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JustKay

Italian cakes & desserts beside tiramisu

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I am hosting a Sunday brunch party and my friends have requested an 'Italian' themed one. I don't want to make the Tiramisu (it's everywhere now). I want to bake a (stunning ... ha ha! :biggrin: ) centerpiece cake as well as one other dessert (maybe Plum Crostata). I appreciate any ideas. Oh and also, if you have a non-alcoholic beverage suggestion. Thanks.

edited to add that this brunch thing will be poolside so I don't fancy making anything that needs to be kept refrigerated.


Edited by kew (log)

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Two cakes come to mind; one I've made, the other I want to try.

The one I've made a few times (b/c it is so good and lovely looking) is Emily Luchetti's "Tuscan Cream Cake" in her book Stars Desserts. Five layers of spongecake (3, cut in half' use 5 of the 6 layers). In between is zabaglione flavored w/Marsala and Sherry. Fill layers and chill for several hours in springform pan. Remove from pan and frost w/whipped cream. Cover sides with crushed amaretti cookies and cover top with dark chocolate curls. Does need to be refrigerated up until some time before you serve it; but could stay out for a while unless very hot...

Lynne Rossetto Kasper has a great sounding recipe for a chestnut ricotta cheescake in her book, The Splendid Table that I've always wanted to try. It's also on her website: The Splendid Table

May be some other ideas on the site as well.

Another elegant cake would be a Sicilian Cassata.

Non-alcoholic drinks: Italian Lemon and/or Orange Sodas.


"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Thanks ludja. The Chestnut Ricotta Cheesecake sounds special and yummy (and seems easy enough for me to handle). We can get fresh roasted chesnuts easily here although I would have to substitute the rum. Do you think the usual substitute orange juice or pineapple juice will be okay? And how do you suggest I garnish/decorate this cake?

I have been looking at Cassata too. Emeril's recipe is marked as 'easy'. cassata@food network

Have you ever made Cassata?

Maybe I'll make both. :raz: I'm sure one cake isn't enough and I planned to make 2 of the same. But now ... I'm torn between the two.

edited to add : I went thru the site you linked and found this Glacial Mists Cooler Sounds very refreshing, don't you think?


Edited by kew (log)

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Can I gatecrash this brunch? I can bring some biscotti for coffee. :rolleyes:


Edited by TP(M'sia) (log)

TPcal!

Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

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I'm not sure on the rum substitution--flavor wise maybe a mix of orange and lemon juice. Could be interesting; I've never had chestnuts with too much citrus, maybe lemon. I'm not sure how the citrus juice would work in cooking with the chestnuts. It could be an inspired new combination; maybe someone else can comment here...

A safer bet might be to make a ricotta cheesecake w/out the chestnuts but flavored with lemon or orange. Another idea would be a ground almond cake flavored with orange.

If you do go ahead w/the orange/lemon substitution, you could decorate with thin strips of candied orange peel and/or a few whipped cream rosettes around the edge...

I've only been a cassata consumer...

If you make one of these creamy concoctions though--I like your first idea of a plum crostata as a second dessert.


Edited by ludja (log)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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the post about italian desserts reminded me that i have lost (misplaced) my most favored and beloved recipe for italian cream cake. i cannot for the life of me remember what i did with it!

i did a search of recipegullet and there wasnt one posted.

anyone have a delicious recipe youd been keen to share with little ole me?

thanking in advance

xo


"Animal crackers and cocoa to drink

That is the finest of suppers, I think

When I'm grown up and can have what I please,

I think I shall always insist upon these"

*Christopher Morley

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Hi Kew

How about bread pudding made with home-made panettone / pandoro (Budino di Pane)? This should be able to sit outside for quite a while. But it's more a comfort food dessert than a stunning centrepiece.

For more ideas, have a look at http://www.italianmade.com/recipes/bycourse18.cfm, a food and wine site by the Italian Trade Commission in New York.

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well, thank you, ms/mr gifted!

i am fond of the good old about.com!

have you tried this recipe? or either of the other two?

and i am not so sure i think chocolate ital crm cake sounds like a good idea, but........ one never knows, do one?

xo


"Animal crackers and cocoa to drink

That is the finest of suppers, I think

When I'm grown up and can have what I please,

I think I shall always insist upon these"

*Christopher Morley

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Couldn't you use a rum extract rather than the genuine article and preserve the flavor as the recipe intended?


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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[ignorant question]Does rum extract have any trace of alcohol in it?[/ignorant question] :laugh:


Michael aka "Pan

 

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well, thank you, ms/mr gifted!

have you tried this recipe?  or either of the other two?

Make that Ms. Gifted Gourmet, if you will .. Mr. Gifted Gourmet thinks ketchup is an entree ... :hmmm: none too easy for me to live with either! :laugh:

and, yes, have made the first version of Italian Cream cake with much pleasure ... the eating of it, not the preparation .. which is not even particularly difficult ... :rolleyes:

Enjoy this!!

Ms. GG


Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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and youre right, italian cream cake is deceptively easy to make.

xo


"Animal crackers and cocoa to drink

That is the finest of suppers, I think

When I'm grown up and can have what I please,

I think I shall always insist upon these"

*Christopher Morley

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Thank you all for the ideas and links.

Couldn't you use a rum extract rather than the genuine article and preserve the flavor as the recipe intended?

