Zabaglione is an Italian custard made from only eggs, not eggs and milk.* It comes from the Piedmont area of Italy, but I’m claiming it for the Piedmont of North Carolina. Why, you may ask? Well, it is a staple dessert of the Waldensian people from Northwestern Italy who settled the town of Valdese, North Carolina, 125 years ago. In Valdese, it is known as zabaione. I have made it even more North Carolina by using Raleigh, North Carolina’s own Oak City Amaretto, instead of the traditional wine.
North Carolina Zabaglione
1 dozen egg yolks from pasteurized eggs
1/3 cup superfine sugar
3 tablespoons (1 shot) Oak City Amaretto
In the top of a double boiler (off the heat) whisk the egg yolks and sugar. Add the amaretto and continue whisking until frothy. Fill the bottom of the double boiler with water and bring to a simmer or slight boil. Put the top pot in the double boiler and whisk vigorously for 3-4 minutes until the mixture looks like a smooth custard. There is a risk that you could get scrambled eggs, so you want to whisk continuously and with a strong arm. Serve immediately or slightly warm in sherbet glasses. Serve with amaretti cookies.
*I have seen some recipes that use milk as well, but most of the traditional and older recipes do not.
–Dina M. Di Maio, author of Authentic Italian: The Real Story of Italy’s Food and Its People, available at Amazon.com
Posted in America, Dessert, History, Italian, Local, North Carolina
Tagged amaretti, amaretto, custard, eggs, Italian, Italy, North Carolina, Oak City Amaretto, pasteurized eggs, Piedmont, Raleigh, sabayon, Valdese, zabaglione, zabaione
Periodically, there’s an article about how Little Italy is dead or dying. Yes, it’s more of a tourist destination and less of a neighborhood where Italian people live. There are still some Italians there, and there are Italian-American-owned businesses there. A recent article in the New York Times made me want to write a series on Little Italy Isn’t Dead and feature some of the businesses there.
Caffe Palermo is home to the king of cannoli, but they also have other great pastries too like this wonderful cassata cake. The café was opened in 1973 by John DeLutro. It’s definitely a must during the San Gennaro festival.
cassata from Caffe Palermo
Posted in Bakery, Cannoli, Dessert, History, Italian, Local, New York
Tagged Caffe Palermo, cannoli, Little Italy, Mulberry Street, New York, New York City, NYC
Do you have some leftover Easter candy and don’t know what to do with it? Well, so did I, so I made some treats with it. First, I had gotten two Reese’s peanut butter eggs and a Reese’s peanut butter bunny. So I made this Easy Easter Pie from Hershey’s website. What I did–Instead of the 20 Reese’s peanut butter cups and 50 Hershey’s Kisses, I used one of the peanut butter eggs and the peanut butter bunny and melted them in a double boiler. I didn’t have a prepared graham cracker crust, but I did have graham cracker crumbs, so I made one.
I also made Rice Krispie Treats from leftover Peeps. I had a pack of five pink and a rainbow stick with four multicolored Peeps. So I added regular mashmallows and made the treats the traditional way.
They had a light pink hue to them that you can see better in the following picture. Here’s a piece of the peanut butter pie too.
Posted in Chocolate, Dessert, DIY, Holiday, Pie
Tagged Easter, leftover Easter candy, marshmallows, peanut butter pie, Peeps, Reese's peanut butter cups, Reese's peanut butter egg, Rice Krispie Treasts
This year for Easter, I made an Italian Easter rice pie. I’ve written before about the Italian Easter pies, the pizza chiena, or pizza rustica, and the pastiera, or pizza grano. This is a variation of the pizza grano. The pizza grano is a Neapolitan wheat pie served at Easter. My family traditionally made this pie at Easter time. Part of my dad’s family is from the area near Benevento, Italy, and there they make a variation with rice instead of wheat. So he grew up with both the wheat and rice pies at Easter.
I wanted to be ambitious this Easter/Lent and make a lot more, but I haven’t had the time. I had wanted to make hot cross buns, but instead just got some yummy ones from a bakery. I’m also going to make a pizza chiena. My grandma has a variation of the pizza chiena that is vegetarian, using mashed potatoes. I don’t think I will be making that one this year though, as I don’t have time. Now, I do have a homemade crust recipe, but I can’t publish it or else I may get the malocchio from my aunt.
Italian Easter Rice Pie
1 1/2 cups whole milk or 1 cup skim/1/2% milk and 1/2 cup light cream/half and half
1/2 cup rice
1 cup sugar
1 pound ricotta (I use Calabro brand.)
1 tablespoon orange blossom water (You can find this at any Italian specialty shop like Di Palo’s or order it online.)
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 oz. candied citron (You can find this at any Italian specialty shop like Di Palo’s or order it online.)
1 deep dish frozen pie crust
1 regular frozen pie crust
Cook rice according to package directions (with water). Add milk and cook on low until milk is absorbed. Cool. Beat eggs and beat in sugar. Add ricotta, orange blossom water, vanilla and citron and stir. Put into deep dish pie crust and top with top crust. (I used a regular pie crust for the top and cut strips with a pastry cutter.) Bake at 350 for 1 hour. Cool and serve.
Posted in Cheese, Dessert, History, Holiday, Italian, New York, Pie
Tagged Benevento, citron, Easter, Italian, Italian Easter pie, Neapolitan, orange blossom water, pastiera, pizza chiena, pizza grano, pizza rustica, rice pie, ricotta, ricotta pie, wheat pie
Au Bon Pain recently premiered the CroisBun, a croissant-bun hybrid, and the latest in the line of cronut knockoffs. The CroisBun is different because it’s a cross between a croissant and a “bun.” I think it’s more of a cross between a croissant and a Danish. This one has strawberry and cheese filling. Normally, I’m not crazy about chain stores/bakeries, but this CroisBun is delicious. It is fresh. It is buttery and flaky like a croissant. And it also has the creamy cheese filling of a Danish. It’s not overly sweet but just right. It’s a winner. The name is a little weird, though because the way it’s written makes me want to call it a “croybun” not a “crowbun” like “croissant-bun.”