Italian Carnival Fritters

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Today in Italy we celebrate Martedi’ Grasso (literally Fat Tuesday), the last day of celebrations of the Italian Carnival; except for Milan (my hometown) where the celebrations will begin today and will end Saturday February 13th. Carnevale is the most colorful and joyful Italian holiday where everyone wears a costume or a mask, and celebrates in the streets with festive parades, allegoric floats, coriandoli (paper confetti), stelle filanti (paper streamers) and delicious sweet treats such as frittelle or tortelli (fritters) and chiacchiere. This will be the last night of eating rich and fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season.

Take a look at my Nonna Fernanda’s video while making Tortelli di Caravelle (Carnival Fritters).

Enjoy this sweet recipe and BUON CARNEVALE!!!

Photo by Maurizio “OttO” De Togni – BreadLoveAndDReams.com

DIFFICULTY : easy

PREP TIME : 1h 15min.

COOK TIME : 2 min.

INGREDIENTS

1.1 lb unbleached all-purpose flour

1 sachet (1/2 oz or 16 gr) vanilla baking powder

5 tbs granulated sugar

1 egg

1 egg yolk

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

1 teaspoon grated orange peel

1/2 shot of Cognac

2 cups whole milk

vegetable oil and lard (or shortening), for frying

granulated sugar, to sprinkle

DIRECTIONS

In a big bowl sift together flour and vanilla baking powder.

Add sugar then one egg, one egg yolk, grated lemon peel and grated orange peel.

Stir with a wooden spoon until combined.

Add the Cognac, the milk and stir well. The consistency of the batter should be not too firm and not too loosely.

Cover the bowl with a lid pan or cling wrap and let rise for about 1 hour.

In a large skillet heat abundant oil with a couple of tablespoon of lard (or shortening).

Allow the oil mixture to reach the right temperature for deep-frying.

Dip a metal teaspoon into a glass of cool water than spoon a teaspoon of batter and drop it into the frying pan.

Let the fritters float into the oil until they turn upside down and are golden brown.

Drain the fritters with a slotted spoon and place them on a plate covered with paper towel.

Serve hot, sprinkled with granulated sugar.

Italian Carnival Chiacchiere

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No Chiacchiere, No Carnevale! That’s my motto when it comes to celebrate the most colorful and playful period of the year in Italy, where everyone wears a costume or a mask, and celebrates in the streets with festive parades, allegoric floats, coriandoli (paper confetti), stelle filanti (paper streamers) and delicious sweet treats such as Chiacchiere. Chiacchiere are sweet crisp pastries, deep-fried, sprinkled with powdered sugar and are known by different names depending on the regions in which they are prepared :

Lombardy : chiacchiere

Bologna : sfrappole

Tuscany : cenci

Rome : frappe

Tentino Alto Adige & Friuli Venezia Giulia : crostoli 

Liguria & Piedmont : bugie

Sardinia : meraviglias

No matter how we called them, Chiacchiere are simply delicious.

Buon Carnevale!!!

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Recipe & Photo by Ale Gambini & Angelica- BreadLoveAndDreams.com

Difficulty : easy

Prep Time : 30 min. + 30 min. to rest

Cook Time : 2 min.

INGREDIENTS

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 pinch of salt

1 shot of Grappa

oil for frying

powdered sugar, to dust

DIRECTIONS

In a large bowl place the flour, make a well then add sugar, butter, eggs, salt and Grappa.

Kneed by hand until the dough becomes soft and pliable. (You can also knead with a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook).

Cover with plastic paper an allow to rest for 30 minutes in a cool place.

Divide the dough in 4 equal parts.

With a rolling pin or pasta machine, roll out the dough 1/8 inch thick.

Cut the dough with a pastry wheel or serrated knife into rectangles 2×4 inch , make 1 or 2 incisions in the middle of each rectangle.

In a large skillet, heat the oil until hot then fry the chiacchiere in small batches until both sides are golden brown.

Drain with a slotted spoon and place the chiacchiere over a serving plate covered with paper towel.

Dust with abound powdered sugar while warm.

Italian Lemon Spritz Cookies + DKST Cookie Press Set Giveaway

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Have you already thought about Valentine’s Day menu? Here is my idea to celebrate the sweetest day of the year : Italian Lemon Spritz Cookies with Fresh Strawberries and Chocolate Swirls. I made these delicious spritz cookies adding fresh lemon juice and zest to my favorite Italian cookie dough recipe; then I shaped into hearts using my DKST Cookie Press, a must-have kitchen tool very reliable and super easy to use. I plated the little hearts along with halved fresh strawberries, and I garnished this plate with melted semi-sweet chocolate chips swirls.

I’m also thrilled to announce that on Valentine’s Day I’ll be giving away 2 DKST Cookie Press Set , sponsored by DKST Kitchen .

DKST Cookie Press is the new elegant cookie press from DKST Kitchen. This high quality finished stainless steel cookie press set comes with 20 disc and 4 icing tips to create your favorite designs.

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TO ENTER

To enter this giveaway, simply shout out on the comment below YOUR FAVORITE DESSERT FOR VALENTINE’S DAY and LIKE Bread Love And Dreams on Facebook .

For more chances to win, share on your timeline and let me know.

Winners will be choose randomly and announced on FEBRUARY 14 2016.

Winners will be notified via email.

Prizes will be shipped only in the United States (Alaska and Hawaii not included).

You must be 21 years old to qualify for this prize.

Giveaway sponsored by DKST Kitchen.

ITALIAN LEMON SPRITZ COOKIES

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Recipe & Photo by Ale Gambini – BreadLoveAndDreams.com

Yields : 36 cookies

Difficulty : easy

Prep Time : 25 min.