I checked online and rum extract has 35% alcohol content. There is one mention of a non-alcohol mock rum flavoring called Rum Compound but the link provided was broken and I doubt if it's available here. I do realize the use of rum in the recipe is for it's flavor but I won't miss the rum flavor. I don't mind the slightly altered taste of dishes whenever I have to substitute alcohol with something else as long as the result is tasty as well. In fact, I think if the cake has rum flavor and/or smell, it would be a turn-off for (almost all of) my guests do not partake alcohol too. I am attracted to the recipe because of the use of chestnut.

Can I gatecrash this brunch? I can bring some biscotti for coffee.

TP, you know I would love your coming to visit but unfortunately this is a high-school annual reunion/meet (where almost-40-year-old moms act like silly 18 year old school girls) as well as tahlil session for our departed classmate. The hubbies are invited along so they can look after the kids while us ladies do our thing. Can we plan something, with Shiewie too, maybe next month, during the school holidays? I'd be honored to host the pot-luck party :wink::biggrin: Btw, I hope you are able to go to the wedding reception next week since The Lodge is a lovely place. What a pity I'm in Melaka then (ooo .... the Medan Ikan Bakar Umbai is calling my name!)

I think I'll go for the Cassata. And Plum Crostata. And Baked Ziti. And Stuffed Chicken Breast. And Provolone & Prosciutto Bread. And Minestrone Soup. And of course, Breadsticks. And a friend gave me a recipe for lime sherbet which would be good as a good-bye dessert and a good ending to all the fat laden dishes! :biggrin:

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This recipe for cassata from the Tyler's Ultimate on the food network uses orange liqueur, which could easily be replaced with orange juice/flavor: Cassata. It has other citrus flavors too.

All the recipes say to serve it out of the refrigerator. I don't think you'll be able to park it pool-side for a long time-just a thought.

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For non-alcoholic beverages, you could serve San Pellegrino (sparkling mineral water), or take some plain water and add a few slices of cucumber and chill before serving. The cucumber makes the water very refreshing in hot weather.

Or if you can get some Torani flavored syrups (available in all kinds of fruit flavors), you could make cream sodas: half & half, sparkling water, and the flavored syrup -- the guest stirs it all together.


"I just hate health food"--Julia Child

Jennifer Garner

buttercream pastries

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TP, you know I would love your coming to visit but unfortunately ....

Hey, I was just pulling your leg! Couldn't resist it coz your spread sounds so yummy!


TPcal!

Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

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You can also make a pignoli tart, which can stay out to be served.


Portia

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mmm... torta della nonna ^_^

I recently saw a chestnut topped tart, just trying to think of where, if it comes to me I can pm you the recipe, chestnuts = bliss


Spam in my pantry at home.

Think of expiration, better read the label now.

Spam breakfast, dinner or lunch.

Think about how it's been pre-cooked, wonder if I'll just eat it cold.

wierd al ~ spam

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Woohoo!!! More suggestions and tips. Thanks a bunch.

I must try the cucumber slices in water. I'll have to provide plain water as well.

TP - I am serious about us getting together. Let's plan with Shiewie too. I don't mind what day or what time during the school hols coz we aren't going anywhere this time.

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Oooh party invite - thank you! Just tell me where, when and what to bring :biggrin:.

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Will have to think, think, think on the date and time. Not going anywhere too for the hols, except for a nite in Gentings; watching Annie (my niece is her understudy).Howz about doing a cake test (banana or chocolate) on top of the potluck? Is family welcomed? Yay, will this be the 1st M'sian chapter of eGullet get-together?


Edited by TP(M'sia) (log)

TPcal!

Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

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At the risk of a topic violation/hijacking : YES! Let's do it. I vote for banana cake. Of course, family is welcome. I'm sure the kids will love splashing in the pool. :biggrin: Let's talk more about the food part - in PM. Heh heh ....

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i know i am supposed to put this in recipegullet, but the ingredient wizard hates me, so here, for your enjoyment, THE BEST ITALIAN CREAM CAKE RECIPE IN THE WORLD (compliments of lisa's dear-departed grandmother)

ITALIAN CREAM CAKE

1/2 C BUTTER (RT)

1/2 C SHORTENING

2 C SUGAR

5 EGGS, SEPARATED

2 C AP FLOUR

1 t BS

1 C BUTTERMILK

11/2 t VANILLA

3 1/2 OZ CAN GRATED COCONUT

1 C CHOPPED PECANS

Cream butter and shortening. Add sugar, beating til smooth. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine flour and soda. Add alternately with buttermilk. Stir in vanilla. Add coconut and pecans. Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites. Bake in 3 greased and flour 9-inch cake pans at 350* for 20 to 25 mins, or until done. Cool and frost with CREAM CHEESE FROSTING.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

1/4 C BUTTER (RT)

8 OZ CREAM CHEESE (RT)

2 C SIFTED XXX SUGAR

1 t VANILLA

1/2 CHOPPED PECANS

1/2 C GRATED COCONUT

Cream butter and cream cheese. Add sugar, mixing well. Add vanilla. Spread between layers and on top of cake. Sprinkle with pecans and coconut.


"Animal crackers and cocoa to drink

That is the finest of suppers, I think

When I'm grown up and can have what I please,

I think I shall always insist upon these"

*Christopher Morley

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