Tag Archives: dessert

Mini Cheesecakes with Mincemeat

17 Dec

Today I have a little re-post from last Christmas.  My lovely friend Judith from the amazing blog Joelix wrote this guest post for me after I had hand surgery a few days before Christmas and was unable to do anything for close to six weeks.  These Mini Mincemeat Cheesecakes have been a big hit here on Jillian In Italy (and Pinterest) and I’ve heard from several readers that they are absolutely delicious. I have them on my to-do list for this coming week-end.  Click on photo for last year’s post and free downloadable recipe.

joelix-mincemeatpies1Many thanks again and gros bisous to you Judith!
(check out Judith’s ABOUT page on her blog…by far the best and most creative photo of any blogger around)

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Italian Crostata

4 Jul

IMG_9551First of all I have to admit something.  For my first decade of living in Italy I didn’t even attempt to try a piece of crostata.  To me it looked dry and tasteless.  And it was full of jam.  I used to despise any sort of dessert that involved jam.  Then one day I found myself starving at a kid’s birthday party  and the only thing being served was crostata.  So I took a piece to relieve my hunger induced headache and I couldn’t believe how delicious it was.  At first I thought it was probably due to the fact I hadn’t eaten all day and chopped liver would have tasted divine.  But in the end I realised that crostata is delicious.  Really delicious.

This past week I spent the morning with one of my closest Italian friends and she kindly taught me how to make the basic Italian Crostata.  It’s surprisingly easy, only has 5 ingredients and it takes minutes to prepare.  That’s my kind of recipe.  There are the traditional jam filled crostata as well as the blind baked crostata pie shells which are filled with anything from pastry cream to Nutella to fresh fruits after being baked.  The options are endless.

IMG_9553Read on for recipe. Continue reading

Mascarpone Pots with Fresh Berries

7 Jun

IMG_8657Last week-end we had some friends over for a Sunday morning brunch.  Luckily the weather was beautiful so after months of cold and rain we could finally sit outside and eat and chat and enjoy the sunshine.  The little kids frolicked in the garden in Gramma-made princess dresses and the parents drank home-made beer and my famous (well not really) rhubarb, lime and prosecco cocktails with fresh mint (see post about those here).

Besides all the normal brunch fare I made these little pots with a cookie bottom, mascarpone cream and fresh berries.  I actually invented the recipe on the spot not really knowing if they’d be edible or not.  In the end the were definitely edible, I’d even say delicious.  They have a cheesecake feel to them without the heaviness (I did add a little cream cheese to the mixture though).  And there is absolutely no baking involved in this quick and simple recipe making it perfect for hot summers when the last thing you want to do is put the oven on.  I served them in pretty little jam jars with lids and they were devoured within minutes.  I’ll take that as compliment.

Read on for recipe:

Mascarpone Pots with Fresh Berries

250 g mascarpone
75 g cream cheese
200 ml fresh cream
1 tsp vanilla
2-4 Tbsp sugar (depending on taste)
tiny pinch of salt

125 g finally ground digestive biscuits
70-80g butter

1. Mix ground cookie crumbs with melted butter until well blended.  Press into the bottom of little glasses (or as I did glass jars).  You can decide how thick you would like the cookie crumb layer.

2. Whip cream until stiff peaks begin to form.  Set aside.

3. In mixer cream together the mascarpone and cream cheese until smooth.  Add in vanilla, sugar and salt and mix until just combined.  With a spatula gently fold in whipped cream.

4.  Drop the mascarpone mixture on top of the cookie crumb bottom (shake glass or bottom to level it out).  Sprinkle fresh raspberries and blueberries on top (or any other berries).  Refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour.  Enjoy!

IMG_8661

After our brunch guests left we headed out to watch our twin daughters play Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum in their theatre group’s rendition of Alice In Wonderland (Alice Nel Paese delle Meraviglie).  In case you’re wondering, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum are translated as Dammelo and Dimmelo in Italian.  Over all a really lovely Sunday.

Vanilla Bean Pudding

6 Nov

Since I’ve been off sugar for 2 1/2 weeks my baking has come to almost a full stop.  It’s sad really.  I miss all that mixing, kneading, stirring and blending.  Not to mention the eating of all those glorious sweets that I used to bake on a daily basis.  More than anything else I’ve been craving the Italian jam pie crostata.  I wouldn’t even try it for the first decade of living in Italy because it looked so dry but in the end it has become one of my favourite desserts.  I will be trying to make one this coming week-end (because I’m allowing myself the odd treat on Saturday or Sunday).  I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Because I was feeling so bad for my kids and the fact they haven’t been able to enjoy some good home-baking I decided to make them something special for when they got off the school bus today.  I was thinking of making a fancy fruit mousse or trifle but in the end I opted for the most basic of desserts.  Pudding.  Vanilla pudding.  I had never made my kids pudding in their little lives so I thought it was time to give it a try.  Plus, my mom bought me the most lovely little glasses that were crying to be filled with something delicious and creamy.

My kids liked the pudding but asked why there were little pieces of dirt floating in it.  I explained to them about vanilla beans and how wonderful they are.  They looked at me like they still thought there was dirt in their pudding.

It’s a simple and quick recipe and I’m amazed at how it turned out so smoothly and lump-less.  Read on to get the recipe…

Continue reading

Chocolate Oat Dulce de Leche Bars

15 Jun

These are the richest, sweetest, gooeyest, chocolatey-est bars you’ll ever eat.  When you take your first bites it’s heaven.  After you’ve finished a whole bar you kind of feel like you shouldn’t have eaten a whole bar.  It’s a love/hate relationship to say the least.  I would definitely advise to cut very small bars and eat them slowly.  You should have seen my son after he ate one.  He was doing laps around our house for over an hour.  Then he passed out on the grass.  Like I said…they’re so right but so wrong at the same time.

After making these squares I made the whole family go for a 2 hour walk in the woods to try and get some of the sugar out of our systems.  We saw these gorgeous roses.  The pink against the bright blue sky was just mesmerizing.  I stared at them for a long time.  My kids stared at me staring at the roses and asked me to hurry up because they wanted to go home for some more squares.I gave some to my Italian neighbours and friends and I could tell by their faces that they were maybe a bit too heavy and rich for their liking.  My British, Irish and American friends thought they were great though.  I’m thinking that maybe these would be better to make in the cold winter instead of the warm summer.  In summer it’s all about light, fresh and fruity around here (something like this frozen honeydew recipe from the  joelix blog or this citron meringue pie from the classicplay! blog would fit the hot summer weather much better).  Get recipe for Chocolate Oat Dulce de Leche Bars here on the Daily Crave site.

I found these plastic boxes in Chinatown in Milan (usually used for take-out in sushi restaurants).  They’re actually great for giving little baking gifts to neighbours and friends.  I absolutely love this Tour Eiffel tape that I found in Japan (and it’s not washi!).

Pomegranate yogurt Parfait

26 Nov

A few years ago a friend of mine made the following dessert for a party in the kindergarten where my children go.  It’s the most delicious and simple dessert and it looks so beautiful when served.  It has three simple ingredients: vanilla yogurt, pomegranate seeds and crushed meringue.  I usually fill a fancy cup a little over half way with the yogurt.  Then I add the seeds to the rim  and then sprinkle the crushed meringue over that.  With the red and white colours it’s also very festive looking for the Christmas season.  

Delicious and beautiful and  healthy!

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