Cook Time : 10 min.

 

INGREDIENTS

2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

3 ounces powdered sugar, sifted

1 egg

1 lemon rind, finely grated

1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven at 325 F degrees.

Cream the butter with a hand or stand mixer at medium speed until very smooth.

Slowly add the powdered sugar and continue to mix until well blended.

Add egg, lemon juice, lemon rind and vanilla extract.

Reduce the speed then add the flour little by little and mix until well incorporated.

Fill the cookie press with the cookie dough and set the heart disk as directed by the brand.

Press the dough over a baking sheet as is (no grease or parchment paper).

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.

Allow to cool couple of minutes on the baking sheet, than transfer to wire cooling racks to finish the cooling.

Guilt-Free Tiramisu’

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Here is the guilt-free tiramisu’ I created for a healthier but still yummy version of the most popular Italian dessert. This recipe has been selected as Runner Up, in the Healthy Cooking Online contest issued by the prestigious Taste of Home Magazine, and featured in the Country Woman Magazine February/March 2016 issue.

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This tiramisu’ is incredibly light and creamy. For a kid-friendly version just omit the espresso coffee and use whole milk instead of non-fat milk.

BUON APPETITO!!!

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Recipe & Photo by Ale Gambini – BreadLoveAndDreams.com

SERVINGS : 8 

DIFFICULTY : easy

PREP TIME : 25 min. + 2 hours in the fridge for chilling

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, chilled

2 cups (16 ounces) vanilla yogurt

1 cup fat-free milk

1/2 cup Espresso coffee, cooled

1 package (7 ounces) Italian ladyfingers

unsweetened cocoa powder or dark chocolate flakes, to dust

fresh raspberries, optional

DIRECTIONS

In a small bowl, beat heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form.

Gently fold in the yogurt.

Spread 1/2 cup of cream mixture onto bottom of a baking dish.

In a shallow dish, mix milk and espresso coffee.

Dip quickly half of the ladyfingers into the coffee mixture, allowing excess to drip off.

Make a layer of ladyfingers over the baking dish.

Spoon over half of the remaining cream mixture and dust with cocoa powder or chocolate flakes.

Repeat the layer (dipped ladyfingers, cream, cocoa powder or chocolate flakes).

Cover with cling wrap, refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Serve with fresh raspberries, if desired.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil Chocolate Truffles

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Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Dark Chocolate are two amazing types of food not only because of their organoleptic characteristics but also because they taste great together. Chocolate Truffles are a variety of chocolate confectionary usually made with a chocolate ganache coated with cocoa powder, chopped nuts or dried flaked fruit. Their name comes from the resemblance with the fruiting body of the Tuber fungus. I gave to my chocolate ganache a Mediterranean twist adding a little amount of Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil and a smidge of fine sea salt. These truffles are melt-in-your-mouth, intense, chocolatey, fruity bites of goodness.

Another Homemade & Delicious idea for Valentine’s Day or any other special occasion.

Buon Appetito!

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Recipe and Photo by Ale Gambini & Maurizio “OttO” De Togni – BreadLoveAndDreams.com

Yields : 12 truffles

Difficulty : Easy

Prep Time : 20 min. + 90 min. refrigeration

INGREDIENTS

3.5 ounces Extra Dark Chocolate bar

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

1 tablespoon superfine sugar

1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

a smidge of fine sea salt

unsweetened cocoa powder and pink sugar mini pearls, for coating

DIRECTIONS

Break the chocolate bar into chunks and place them into a medium bowl. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat the heavy whipping cream and the sugar until it dissolves and tiny bubbles have formed around the edges.

Remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate chunks. Stir until combined. That is called ganache.

Beat the ganache with a hand or stand mixer for 5 minutes or until glossy.

Pour the ganache into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Scoop the ganache over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper with a tablespoon or  melon baller.

Move the baking sheet into the fridge for 30 minutes.

Shape the chilled ganache into balls by rolling between the palms of your hands. Remember to wet your hands with cold water to prevent from sticking.

Roll into cocoa powder or sugar mini pearls and place back in the fridge until needed.

Serve at room temperature.

How To Make Panzerotti

Panzerotti are savory deep-fried filled pocket of bread originally from Apulia region (Italy). They are similar to pizza and calzone and they taste just AMAZING! The most popular filling is made with fresh mozzarella and tomato (crushed or sauce). The name Panzerotto (literally potbellied) comes from the shape of this bread that resembles a swollen belly.
Enjoy every single bite!

Credits:

Ale Gambini (Host Chef – Founder – Video Maker)
Maurizio OTTO De Togni (music)
Produced by: BreadLoveAndDreams.com

Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.

Food Is Love

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I wouldn’t say that processed food, ready meals and even takeaways aren’t relevant to modern life, it’s just that over the past 40 years there are three generations of people who have come out of school and gone through their home life without ever being shown how to cook properly.

Jamie Oliver

How often do you cook at home?

How often do you allow your kids to help while cooking?

Maybe I’m a visionary or a dreamer but I strongly believe that FOOD IS LOVE. Teach your kids how to cook and love good food as my grandmother did with me. They will be more than happy to help in the kitchen and proud to prepare the meal for the whole family.  Expose them to different flavors from around the globe, they are citizens of the world. Allow them to play respectfully with food, they will improve all the 5 senses. Gather all together around the table, shut off smartphones and TV, talk together, enjoy every bite of your home cooked food. I’m pretty sure all this will pay back in their future.

Buon Appetito!!!

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Photo by Maurizio “Otto” De Togni and Ale Gambini – BreadLOveAndDreams.com