Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Visit to Sicily ~ Part II ~ Sweets

Ever since I returned from my visit to Sicily, I have been online looking for recipes for all the wonderfully delicious sweets I had while there. There were familiar desserts, like the cannoli. But even the ones I'd heard of were deliciously different in Sicily. One of those is the cassata. Unfortunately I did not take a picture of a cassata even though it was on the breakfast buffet every morning. Yes, the Sicilians have sweets for breakfast. That fact makes me feel a lot less guilty for having a couple homemade biscotti with my morning coffee.

Breakfast array - including cannoli, cookies, filled croissants

The cookies were works of art. Do these people stay up nights trying to imagine more and more decadent desserts. And the coffee they wash them down with almost defies description. Even a latte macchiato, in the home of it's origin, is delectable. And...........I found a new one. It's called a "crema d caffe". It's cold, served in a small glass and kind of like "heaven on earth". I saw instructions online how to make it. I tried one. Dismal failure #1. I am going to keep on trying, though.

pistachio gelato and a latte

I have already attempted to make cassatelli. It looks deceptively like a ravioli. It is fried dough, filled with a sweet ricotta and dusted with powdered sugar. It was served to me on a plate, sitting atop a squiggle of chocolate syrup. My attempt to make these was dismal failure #2. I threw the whole batch in the trash can. However I will give it another try. I am not giving up.   
there she is: Miss Casatelli

Here's a few more examples of the Sicilian art of Patisserie

saw lots of these small cones filled with various sweet concoctions

Pistachio Pie - How do they do that?


Marzipan is ground almonds plus simple syrup. Almonds trees are plentiful. In a cooking class we took while there, we took small portions of freshly made marzipan and rolled it into tiny "polpetti", which were then rolled in cocoa and some into a sugar/cinnamon. Voila! truffles

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Trip to Sicily - Part 1

Wow, I haven't blogged in over a month. I've been BUSY. I've been planning a trip to Sicily which is history now but I am going to tell you all about it. Almost as soon as I returned back home, I've had houseguests. But, I'm about back to "normal" now and able to resume my normal habits.

I live in the northeast where Summers (June, July, August and 2 weeks of September) are hot and furious and as quick as you blink your eye. So all Summer activities (weddings, Summer vacations, garden tours, farmers markets, beaches, food truck rodeos, Jazz Festivals, Fairport Canal Days, Cottages, Abbotts ice cream, etc.) have to get crowded into 15 weekends (out of 52 - not a lot - about 29% of the year). Hence, when I returned from overseas, Summer already made her annual appearance and the normal, regular Summertime activities had begun, even though I wasn't quite ready for that to happen.

For me, this trip to Sicily was the trip of a life time, something I've always wanted to do. I did travel to Italy one other time. That was a visit to mainland Italy. This recent trip was to the island of Sicily, the place my grandparents emigrated from in 1894. I was hoping to discover some remnant of their life there. I'll tell you about that in another post.

For right now, I'll tell you what I was so entranced by. The way Italians hang their laundry in the hot Sicilian sun was totally enchanting to me. I still do that, in as much Summer sunshine as we get here on the shores of Lake Ontario.

Enjoy these photos of Laundry Day in Sicily:

I am assuming that inside the apartments, there is a washing machine but not a dryer. But who needs one? Sicilian weather is spectacular.