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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great recipe selection, but some technical flaws
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...
Published 23 months ago by Whitney F.

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19 of 81 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars not what i was expecting .......very disapointed
i finaly got the book after so much wait
i went thru it all and i was very disapointed by the lack of pictures for the finished product there was only like fifteen pictures and two of them were for foccacia wich every american knows about they should have used the pictures for some other finished products ,i read a lot of the recipes to see if i can make some but...
Published on September 22, 2011 by mayan2001


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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great recipe selection, but some technical flaws, May 17, 2012
By 
Whitney F. (Lawrence, KS United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dolci: Italy's Sweets (Hardcover)
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). In spite of these issues, both the torta di mele and biscotti di meliga turned out delicious.

Bottom line: this book is incredibly well researched. If you've been to Italy or spent much time with Italians, you can tell that these are the recipes they make. These are the sweets they love. The stories and sayings reveal the spirit of the Italian people. If you aren't already in love with the country and its people, you will be after reading this book. As a cookbook, it has some issues and is probably best for someone who knows what these desserts should look like, or is at least comfortable making adjustments to the recipes.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Guide to Italian Sweets, September 24, 2011
This review is from: Dolci: Italy's Sweets (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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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yummy deserts for the weight conscious, September 24, 2011
This review is from: Dolci: Italy's Sweets (Hardcover)
Francine Segan is a guru of good and interesting cooking especially from Italy. She is also an outspoken member of weight watchers and has combined her love of food with an awareness of healthy living. In " Dolci" she has found easy and healthful recipes that won't add too much to your girth but will satisfy any gourmand's sweet tooth. Can't wait to dig in. Adrianne
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Italian sweet life made sweeter, September 25, 2011
This review is from: Dolci: Italy's Sweets (Hardcover)
Francine Segan has done it again. This book is utterly amazing in the spectrum of Italian desserts it covers -- from classics to contemporary updates on traditional sweets. And take it from someone like who lives for dessert but is hopeless in the kitchen. These recipes are easy to follow with spectacular results. To quote from the Godfather, "Leave the gun,take the cannoli." Francine's cannoli are to die for. So is the tiramisu. And believe it or not, her chocolate eggplant is killer. Yep - chocolate eggplant. Don't knock it until you've tried it. Along with everything else in the book. Thank you Francine Segan for writing such a wonderful book on Italian sweets. Sweet.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well done!, December 1, 2011
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This review is from: Dolci: Italy's Sweets (Hardcover)
She had me at the cover picture. Francine Segan has done it again; she's created a cookbook that isn't just fun to cook from but is also an interesting read. There are appropriate, humorous quotes sprinkled around the varied and interesting recipes, which are very easy to follow. I especially like the layout of the ingredient list: first comes the ingredient, then the quantity and preparation. Giving measurements in weights (metric and imperial) is a REAL plus as measuring cups can be so "off".
The photographs are truly artful and beautiful.
It's obvious that the author's heart and soul are in this book and it's a true labor of love. Can't wait to bake!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Italian Americans Rejoice!, September 29, 2011
This review is from: Dolci: Italy's Sweets (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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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ...dal sempliche al fantastico....., October 14, 2011
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This review is from: Dolci: Italy's Sweets (Hardcover)
"From the simple to the fantastic"

I received my copy of this wonderful book by Francine Segan about a week ago and have been baking up a storm, much to my family's delight. There are so MANY recipes in here that I remember from huge family dinners around the tables of cherished Zia's and my Nona. These recipes have the authentic flavors that I remember from my childhood, some of which which I thought were lost to me forever!

There is real artistry in the way these recipes are presented, with quirky/fun Italian quotes sprinkled liberally throughout the pages. This book is a wonderful journey of Italian kitchens from north to south. The author not only describes what regions of Italy that the recipe is from, but often gives a description of the meaning behind the name of the recipe, and/or how the recipe was traditionally used.

There is something for everyone in here, from the most simple breakfast breads, cakes and biscotti, to the wonderfully complex "peaches" which I remember from family weddings. There are also recipes included for ingredients which MAY be a little more difficult to find, check the international food section in your grocery store, or your local Italian spec. shop; or make it with the recipe in the book like Nona would have! ie..alchermes which is a spiced liquor required for a few recipes. There is no reason NOT to try something wonderful and new.

If you love to create wonderful desserts for your family dinner table, and you love the flavors of traditional Italian sweets, this book is an absolute must for your collection!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delizioso!, August 13, 2012
This review is from: Dolci: Italy's Sweets (Hardcover)
I've always relied on the awesome bakers in Little Italy for my Italian-dessert-fix thinking that they'd be too complicated. I made the torta di melone and found out that I had the wrong mindset all along. Not complicated at all! I was a little apprehensive since the 'batter' didn't look like batter at all - the recipe didn't include butter, oil or cream - just 2 eggs. Adding 3 cups of fruit (which swam in awholelot of vino for an hour or so) was the secret surprise. The cake turned out light, moist, delicious without being uberly sweet. I don't care much for frosting so a light dose of powdered sugar was all the cake needed.

I am so looking forward to trying the other recipes from this cookbook!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dolci.., September 25, 2011
This review is from: Dolci: Italy's Sweets (Hardcover)
Wow! Another great cookbook from Francine Segan. Went apple picking yesterday so I tried the recipe of the
cake on the cover. It turned out amazing, and was a snap to make. Just that
one recipe is worth the price of the whole book. Francine always conveys a love of food and cooking, with interesting bits or bites of history. I recommend giving this one to all your friends and family
this Christmas.
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4.0 out of 5 stars solid cookbook on Italian Sweets, January 19, 2014
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This review is from: Dolci: Italy's Sweets (Hardcover)
This cookbook covers a lot of ground and it does it in fairly competent style. By this I mean the range of Italian sweets is very large an attempting to cover it all in one book is bound to leave out some favorites. Also. many of the deserts really lack a single definitive recipe. For example, the semifredo recipes really result in the sort of semifredo's one might expect in the south of Italy. These deserts actually cover a very wide range through Italy and into Spain. That said, cooks really have to start somewhere and the expectation that a recipe will give you precisely the experience you had in a particular place is probably not very realistic. In many ways, recipes are starting points and these are consistently good ones.

That said, the book is well produced and the recipes are generally easy to follow. I would say this is a book that will work best for the experienced home cook and more novice cooks are likely to struggle. A good book on the subject.
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Dolci: Italy's Sweets
Dolci: Italy's Sweets by Francine Segan (Hardcover - October 1, 2011)
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