I had always dreamt of visiting Italy since I was a little kid. I did not know anything about Italy at that time but the country fascinated me and the thought of going there for a vacation seemed like fun. I finally got a chance to visit Italy in Dec 2011 and it was one of the most cherished vacations ever! 6 days passed in a flash. There are so many beautiful memories I have; food, places, people, nature, architecture, scenic beauty… Needless to say, the food I ate there was the most authentic Italian cuisine that I have ever tasted. When I returned, I just had to try to recreate the Italian taste. There was a bottle of Limoncello that I had bought from my trip. Since I knew that Limoncello was a uniquely Italian Liqueur, I decided to incorporate it in a dessert. Luckily, I came across Jamie’s recipes about a trifle which had limoncello and bingo! So, here is a fusion of Italy and England for you 🙂
- Oranges – 3
- Limoncello -75 ml
- Sponge Fingers – 100 grams
- Mascarpone – 250 grams
- Icing Sugar – 2 tablespoons + extra for dusting
- Semi-skimmed Milk – 100 ml
- Lemon – 1
- Pure Vanilla Extract/paste – 1 teaspoon
- Fresh Raspberries – 250 grams
- 1 bar of good quality dark chocolate (100% cocoa) for grating
- Take a dish (preferably flat) and squeeze the juice of 3 oranges. Add the Limoncello and mix well.
- Mix mascarpone, milk, vanilla extract and icing sugar in a separate bowl. Grate the zest of a lemon and squeeze half of its juice. Mix well with a spatula or an electric whisk. Please do not over whisk to avoid any chance of splitting the mascarpone cheese.
- Dip the sponge fingers in the orange + limoncello mixture, a couple of seconds on each side and start layering your bowl with them.
- Once one layer is completed, cover it with the mascarpone batter. Grate some dark chocolate over this layer along with some raspberries.
- Repeat a layer of sponge fingers dipped in orange + limoncello. And cover the sponge fingers with the remaining mascarpone batter.
- Grate the remaining dark chocolate on the top along with the remaining raspberries and keep it in the fridge overnight to set.
- Just before serving, sprinkle the icing sugar and serve.
This is a perfect summer dessert which makes my heart happy and joyous 🙂 🙂
Hope you and your guests love this dessert.
Do share your experience 🙂
They say, the thing you hate the most turns out to be the thing that you tend to fall in love with. And I relate to this so much because I used to have a strong feeling of dislike towards Italian food. My husband, who loves Italian food, slowly introduced me to Italian cuisine during our courtship and since then, Italian has become *the* most favorite cuisine. The first (and now favorite) dish that I fell in love with was “Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli”. So one day, I was on a mission to make homemade ravioli with my favorite filling along with Tomato Sauce. So, here goes the recipe 🙂
Fresh Egg Pasta: Makes enough for about 4 to 6 servings
- Regular flour (or 00 flour if you can get it) – 2 cups flour, plus extra for rolling the pasta
- Salt – 1/2 tsp
- Large eggs – 3
- Olive Oil – 1/4 cup or 50 ml
- Baking Sheet
- Put flour into a bowl; make a well in the centre add the eggs and salt.
- Mix together with your hands, keep kneading until it all comes together.
- Drizzle some quality olive oil into the dough and knead it through.
- Wrap the dough with cling-film and put into the fridge to rest, for about 20 minutes. Note: At this point, the pasta dough can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours. Let it come back to room temperature before rolling.
- Sprinkle a baking sheet generously with flour and scrape the ball of dough on top. Divide the dough into four equal portions. Dust the portions with flour and cover with a clean dishtowel. Note: The name of the game at this point is to keep everything well-floured to prevent the pasta from sticking to itself or the roller as you work. If the dough starts to feel sticky as you roll it, sprinkle it with flour. Also sprinkle flour on any pasta you’re not working (rolled, cut or otherwise) with and keep it covered with a dishtowel.
- Roll as thin as possible, lifting and moving the dough constantly to make sure it doesn’t stick. Sprinkle the dough generously with flour and then gently roll it up.
- Thinner the rolled out pasta, better the ravioli. Also the rolled out pasta needs to be uniform in thickness.
- With a cookie cutter or upside-down water-glass or a small upside down steel bowl, cut out circles (or any shape you prefer) from the rolled out pasta.
