02/07/12 Espresso Caramel Custard

"L'onesta la miglior politica." (Honesty is the best policy.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Fried Eggs with Asparagus Parmigiana
  -Potato Cake
  -Espresso Caramel Custard

"Quanto neve!" It has snowed and snowed! But if we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant. In the meantime, we'll keep warm by the bakery oven and wait for our scrumptious potato cake to bake. Enjoy this week's recipes!

Arrivederci and grazie again!

Yours Truly,              
Adriana Ciccarello       

 Cookie of the Week: Santo Trio

"Santo Trio" Almond Cookies: A soft and chewy Italian almond cookie with a crisp outside and tender inside. Made exclusively from our own home grown natural almonds, coconut, amaretto, lemon, the freshest farm eggs, flour, and sugar. No preservatives, additives, artificial colors, nor flavors. Serves 5-7.

900 grams (2 lbs.) is only 14.49 Euro ($19.00-$19.50) + Shipping.

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 Recipe: Fried Eggs with Asparagus Parmigiana

Fried Eggs with Asparagus Parmigiana
Uova Fritte con Asparagi alla Parmigiana


2 and 1/2 pounds asparagus
3 tablespoons butter
8 eggs
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


Cut off tough asparagus ends.

Using a sharp knife or potato peeler, peel outer skin from asparagus.

Tie asparagus together in 1 or 2 bunches with string or rubber bands.

Pour cold salted water 2 to 3 inches deep in an asparagus cooker or tall stockpot.

Place asparagus upright in water.

Bring water to a boil.

Cover and cook over high heat 6 to 8 minutes, depending on size.

Drain on paper towels; remove string or rubber bands.

Divide asparagus into 4 bundles.

Place on 4 serving dishes.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.

When butter foams, break eggs into skillet.

Season with salt and pepper.

Cook until firm.

Place 2 eggs on top of each asparagus bundle.

Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Potato Cake

Potato Cake
Pinza di Patate


8 large Idaho potatoes
3 eggs
Salt to taste
3 tablespoons butter, melted
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano cheese
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten


Preheat oven to 350F (175C).

Butter an 8-inch round cake pan with a removable bottom.

Fill a large saucepan two-thirds full with water.

Add potatoes.

Bring to a boil.

Boil gently until potatoes are tender.

Peel and mash potatoes while hot.

Beat 3 eggs with salt in a large bowl.

Beat in melted butter and olive oil.

Add mashed potatoes, Parmigiano cheese and flour; mix well.

Put potato mixture into buttered pan and smooth top with a spatula.

Brush top with beaten egg yolk.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until top is golden.

Unmold potato cake and place on a warm platter.

Serve immediately. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Espresso Caramel Custard

Espresso Caramel Custard
Fior di Latte al Caffe


For the Caramel Syrup:
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water

For the Custard:
2 cups milk
1 cup brewed Italian espresso or strong American coffee
6 large eggs
1/3 cup sugar


Prepare the Syrup:
Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan.

Cook over high heat until mixture is thick and bubbling and has a rich golden brown color, 5 to 6 minutes.

Pour caramel quickly into 6 small custard molds, tilting and rotating molds to coat bottom evenly.

Set aside until sugar has hardened completely, 8 to 10 minutes. (To clean hard syrup from pan, fill it with water, bring it to a boil and scrape sugar off.)

Preheat oven to 350F (175C).

Prepare the Custard:
In a medium saucepan, bring milk and espresso to a gentle boil.

Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered making sure that milk does not cook over, until mixture is reduced to about three-quarters of its original amount, about 20 minutes.

Remove pan from heat.

In a medium bowl, beat eggs and sugar until well combined.

Very slowly add eggs to milk mixture, mixing constantly with a wire whisk.

Strain mixture into a clean bowl and pour into prepared molds.

Place molds in a large baking pan and add enough water in pan to come halfway up sides of molds.

Cover with aluminum foil and place pan on middle rack of oven.

Bake 20 minutes, then turn pan around and bake 15 minutes more.

Turn pan around one more time and bake 5 to 10 minutes more.

Test doneness of custard by tapping side of mold. If custard wiggles, cook 5 minutes longer.

Cool custard.

To serve, run a thin knife around rim of bowl, detaching custard from bowl.

Place a round dessert plate over mold and invert to unmold.

Pat gently and lift up mold. The custard will have a glaze of caramel over top and sides.

Serve at once. Makes 6 servings.

That's it!

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 Only In Italy!

"Only In Italy" is a daily news column that translates & reports on funny but true news items from legitimate Italian news resources in Italy. Each story is slapped with our wild, often ironic, and sometimes rather opinionated comments. And now, for your reading pleasure:

Vatican: Fast Food Inhibits Dialogue

Vatican City - November 3, 2010 - The 'golden arches' of a well-known fast food chain are unlikely to go up anywhere inside the Vatican any time soon given that the Church considers this form of eating as a "negation of dialogue".

According to the Holy See's 'culture minister', soon-to-be cardinal Msgr. Gianfranco Ravasi, "fast food has become the negation of dialogue through eating. Let us not forget that a meal is at the center of the Liturgy in which food is used as a symbol".

Msgr Ravasi made his remarks to the press Wednesday during the presentation of the upcoming plenary session of the Pontifical Council for Culture, which he heads, that will be dedicated to the theme of "the Culture of Communication and New Languages'.

One day of the November 10-13 council session, he said, will see participants treated to a full-course Renaissance meal "in order to study the language of food, how it is a form and means of communication".

"Each course, prepared using Renaissance recipes, will be presented in a way to demonstrate how esthetic taste and the communication of meaning can go together," Msgr Ravasi explained.

Communication and a sense of communion through eating, he added, needs to be restored in celebrations of certain church rites, not only weddings but also funerals, as is the case in the tradition of the Eastern Church.

No-no-no. Once again, we have to disagree with that Vatican. Italians have always used body language, hand gestures, and food to punctuate an expression and give it an understanding that the word or phrase itself lacks.

- Our moderately obese cousin, Tanino, got so upset he had to go eat tomato sauce (his reaction to the senseless message from the Vatican's 'culture minister').

- Relatives who don't realize when they are eating (are relatives who are in denial for wreaking havoc on an unloyal family member).

- Cousin Claudia, the teacher, has more food caught in her teeth than one eats the whole day (it's end of the school year and so, many of the parents are daring her to fail their nincompoop children).

- "Vai! Onward to the next tray of lasagne!" (It's mid July and a group of Southern Italian state employees have just decided their work day ended before lunchtime).

- Daughter-in-law has prepared a 7 course Sunday lunch for her husband's parents (the happy wife doesn't want her brain picked or ideas bounced off her from people who have a history of giving so-called harmless opinions, especially when it's not asked for).

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