Using a wooden spoon, stir until the dough forms into a ball. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, stirring each into the mixture before adding the next. Add the Parmigiano and knead until soft, smooth and elastic. Divide the dough into walnut-sized balls and arrange on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Transfer to the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until puffy and slightly golden. Makes about 36 puffs

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