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Dolci: Italy's Sweets [Hardcover]

Francine Segan , Ellen Silverman
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Oct. 1 2011

Join Francine Segan on a virtual tour of Italy with more than 125 recipes for cookies, cakes, pastries, frozen confections, and more. Favorites such as Cannoli and Zuppa Inglese are featured along with unusual regional specialties such as Licorice Granita and Chocolate Eggplant. In addition to beloved classics and traditional holiday fare, readers will find contemporary sweets enjoyed by Italians today—including a light and luscious “updated” Tiramisù that does not use raw eggs. Segan brings each recipe to life, introducing the countless cooks from whom she learned them: Italian grandmothers and young foodies, pastry chefs and bakery owners, food writers and internationally renowned sweets manufacturers. A chapter on after-dinner drinks rounds out this ultimate, comprehensive guide.

Praise for Dolci:

“Italian home cooks seem to have a savant-like talent for elevating humble staples such as fresh fruit, nuts and cocoa to elegant heights. Their gift: knowing when an ingredient is at its peak and being unafraid to let its singular virtues shine. Evidence of that talent is on every page of Dolci: Italy’s Sweets, a new cookbook by food historian Francine Segan that brings together a canon of authentic recipes collected from the people who really use them”

The Wall Street Journal

“Full-page color photos and an elegant design make this a great contender for a gift book. A swoon-worthy title for those with a sweet tooth and open to expanding their dessert repertoire.”
 —Publishers Weekly


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Product Description

About the Author

Francine Segan is a food historian and the author of four cookbooks, including The Opera Lover’s Cookbook, a James Beard and IACP award finalist. She is Food and Home editor for bettyconfidential.com. Segan lives in New York City.


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Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book if you are not Italian March 8 2014
Format:Hardcover
It's a very nice book visually, some good recipes... if you are not an Italian from Italy like I am. They are all pretty much common sweets that all Italians can bake and cook without recipes, so nothing new and exciting for me. But good for people who are looking for classic Italian sweets recipes.
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  25 reviews
30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great recipe selection, but some technical flaws May 17 2012
By Whitney F. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I bought this book because my husband is from Italy and I wanted to make a torta di mele (the apple cake on the cover of the book) for his birthday. I could tell from the look on his face while he flipped through the book that he was being transported back home. The recipes are so authentic, and I really appreciated the information at the beginning of the book about certain Italian ingredients (I found the substitution for 00 flour to be particularly helpful). As far as recipe selection, authenticity, and pure inspiration goes, this book is 5 stars.

My complaint is that I feel like there are some technical flaws. I've had this book for about a week, and so far I've made the torta di mele as well as the biscotti di meliga. I was surprised that the torta di mele recipe didn't call for any salt (I tasted the batter, and it definitely needed it, so I added a pinch). The type of apples needed wasn't specified (I used Granny Smith, but I think a sweeter apple would have been better). Also, the author says to bake it in an 8-inch round cake pan. This surprised me because I've always seen it baked in a springform pan. It might just be a regional difference, but you do need a cake pan that's fairly deep (at least 2 inches). The apples just won't fit if you use a 1-inch deep cake pan. Also, unless you plan to serve the cake in the pan, I don't understand how you're supposed to flip this cake out of a regular cake pan. The biscotti di meliga recipe also had technical issues. It called for salt, but didn't specify how much (I used a big pinch, and that worked pretty well). Also, I didn't understand how you were supposed to knead that dough, or why. I tried, and all it did was warm the already-softened butter (which made my cookies spread to twice their size in the oven). In spite of these issues, both the torta di mele and biscotti di meliga turned out delicious.

Bottom line: this book is incredibly well researched. If you've been to Italy or spent much time with Italians, you can tell that these are the recipes they make. These are the sweets they love. The stories and sayings reveal the spirit of the Italian people. If you aren't already in love with the country and its people, you will be after reading this book. As a cookbook, it has some issues and is probably best for someone who knows what these desserts should look like, or is at least comfortable making adjustments to the recipes.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Guide to Italian Sweets Sept. 24 2011
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Francine Segan's DOLCI: ITALY'S SWEETS is a beautiful, illustrated collection of authentic Italian dessert recipes. With this book as a guide, Segan takes you on a tour of Italy with recipes for cookies, cakes, pastries, pudding, frozen confections and more from all regions of Italy.

An added bonus of this book is the added facts, history and anecdotes from the author's travels that go along with each recipe. When I researched Segan more, I found that she is a food historian who lectures across the country on dining through different time periods and cultures. For this book, she collected recipes from the people who really use them - homemakers, chefs, bloggers and even grandmas in villages so remote that they didn't even have Internet!

The recipes are simple and easy to follow, with most ingredients available at major grocery stores in the United States. On page 203 there is an "online source for ingredients" that lists a wide range of sources for all sorts of Italian products, chocolates, cookies and more.

Some of my favorite recipes for fall: Rustic Tuscan Apple Cake (I made this two nights ago and it was a fan favorite in my house), Winter Fruit Salad, Instant Chocolate Cake and Hazelnut Chocolate Kiss Cookies.

The final chapter, "Basics" is ideal for the at home cook who seeks instructions on making dessert sauces, jams and even pie crusts. Although not a tradition in my home, there is also a chapter dedicated to "After Dinner Beverages" if you are looking for coffee liqueur drinks and espresso.

This is a great cookbook to give as a holiday gift. I plan to make some of the desserts from the "holiday chapter" at my own dinner, especially the Pandoro Christmas Tree Cake. Ciao!
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yummy deserts for the weight conscious Sept. 24 2011
By Adrianne Lobel - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Francine Segan is a guru of good and interesting cooking especially from Italy. She is also an outspoken member of weight watchers and has combined her love of food with an awareness of healthy living. In " Dolci" she has found easy and healthful recipes that won't add too much to your girth but will satisfy any gourmand's sweet tooth. Can't wait to dig in. Adrianne
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well done! Dec 1 2011
By Auntie J - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
She had me at the cover picture. Francine Segan has done it again; she's created a cookbook that isn't just fun to cook from but is also an interesting read. There are appropriate, humorous quotes sprinkled around the varied and interesting recipes, which are very easy to follow. I especially like the layout of the ingredient list: first comes the ingredient, then the quantity and preparation. Giving measurements in weights (metric and imperial) is a REAL plus as measuring cups can be so "off".
The photographs are truly artful and beautiful.
It's obvious that the author's heart and soul are in this book and it's a true labor of love. Can't wait to bake!
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Italian sweet life made sweeter Sept. 25 2011
By Charlie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Francine Segan has done it again. This book is utterly amazing in the spectrum of Italian desserts it covers -- from classics to contemporary updates on traditional sweets. And take it from someone like who lives for dessert but is hopeless in the kitchen. These recipes are easy to follow with spectacular results. To quote from the Godfather, "Leave the gun,take the cannoli." Francine's cannoli are to die for. So is the tiramisu. And believe it or not, her chocolate eggplant is killer. Yep - chocolate eggplant. Don't knock it until you've tried it. Along with everything else in the book. Thank you Francine Segan for writing such a wonderful book on Italian sweets. Sweet.
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