From Mariolina's Notebook ...

Some of My Favorite Dessert Recipes ...


3 eggs, separated
1/2 C. + 1/8 tsp. granulated sugar
1 T. + 1 C. Berardi's D'Allessandro Espresso
1/4 C. Marsala or Amaretto
1 C. mascarpone cheese
6 oz. grated Valrhona Semisweet Chocolate
About 24 Savoiardi (Lady Fingers)

Recommended Reading:

The Italian American Cookbook
The Italian American Cookbook

In a bowl, combine egg yolks, the 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon espresso and the liquor. Beat the mixture until foamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the mascarpone cheese and beat for 3 to 5 minutes, or until smooth.

In a large bowl, combine the egg whites and the 1/8 teaspoon sugar. Beat until the egg whites are stiff. Gently fold the cheese mixture into the whites and set aside.

Pour the 1 cup of espresso into a shallow bowl. Dip both sides of each ladyfinger quickly in the espresso. Arrange a layer of ladyfingers on the bottom of an 8x8 dish. Spread about 1/3 of the mascarpone mixture and then about 1/3 of the grated chocolate over the ladyfingers . Continue layering, finishing with a mascarpone layer. Sprinkle remaining chocolate over the top and refrigerate at least 5 hours or overnight. 8 servings.

Gianduia Brownies

Source: Gourmet - February 1998

1 1/4 c. Hazelnuts (Filberts), Coarsely Ground and Toasted
4 oz. Valrhona Bittersweet Chocolate
3 oz. Valrhona Milk Chocolate
1/2 c. Unsalted Butter
1/4 c. Nutella
1/2 c. All Purpose Flour
1/2 t. Baking Powder
1/2 c. Sugar
2 Large Eggs

Preheat oven to 350F and butter and flour a 9-inch square baking pan, knocking out excess flour.

Chop chocolates into small pieces. In a double boiler or a metal bowl, set over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Melt chocolates with butter and Nutella, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove top of double boiler or bowl from heat.

While chocolates are melting, into a bowl sift together flour, baking powder, and a pinch salt.

Whisk sugar into chocolate mixture until combined well. Add eggs, whisking until mixture is glossy and smooth. Stir in flour mixture and hazelnuts until just combined.

Pour batter into baking pan and bake in middle of oven 35 to 40 minutes, or until a tester comes out with moist crumbs adhering to it.

Cool brownies completely in pan on a rack and cut into 16 squares. Brownies keep, layered between sheets of wax paper in an airtight container at cool room temperature, 5 days.

Makes 16 brownies.

Roasted Pears with Amaretti and Amaretto

4 tablespoons Di Saronno Amaretto or other almond-flavored liqueur
2 tablespoons Masserie di Sant'Eramo Balsamic Vinegar
4 firm-ripe Bartlett pears, halved lengthwise and cored
1/3 cup water
6 Lazzaroni Amaretti di Saronno (Italian almond macaroons; 1‚ inches in diameter), crumbled

Preheat oven to 425F.

Mix Amaretto and vinegar in a 13- by 9-inch baking dish. Put pears, cut sides down, in dish. Roast pears 15 minutes.

Add water and roast until pears are tender but still hold their shape, 8 to 10 minutes more. Arrange pears, cut sides up, on a platter and spoon pan juices over them.

Sprinkle with half of cookie crumbs, then baste with pan juices. Sprinkle with remaining crumbs and serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 4.

Panna Cotta

Panna cotta, a molded chilled dessert popular throughout Italy, is easy to make and can be prepared in advance. It looks and tastes wonderful with ripe red fruits such as raspberries or strawberries and with flavorful fruit coulis or syrups. This recipe is from the Osteria Giusti in Modena.

2 cups heavy cream, minus 2 T. to dissolve gelatin
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 t. gelatin (1/2 packet)
1/2 t. vanilla extract
4-8 T. sauce for topping, suggestions follow

Heat cream with sugar, simmering for 15 minutes. Sprinkle gelatin over 2 tablespoons of cream. Remove simmered cream from heat and add gelatin mixture, stirring to dissolve. Pour 1/2 cup of this new mixture into four lightly-oiled metal molds and refrigerate for 4-6 hours or overnight. Dip mold in hot water and run a knife around the edge; unmold panna cotta onto individual serving dishes. Serve each with 1-2 tablespoons sauce. Suggestions follow. Serves 4.

1 pint Fresh Strawberries, hulled and then tossed with Saint Secret Mixed Nut Honey
1 pint Fresh Strawberries, hulled and tossed with 2 T. Masserie di Sant'Eramo Balsamic Vinegar and 1 T. sugar, refrigerated 4 hours
1 pint Fresh Raspberries and 3 T. sugar, pureed. (Put through seive to remove seeds if desired)
Fondo di Toscana Fig Essence
Bella Cucina Dolci di Latte
Torani Hazelnut Syrup
Monin Casis Black Currant Syrup

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