Food Friday: Little Italy 10/13/17

Food writer Deanna Fox and Rocco DeFazio of DeFazio's Pizzeria in Troy, NY join Food Friday to discuss Italian cuisine throughout the WAMC region. WAMC's Ray Graf hosts.

The number to call is 1-800-348-2551. You can also email your question to voxpop@wamc.org. 

The following are recipes provided by Deanna Fox.

Chocolate Kisses (Baci)
Makes about 2 dozen

INGREDIENTS
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon dark rum
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 ounces semisweet chocolate
2 tablespoons chocolate-hazelnut spread

METHOD
Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter, confectioners’ sugar and kosher salt. Beat for about 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add the rum and mix to combine. Add the flour and mix until just blended together. Chill the dough for about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Form teaspoon-sized balls of dough and place them about 1 inch apart on the baking sheets. Bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until the cookies are firm but not brown. Allow to cool completely on cooling racks.

Meanwhile, place the semisweet chocolate and chocolate-hazelnut spread in a heatproof bowl. Nestle the bowl over a pot of simmering water (making sure the bowl does not touch the water). Stir the chocolate and spread together until smooth and uniform. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

Spread a small dollop of the chocolate mixture on the bottom of one cookie. Press a second cookie against the chocolate spread, making a sandwich. Repeat until all cookies are used. Let cool and firm-up. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

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Tiramisu

Serves 12

INGREDIENTS

6 egg yolks

3/4 cup white sugar

2/3 cup milk

1 1/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese

1/2 cup strong brewed coffee or espresso, room temperature

4 tablespoons amaretto or rum, or 2 teaspoons rum extract

Homemade ladyfingers (recipe follows)

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

METHOD

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the milk and sugar over medium heat. Cook until sugar is dissolved and milk is scalded. Meanwhile, place egg yolks in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Slowly whisk in the milk mixture to combine (be sure not to scramble the eggs), then pour back into the saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the mixture (this is basically a thin custard) coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat, place in a bowl and cover the surface directly with plastic wrap. Cool in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

While custard is cooling, beat together the cream, mascarpone, and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Once the custard is cool, mix it into the mascarpone mixture. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the coffee/espresso and rum/amaretto. Dip half of the ladyfingers into the coffee mixture and layer them into the bottom of a 13x9-inch dish. Spread half of the mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers. Repeat the process using the rest of the ladyfingers and mascarpone mixture.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 12 hours. Just before cutting and serving, sprinkle the top with cocoa powder.

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Homemade Ladyfingers

Makes about 30

INGREDIENTS

4 eggs, separated

2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Sift together the flour and baking powder and set aside.

Whip the egg whites to soft peaks, then add in 2 tablespoons of sugar and whip until stiff, glossy peaks form. Meanwhile, combine the egg yolks with the remaining sugar and beat until thick and pale (be sure to scrape down the bowl often).

Fold half of the egg whites into the yolk mixture gently. Fold in the flour and baking powder, being sure to combine. Fold in the rest of the egg whites.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spoon the batter into a piping bag and cut a 1/2-inch opening in the corner. Seal and pipe 3-inch long strips of batter onto the parchment paper, leaving about 1.5-inches between each ladyfinger. Bake for about 8 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool for a few minutes. then transfer to a cooling rack.

Ladyfingers can be made up to 2 days ahead.

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Homemade Mascarpone Cheese

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

INGREDIENTS

2 cups heavy cream (not ultra-pasteurized)

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

METHOD

In a large saucepan, heat the heavy cream over medium high heat until a candy thermometer reads 190 degrees Fahrenheit. The cream should just begin to simmer. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon to avoid burning the bottom. Stir in the lemon juice and continue to heat at 190 degrees for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. The cream should thicken enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature (about 30-45 minutes).

Place a strainer lined with several layers of damp cheesecloth over and empty bowl. Add the cream, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator. All the cream to strain out for 8-12 hours, preferably overnight. Discard the whey (it can be used in baking, if you wish). When finished straining, transfer the cheese to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. Use within a week.