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Desserts and Sweet Snacks: Rustic, Italian Style Hardcover – June 3, 1998

3.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Italians, it is often said, are healthy in part because they finish meals with a piece of fresh fruit rather than a rich dessert. In fact, the Italians have a fierce sweet tooth. They make plenty of desserts at home and frequent local pasticcerie (pastry shops) regularly. They do, however, usually enjoy these sweets as afternoon snacks, as treats on special occasions, or when received as gifts

In Desserts and Sweet Snacks, Viana La Place concentrates on the simplest homemade desserts. Some of them barely involve a recipe. She suggests placing on the table an ice-filled bowl containing whole fruits, for example. If this seems too minimal to qualify as dessert, just read the passage describing the end-of-meal ritual of selecting and peeling a piece of fruit, and then leisurely eating it, savoring the aromas, succulence, and ripe sweetness.

When you must have something more elaborate, La Place offers peach halves stuffed with crumbled amaretti and baked or espresso, lightly gelled and topped with a dollop of whipped cream.

Baked desserts include a dense, nut-studded Italian Rice Cake and Hazelnut and Lemon Meringues. But La Place really proves how less can be more: it's as simple as finding ripe fruit and embellishing it with liqueur or some other simple flourish. --Dana Jacobi

From Publishers Weekly

It's come to this?apparently Italians even snack better than anyone else. Not content to rip open a bag of chips, they spread sauteed apples and apricot jam on toasted bread or munch on rustic bread and bittersweet chocolate to satisfy their cravings (so do the French, but it sounds more fun in Italian). Riding the wave of enthusiasm for all things Italian, La Place (Panini, Bruschetta, Crostini; An Unplugged Kitchen) has put together this bite-sized collection of rustic sweets inspired by home cooks throughout Italy. There's a rich semolina cake studded with diced candied orange peel and pistachios, and she suggests enhancing Sweet Olive Oil Quick Bread with pink honeydew ice cream. What could be simpler than topping fresh ricotta with cocoa, brandy and almonds? Just as welcome are her chic ideas for serving fresh fruit, from fresh figs stuffed with chocolate and almonds to the simple goodness of ripe peaches dipped in a glass of red wine. On the other hand, readers may have a hard time conjuring up when they might eat a piece of bread sprinkled with sugar and soaked in red wine. The least justifiable fat in the book is found in the short essays that accompany the recipes, most of which are clearly filler. But La Place does manage to tickle the imagination as well as taste buds. Hardcore types, either Italophiles or snackers, will come away from this idiosyncratic little book with a new perspective on eating sweets.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Cookbooks; 1 edition (June 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688141390
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688141394
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 8.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,320,988 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on April 6, 2000
Format: Hardcover
If you love cookbooks and especially love Italian food, this is a sparkling gem of a book. First of all, the book is lovely to look at and beautiful to hold. The paper just feels swell. But, more important, the recipes are miraculous. They are simple, often plain, different, and often so unusual you would never think up the combination on your own. There is a recipe for an open-face ice cream sandwich, which is a slice of crusty bread spread with lemon marmalade and vanilla ice cream. It is so delicious and voluptuous that you will want to eat it in secret. The book is wonderful to own and use and will make a great gift for your cooking friends because unless they have this exact book, they won't have anything like it.
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Format: Hardcover
When I think of dessert, I think of mixing, baking, etc, rather than simply combining items on a plate. I'm not limiting myself to cakes and pies at all. But the "recipes" here read more like salad recipes, combining items rather than creating them. The desserts in this book are simple, and rustic as stated in the title; mostly plates of combined foods drizzled with honey, etc. There are many pictures, and they are lovely to look at and read about, but very few of what I think of as "recipes." Yes, the final dish is something you have created, but I didn't find this book showing me anything new or interesting.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This enchanting book was published over a decade ago. It is beautifully produced, from the printing to the glorious photographs. Any recipe that I have tried has been 100% excellent, with the meringue/bittersweet chocolate/almond cookies a standout. There are imaginative ways to serve fruit as well. Buy it as a gift even for a non-cook: the pages are mouth-watering.
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