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The Cooking and Cuisine of Liguria


Kevin72
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Andrews provides recipes for the following desserts:

Bugie--similar to beignets, served with zabaione and flavored with orange water

Panettone, if Genoese version, with currents, raisins, orange peel, fennel seeds...

Polenta e Aanso--prepared as polenta customarily is made, dusted with sugar and covered with Seville or blood orange slices (I found Cara Cara oranges). More sugar if oranges are not very sweet. Drizzle with olive oil. Serve warm.

Del Conte: Sciumette with cinnamon and pistachio (see Kevin's reply).

I'm sure some of the links at the beginning of this thread offer more.

Then, of course, there is always fruit.

Edited by Pontormo (log)

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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I finally did a little research. A google search on "Ligurian Desserts" turned up some possibilities, but few recipes. A Ligurian website mentioned cookies called canestrelli and gobelletti, which are apparently made from pasta frolla. The Martha Stewart Living

website had a recipe by Pierre Herme for a "Ligurian Lemon Cake", so it's guaranteed to be authentic, right? :wink:

The weather is nasty today, so maybe I can finally stay inside and cook something decent.

April

One cantaloupe is ripe and lush/Another's green, another's mush/I'd buy a lot more cantaloupe/ If I possessed a fluoroscope. Ogden Nash

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Contains Limoncello right?

If it does, it must be a modern twist. The recipes I have for the cake simply call for lemon juice and zests.

Limoncello comes from Campania (those from Amalfi, Capri and Procida are the best IMO), and there is no equivalent that I know of in Liguria.

Il Forno: eating, drinking, baking... mostly side effect free. Italian food from an Italian kitchen.
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No, the cake calls for the zest of two lemons, a meringue, plus fresh berries both in the batter and on top. Here's the link: Ligurian Lemon Cake

I'm sure that it's not authentic, but I have no idea why Pierre Herme gave the recipe that title.

This website has this to say about popular sweets in Liguria:

The best-known Ligurian sweet speciality is undoubtedly "pandolce" (Genoa cake), a cake made with butter, candied fruit and raisins. You will find it on tables all over Italy at Christmas together with a similar cake made in Milan.  Also well known are "amaretti" from Sassello, "gobelletti" from Rapallo and Lagaccio biscuits. The typical butter biscuits called "canestrelli" are popular all over the province of Genoa: the particularly popular ones are those made in Torriglia, Montebruno, and Acquasanta in the municipality of Mele. There is also an aromatic variety containing fennel seeds that is made in Monterosso.

However, Adam's actual experience trumps any claims on a website. :smile:

April

edited to fix the quotes

Edited by azureus (log)

One cantaloupe is ripe and lush/Another's green, another's mush/I'd buy a lot more cantaloupe/ If I possessed a fluoroscope. Ogden Nash

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Contains Limoncello right?

If it does, it must be a modern twist. The recipes I have for the cake simply call for lemon juice and zests.

Limoncello comes from Campania (those from Amalfi, Capri and Procida are the best IMO), and there is no equivalent that I know of in Liguria.

Click. Often labeled as limoncello, there are huge amounts of it sold in the Cinque Terra. If you are lucky you can also get Cedrocello.

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Right, and forgive my ignorance here, but what's cedro?

My husband just bought some cedro preserved in rose water. He and the kids gobbled it up in 2 days. I guess it's good stuff.

Edited by Shaya (log)
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Contains Limoncello right?

If it does, it must be a modern twist. The recipes I have for the cake simply call for lemon juice and zests.

Limoncello comes from Campania (those from Amalfi, Capri and Procida are the best IMO), and there is no equivalent that I know of in Liguria.

Click. Often labeled as limoncello, there are huge amounts of it sold in the Cinque Terra. If you are lucky you can also get Cedrocello.

Adam, nice to see the Ligurians are using their traditional sense for commerce. Nonetheless, I would bet that they haven't been producing the stuff for more than 20-25 years. Before the 80s limoncello/limoncino was known only in Campania and in particular produced in the area between Neapolitan Islands (Capri, Ischia and Procida) and the Amalfi coast. I am pretty sure of that because my family has some very close Ligurian friends and we used to bring them limoncello whenever we visited a few years back because they could not find the stuff there.

About mid 80s, Limoncello's fame boomed and it is now produced everywhere, from Sicily to... Liguria :smile: . Can't really understand why to be honest, the stuff is way too sweet for my taste.

Il Forno: eating, drinking, baking... mostly side effect free. Italian food from an Italian kitchen.
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How old is this tradition of steeping aromatics in a grain alcohol and then mixing it with sugar? Is this the same process for Nocino/Nocello (the walnut liquor) up north? Where did the originate from?

Doesn't Sicily have its own tradition for this practice? I had always surmised that Sicily and Campania had their own traditions for this method, and just that Limoncello from Campania took off first because of all the tourism along the Amalfi coast.

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Kevin mentioned this earlier, but where are the Ligurian desserts. Other than a tart early on with jam filling (not Ligurian per se is it?) dolci have been scarce. I certainly did not make any. Any suggestions for a last Ligurian meal with dolci?

Speaking of overly sweet concoctions, according to Fred Plotkin, marrons glacee were first made in Genoa during French occupation.

* * *

A plug for Naples:

During a browsing session at a bookstore last night I came upon a recipe for chocolate-filled eggplant timbale slathered in a chocolate glaze. Eggplants appear in the market in what, late July? August?

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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How old is this tradition of steeping aromatics in a grain alcohol and then mixing it with sugar?  Is this the same process for Nocino/Nocello (the walnut liquor) up north?  Where did the originate from?