- Ricotta – 250gms
- Spinach, wilted, really well-drained – 1 bag
- Nutmeg – 1/2 tsp
- Pecorino, grated – 20gms
- Basil Leaves – 3-5 leaves
- Salt – to taste
- Parmesan, grated – 1 tbsp
- Chop the wilted spinach roughly, add the ricotta, and grate in some nutmeg to flavor.
- Add some finely torn basil leaves through, 3 -5 leaves (optional).
- Finally add the grated pecorino and mix it lightly.
- Try to keep the texture of this mixture a little rough and crumbly. Preferably avoid over-mixing it into a smooth paste
Tuscan Tomato Sauce
- Garlic, chopped very finely – 4-5 cloves
- Tinned cherry tomatoes – 1 tin
- Basil Leaves – 8-10 (you can change the quantity as per your taste)
- Good quality extra virgin olive oil – 2 tbsp
- Chilli flakes – 1 tbsp (you can change the quantity as per your taste)
- Salt – to taste
- Heat extra virgin olive oil in a pan, add chopped garlic, basil and a little salt. Cook gently to let all the flavors merge.
- Add the tinned tomatoes and gently cook for 5-6 minutes.
- Finally sprinkle lightly with some chilli.
Making the Ravioli:
- Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil and add salt (do not add oil to the boiling water as you may have heard/read somewhere) keep the water at a rolling boil as you make the ravioli.
- With a teaspoon, take a spoon of the mixture and place it just off the center of the pasta discs/any shape which you have made earlier.
- Brush the edges of the pasta discs with water and fold it over. Press out any little air bubbles. Repeat this process for all your pasta discs. Dust the finished ravioli with flour to keep them from sticking together.
- Place the ravioli gently into the boiling water.
- The ravioli will only take a couple of minutes to cook.
- Take the cooked ravioli out of the water put on a plate drizzle with olive oil and grate a little pecorino cheese over.
To Serve: Spoon a little tomato sauce over the dressed ravioli and serve immediately with garnish of grated Parmesan and a Basil Leaf.
Phew! I know it is a lot of work but believe me, it is so delicious and the pride you feel on making pasta from scratch makes it worthwhile. Enjoy it with a glass of red wine 🙂
Your feedback is welcome 🙂
Tiramisù is one of the first desserts that I tried my hand at. I have never had a sweet tooth, in fact there was a time when I used to hate anything sweet. But Tiramisù which literally translates to “pick-me-up“, made me fall in love with desserts so much that I decided to wear the apron and go about making it at home. To my utter surprise, it was fairly simple and I must have made it at least a dozen times. And the even bigger surprise was that everyone who tasted it seemed to love it. I use the following recipe which is a result of lot of tweaks and adjustments over time and I hope you like the result.
– 3 large eggs
– 250ml Marsala Wine (you can decrease or increase the amount of wine depending on your preference. You can also use any other dessert wine if you want but Marsala and Tiramisù are best friends)
– 250gms Mascarpone Cheese (you can use more if you want to make the layers richer)
– 8-9 teaspoons instant coffee granules (you can also use instant espresso granules to make it stronger/bitter)
– 3 tablespoons golden caster sugar (you can change it depending on the sweetness you would prefer)
– Sponge fingers/Savoiardi biscuits to cover the bowl at least twice. Preferred shape of the bowl is rectangular with a good depth.
– Cocoa Powder for dusting
– 4 pieces of grated 70% Dark Chocolate.
- Boil 150ml of water and add the coffee in it. Cool it down and add 200ml of your choice of wine as mentioned above.
- Separate egg whites and yolks, making sure that the bowl in which you will whisk the egg whites is absolutely clean and the whites do not have any traces of the yolk. Any impurities in the egg whites will cause problems while whisking.
- Add the caster sugar in the yolks and beat it till the mixture is smooth and glossy.
- Add the Mascarpone cheese and remaining (50ml) wine in the yolk and beat it until its smooth.
- Beat the egg whites to form soft peaks and fold it gently into the Mascarpone cheese batter.
- Dip the sponge fingers in the coffee+wine mixture, a couple of seconds on each side and start layering your bowl with them.
- Once one layer is completed, cover it with the cheese+egg white batter. Grate some dark chocolate over this layer
- Repeat a layer of sponge fingers dipped in coffee+wine. And cover the sponger fingers with the remaining cheese+egg white batter.
- Grate the remaining dark chocolate on the top and keep it in the fridge overnight to set.
- Just before serving, sprinkle the cocoa powder.
I hope you like the flavors and enjoy making it as much as you will love eating it. I would be happy if you leave your feedback/suggestions.