Archive for the ‘Southern Italian’ Category


01 Jan

Brought to us by John

 Unsalted butter for greasing
All-purpose plain flower for dusting

For the cake:
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
4 large eggs (at room temp.)
2/3 cup sugar
1 & ¼ tsp. vanilla extract

For the syrup:
½ cup water
1/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp. instant coffee liqueuer or dark rum
2 tsp. instant espresso powder

For the filling:
6 large egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
¼ cup coffee liqueur or dark rum
1 tbsp. instant espresso powder
½ cup heavy (double) cream
1&1/2 cups Marscapone cheese
1&1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Chocolate curls for garnish
Unsweetened cocoa powder for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease the bottom of a 9” round cake pan and line it with parchment paper. Lightly grease the paper and sides of the pan and then dust with flour.
To make the cake, in a bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt until blended. In a large bowl, using a mixer on medium high speed, beat the eggs until pale and thick, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar and vanilla and continue beating until very thick and tripled in volume, about 3 minutes more. Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the wet ingredients and, using a rubber spatula, fold gently until blended.
Pour into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake the cake until it springs back when lightly touched, about 30 minutes. Let cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Run a small knife around the inside of the pan to loosen the cake. Invert onto a cooling rack and lift off the pan. Carefully peel off the parchment paper. Let the cake cool completely.
To make the syrup, combine the water and the sugar in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil and remove from the heat. Stir in the coffee liqueuer/dark rum and espresso powder. Set aside and cool to room temperature.
To make the filling, in the top of a double boiler, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, coffee liqueur and instant espresso powder. Set over barely simmering water and beat with the mixer set on medium speed until very thick, about 3 minutes. Remove the top of the double boiler and set aside to cool, stirring frequently.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, using the mixer on medium high speed, beat the cream until stiff peaks are formed when the beaters are lifted.
When the yolk mixture is cooled to room temperature, add the Marscopone and vanilla. Beat until smooth and well blended. Using the rubber spatula, fold in the whipped cream.
To assemble, cut the cake horizontally into 3 equal layers. Remove the bottom of the 9” springform pan, close the ring, and set the ring on a flat serving plate. Place one cake layer in the springform ring. Generously brush and sprinkle with some of the syrup. Spread about 1&3/4 cups of the filling onto the layer and spread evenly. Place another cake layer on top of the filling, press down gently and repeat the syrup and filling steps. Place the final layer of cake on top of the filling, press down gently, brush on syrup and add the last of the filling on top. Holding the pan ring and plate together, gently tap against the counter to settle the ingredients. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or overnight.
To serve, run a knife around the inside edge of the ring to loosen the cake. Unclasp and remove the ring. Garnish with chocolate curls, then sift a dusting of cocoa over the top, slice and serve.

Makes 8-12 servings.

Source: “Desserts” by Williams Sonoma.


Sauteed Chicken with Olives Capers and Roasted Lemons

01 Jan

Brought to us by Jessica

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 lemons, sliced 1/4-inch thick
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Two 5-ounce bags baby spinach
2 tablespoons plain dry bread crumbs
Four 6-ounce skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 cup all-purpose flour, for dusting
1/2 cup pitted green Sicilian or Spanish olives, sliced
2 tablespoons drained capers
1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small dice
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
Preheat the oven to 375°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drizzle olive oil on the parchment, then arrange the lemon slices in a single layer. Drizzle the lemons lightly with oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 20 minutes, until the lemons begin to brown around the edges.
Meanwhile, heat a large, deep skillet. Add the spinach and cook over high heat, tossing, until wilted, about 2 minutes. Transfer the spinach to a strainer; press out the liquid. Wipe out the skillet and heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in it. Add the bread crumbs and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until toasted, 2 minutes. Add the spinach, season with salt and pepper and cook for 1 minute.
In a deep medium skillet, heat the remaining 1/4 cup of oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and dust with the flour, shaking off the excess. Cook the chicken over high heat, turning once, until golden, about 6 minutes. Add the olives, capers and stock and bring to a boil. Cook over high heat until the stock is reduced by about two-thirds, about 5 minutes. Add the roasted lemons, butter and parsley, season with salt and pepper and simmer just until the chicken is cooked through, about 1 minute.
Transfer the chicken to plates and spoon the sauce on top. Serve the spinach on the side.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Food and


Rosemary Bread

01 Jan

Brought to us by Greg

Biga Ingredients (Starter):
1/2 Teaspoon Active Dry Yeast
1 Cup Lukewarm water
2 Cups Unbleached, All-purpose Flour

Bread Ingredients:
2 Cups Warm Water (about 90 degrees F.)
1 Pkg. Active Dry Yeast
5-6 Cups All-purpose, Unbleached Flour
2 Teaspoons Salt
4 Tbs. finely chopped rosemary
Biga (Starter) Instructions:
Mix the yeast and water together, and then slowly start adding the flour, mixing well. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for up to 6 hours. Refrigerate overnight.

Bread Instructions:
Place the water in a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast overtop and mix well. Let sit 10 minutes until bubbly. Add the biga, flour, and salt and stir with a wooden spoon (or mix with your hands) until everything is mixed. The dough will be fairly wet and sticky at this point. Cover and let stand in a warm spot for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours until doubled in volume.
Punch down the dough, folding it over on itself two or three times, cover and let rise once more until doubled, about 1 hour. If you choose, you could refrigerate your dough at this time and leave it overnight to prepare the next day.
Turn out your dough onto a floured baking sheet, and without overworking it too much shape into one large or two smaller round or oval shaped loaves, using as much extra flour as needed to keep it from sticking. Slash across the tops of the loaves with a serrated knife or razor just prior to baking.

Add 4 Tbs. finely chopped rosemary to the flour. Brush the loaves with water and sprinkle with coarse sea salt just prior to baking.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. and place a casserole dish with boiling water on the lower oven rack. Bake your bread 30 minutes, turn the baking sheet around, and reduce the heat to 300 degrees and bake for another 30-45 minutes. At this point your bread should be golden brown and should sound hollow when you tap the bottom. Allow the bread to cool to room temperature and serve.
Baking Tip: You could also use a baguette pan to make long thin loaves, or spread your dough across a well-oiled cookie sheet to make focaccia.
Variations – Olive Bread: Add 12 oz. flavorful pitted olives, coarsely chopped to the flour mixture.