Saturday, September 21, 2013

Cookbook Review - Southern Italian Desserts

Southern Italian Desserts: The Great Undiscovered Recipes of Sicily, Campania, Puglia, and BeyondSouthern Italian Desserts: The Great Undiscovered Recipes of Sicily, Campania, Puglia, and Beyond by Rosetta Costantino
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received a review copy of this cookbook from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This cookbook is very specific, focusing solely on the desserts of Southern Italy. No breads, no main dishes, no cheeses, just desserts. As a baker, I thought this was a wonderful concept for a cookbook. What usually happens is that I will go looking for Italian desserts and I'll come across gelato, ricotta cheesecake, and those fried honey balls that are from several Meditteranean cultures. The specificity of this cookbook allows for a much deeper exploration of a regional cuisine that needs more attention!

The recipes I've marked as most likely to try are a good representation of the contents:

from Sicilia:
Biscotti Eureka (almond filled spiral cookies)
Cuccia di Santa Lucia (wheat berry pudding served on St. Lucia day)

from Campania:
Pere Mast 'Antuono Imbottite (ricotta-filled baked pears)
La Coviglia al Caffe (frozen espresso mousse)

from Calabria
Torta di Melee Ricotta (apple and ricotta cake, going to try this next weekend!)

from Puglia & Basilicata
Dolci di Noci (walnut cookies)

The only recipe I could not even fathom is the Crostata al Gelo di Mellone, which is a watermelon pudding cake. But it sounds so strange, and looks so interesting, that I just know I'll end up making it. I'm always the most interested in the recipes I can't imagine.

The cookbook is saturated with historical context, in fact more of the pictures are of scenery than of the recipes. For me, I would have liked more pictures of the finished product, but the contextual information is fascinating and makes the cookbook very readable.

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