Doesn't Sicily have its own tradition for this practice?  I had always surmised that Sicily and Campania had their own traditions for this method, and just that Limoncello from Campania took off first because of all the tourism along the Amalfi coast.

Good question Kevin. My first thought was that I bet the tradition hinged on the sugar....when sugar became readily available. But honey would do the same trick as sugar, so its has to be a very, very ancient tradition, not any more specific to a region than wine producing. (Whereas refined sugar played a huge role in the development of pastry as we know it.)

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Kevin mentioned this earlier, but where are the Ligurian desserts. Other than a tart early on with jam filling (not Ligurian per se is it?) dolci have been scarce. I certainly did not make any. Any suggestions for a last Ligurian meal with dolci?

Speaking of overly sweet concoctions, according to Fred Plotkin, marrons glacee were first made in Genoa during French occupation.

* * *

A plug for Naples:

During a browsing session at a bookstore last night I came upon a recipe for chocolate-filled eggplant timbale slathered in a chocolate glaze. Eggplants appear in the market in what, late July? August?

I think there's a recipe for it in di Blasi's Southern book. And, there's a similar item, albeit a cookie, in Sicilian traditions as well.

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Contains Limoncello right?

If it does, it must be a modern twist. The recipes I have for the cake simply call for lemon juice and zests.

Limoncello comes from Campania (those from Amalfi, Capri and Procida are the best IMO), and there is no equivalent that I know of in Liguria.

Click. Often labeled as limoncello, there are huge amounts of it sold in the Cinque Terra. If you are lucky you can also get Cedrocello.

Adam, nice to see the Ligurians are using their traditional sense for commerce. Nonetheless, I would bet that they haven't been producing the stuff for more than 20-25 years. Before the 80s limoncello/limoncino was known only in Campania and in particular produced in the area between Neapolitan Islands (Capri, Ischia and Procida) and the Amalfi coast. I am pretty sure of that because my family has some very close Ligurian friends and we used to bring them limoncello whenever we visited a few years back because they could not find the stuff there.

About mid 80s, Limoncello's fame boomed and it is now produced everywhere, from Sicily to... Liguria :smile: . Can't really understand why to be honest, the stuff is way too sweet for my taste.

Oh, yes I quite agree. But how long does it take to make it a local product, if not regional?

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....

Adam, nice to see the Ligurians are using their traditional sense for commerce. Nonetheless, I would bet that they haven't been producing the stuff for more than 20-25 years. Before the 80s limoncello/limoncino was known only in Campania and in particular produced in the area between Neapolitan Islands (Capri, Ischia and Procida) and the Amalfi coast. I am pretty sure of that because my family has some very close Ligurian friends and we used to bring them limoncello whenever we visited a few years back because they could not find the stuff there.

About mid 80s, Limoncello's fame boomed and it is now produced everywhere, from Sicily to... Liguria  :smile: . Can't really understand why to be honest, the stuff is way too sweet for my taste.

Oh, yes I quite agree. But how long does it take to make it a local product, if not regional?

Good question, with deep cultural implications.

Without wanting to sound definitive about it (I'm not sure I am 100% convinced about the reply myself), I would say that it has more to do with how much a certain dish/ingredient has become part of the local culinary habits than with time. For example: is a certain dish recognised as "own" by the locals? If yes, then I'd certainly say that the dish has become part of the gastronomical culture and hence is now part of the regional tradition. Take the preparation of rice for arancine in Sicily: nowadays almost all recipes call for the rice to be cooked risotto style. This is probably a relatively recent development (say the last 40-50 years), yet I think most Sicilian nowadays see this as part of the tradition and many would probably shake their head if you told them their rice preparation method comes from Northern Italy (others would not since some recipes call explicitly for riso alla Milanesa).

On the other hand, something like limoncino in Liguria might become tradition or not, but to me it sounds more like a commercial idea aimed at exploiting the popularity of a product that is not part of the local tradition than something the locals would think of as belonging to their popular culture. Sure, it might change –if the limoncello trend holds on– and in that case it will indeed be a matter of time... a little bit more time probably :rolleyes: .

Il Forno: eating, drinking, baking... mostly side effect free. Italian food from an Italian kitchen.
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Just before our month in Liguria ends, I managed one more Ligurian meal:

Vegetable and cheese ravioli from the Plotkin book.

He says to use borage or beetgreens for the vegetable, I used a mixture of 3/4 swiss chard and 1/4 parsley (because I had a huge bunch of crispy fresh parsley in the fridge). The rest of the filling is ricotta, parmesan, and an egg. I added a bit of lemonjuice.

Plotkin says to sauce with either a tomato sauce or pesto, I was rebellious and did neither (or both) by heating some butter, oil, garlic, lots of shredded basil, and some sweet cherry tomatoes together in a pan. Poured that over the pasta, sprinkled with pinenuts and parmesan, and some fresh basil.

Something like 'deconstructed pesto with tomatoes thrown in' :biggrin: anyway it was really good! Glad I took out my pastamaker again.

gallery_21505_2929_46180.jpg

gallery_21505_2929_28377.jpg

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Beautiful, Klary!*

You beat me to it, although I haven't decided whether to use my chard for a Ligurian torta or for an herby ravioli (to fry).

I still haven't baked focaccia, though June doesn't begin until Thursday.

I am glad you mentioned borage since I was thinking about posting elsewhere about the very thing.

Andrews explains what borage is ("boraxa" in Genoa; "borraggine" elsewhere). I see references to the leafy herb (with edible blue blossoms), especially in cookbooks by Deborah Madison and other authors who depend heavily on produce as a source of inspiration. I can't recall ever seeing it on sale in places I've lived in the US.

Does anyone here have access to it?

*Stuffed pasta, no less!!! I guess you got over your burn-out.

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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