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Dolci: Italy's Sweets Hardcover – October 1, 2011

29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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 Segan lives in New York City.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Stewart, Tabori and Chang; 1 edition (October 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158479898X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1584798989
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 1 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,872 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Whitney F. on May 17, 2012
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).
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 24, 2011
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!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Italian Envy on September 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Francine Segan has finally brought incredible Italian desserts home. This is a fantastic collection of recipes that, once and for all, gives a great overview of all of the amazing desserts you can find in Italy. Even more notable is that these recipes are what people eat every day, not just fancy creations you find in bakeries or cafes. The book has terrific glossaries throughout that explain, in detail, all the wonderful cookies, chocolate, dessert wines and liqueurs, and even has an espresso glossary. No, Starbucks, you didn't come up with the Macchiato. Italy has a few hundred years on you. Next time you hit an Italian bakery, you'll know exactly what all those beautiful cookies in the case are and what they are made of. Even better, you'll be able to make them at home now with this book in your kitchen.

Also interesting are the many dessert recipes utilizing pasta, from simple crunchy cookies, to cakes and pies with cooked pasta as in ingredient. Fascinating. Also noteworthy is the chapter of "Weird and Wonderful" desserts. I'm dying to try the Yogurt Semifreddo with Radicchio Marmalade, Chocolate Eggplant, a sweet "lasagne" with eggplant, ricotta, and chocolate, and Sweet Spinach Pie.

All the classics are here too, like versions of Tiramisu, Biscotti, and Panna Cotta. This book is a real sampling of modern Italy's desserts, and sometimes unexpected everyday treats that are new to the US. Francine collected recipes from home bakers, bloggers, chefs, and bakers and pulled together a wonderfully useful resource. I highly recommend adding this book to your collection - not only will you be able to make classic Italian recipes from the original source, but will find really interesting and fun desserts that, no doubt, your dinner guests will be talking about for years.
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