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Sweet Sicily: The Story of an Island and Her Pastries Hardcover – August 21, 2001


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Sweet Sicily: The Story of an Island and Her Pastries + Southern Italian Desserts: Rediscovering the Sweet Traditions of Calabria, Campania, Basilicata, Puglia, and Sicily
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Cookbooks; 1 edition (August 21, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060393238
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060393236
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.2 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #597,486 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In Sicily they eat ice cream for breakfast. That fact alone was enough to convince Victoria Granof that she had to go there. Sweet Sicily: The Story of an Island and Her Pastries is the result of a number of Granof's visits to Sicily, during which she confesses she ate more sweets than she ever thought possible. With plenty of humor and great respect, Granof shares what she learned from her experiences in Sicily and the friends she made there. Few of these sweets are fancy, and all are very traditional. Light and crispy Sweet Ricotta Turnovers from the Bar di Noto in Piana degli Albanesi and Chewy Pistachio Cookies shared by Giuseppe Chemi of Pasticceria Etna in Taormina are Sicily personified. All 106 of the recipes, such as the elegant little Engagement Cookies filled with almonds and cinnamon and honey-drenched Rice Fritters, call for the same ingredients the Sicilians have used for centuries. Learn to make homemade ricotta cheese and you won't believe how good your cannoli can be. --Leora Y. Bloom

From Publishers Weekly

Sicilian sweets are more than simply desserts each one has a particular significance in the island's varied and unique culture and history. In this, her debut work, Granof, a New York City chef who trained at Le Cordon Bleu, wonderfully integrates the myth and mysticism of Sicily with solid, easy-to-follow recipes and gorgeous photos. N'zuddi, for example, are orange and almond cookies shaped in a square to honor Messina's patron saint, the Madonna della Lettera, and the letter she brought to the town from Jerusalem in A.D. 43. Minni di Vergine, or virgin's breasts, are small mounds of pudding encased in pastry dough with candied-cherry nipples, which Sicilians eat "with reverence" to honor the martyred Saint Agatha. The Rice Fritters of Siracusa were originally made in the 18th century by Benedictine monks, and Jasmine Gelato uses flowers originally planted by Arabs over 1,000 years ago. Some Sicilian desserts, such as Cannoli, are well-known in the U.S., but Granof presents them in their classic form. Feature pieces on Sicilian bakers, like Franco Ruta of Modica's Antica Dolceria Bonajuto, are great fun, as are the author's recollections of her own experiences eating in Sicily. With inspired confidence, Granof offers an unusual addition to the crowded shelves of Italian cookbooks. (June 1)Forecast: Part history book, part travel memoir, this original, beautiful book seems destined for success and will certainly appeal to fans of Mary Taylor Simeti and Carol Field.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


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Customer Reviews

I have tried a few of the recipes and they are quite good.
REalHousewife
I can tell you from experience that this cookbook is much more than just a cookbook.
Hurricaneman
The history included makes it all that much more interesting.
Elizabeth

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 26, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is a fantastic book! The recipes are great and the photography is really beautiful. The history of the island is so fascinating and is covered well in this book. It is a nice set up to the recipes... its wonderful to get some background on why Sicilian pastries are the way they are. I also enjoyed learning which pastries are associated with religious observences. This book also brought back great memories. The Ricotta Turnovers in the book are very similar to the "Cassateddi" that my Sicilian grandmother loves. The author does an excellent job of providing mail order resources for some hard to get ingredients and provides infomation on how to make a reasonable approximation of other components yourself. (like Fresh Ricotta) I would also like to clear up a misconception. Two previous reviewers indicated that there was a typo on the Chewy Pistachio cookie recipe just because flour was not listed. It is NOT an ingredient in the cookie. If you read further and pay attention to the instructions, flour is not called for. Not every cookie has flour and not every cookie is made like Americans make things. As for the person who said that the picture showed flour... rest assured, the cookie is dusted with powdered sugar which is in the recipe (and much tastier than dusting it with flour). No typo there, just a different (and delicious)type of cookie.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 4, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book contains authenticity throughout--the photographs, the history, and the recipes. Beautifully written and photographed, the book will warm the heart of Sicilians and non-Sicilians alike. Every recipe I attempted resulted in a delicious pastry reminding me of my childhood surrounded by Sicilian family and friends. The writing is eloquent and heartwarming, and the history is fascinating and authentic. I would wholeheartedly recommend Sweet Sicily: The Story of an Island and Her Pastries.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 10, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The history in this book is wonderful. However, the recipes are very inconsistent. Missing ingredients, etc. make it impossible to use this cookbook. I tried twice to make the Little Tea Cookies (pg.70) with no success. The dough would never come together (obviously some ingredient is missing).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Carm on November 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover
As a Sicilian, I can say the book really embodies the Sicilian culture and cuisine. It is beautifully photographed and I am impressed with the amount of pastries she covers in this book. However, as a pastry chef, I found quite a few recipes that are not quite accurately written. You can play around with them and get the recipe to work, but that really isn't the point of a recipe; especially, if you have never before eaten the item you are making, you don't know what to correct. If you want a great picture book, this is for you. If you are looking for great recipes, I wouldn't recommend it.
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Nick Simonette on August 27, 2001
Format: Hardcover
The book starts with a very interesting and well-written part on the history of sweets/deserts in Sicily...but goes downhill from there. In a very short amount of time I found at least two very significant typos. One was in a recipe for a pistachio cookie. In that recipe the flour ingredient was completely left out. Another was a recipe for a cherry pastry which did not call for any cherries. Those were just two typos I found on one Sunday of cooking.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Vinny on December 23, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Here I am. It's Dec 23. I'm trying to make some pastries for Christmas eve dinner. I just found out the hard way that the recipe for "Pasta Frolla", is garbage. 'Garbage' is not the word I would normally choose given my level of anger and frustration, but I'd like the review to stand so others know not to follow in my footsteps. If Hurricaneman can make it following her recipe, I bow to his superior skillz.

Her recipe calls for 5 cups flour to 1 cup butter. All the recipes I find in a brief online search have a ratio much closer to 3:1. I didn't even finish adding all the flour before my "soft dough" was a bowl of fine powder.

Being full blooded Sicilian myself, I have a feeling that these bakers who she "sweet talked" gave her bogus recipes just to get this woman out of her hair. I know that's what I'd do and I know plenty of Sicilians who would resort to similar tactics to protect their trade secrets. :-)
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Hurricaneman on March 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I can tell you from experience that this cookbook is much more than just a cookbook. It's a manual for creating authentic Sicilian pastries and desserts. I learned many guarded secrets working for an Italian Bakery in my youth, and can say that this book should have never been published. Now all the secrets are out.

Some reviewers have complained of typos in the book. If there are any typos, I believe contacting the publisher and author could easily clear the air and correct any mistakes. The author went through a lot of trouble flattering her interviewers and humbling herself before others to obtain these recipes, I'm sure she would want purchasers of her book to be successful creating these masterpieces. She even went so far as to list suppliers for hard to find items. Personally, I've noticed NO TYPOS!

Buy this book, you'll never put it down.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Marcel Tomkins on October 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The book is wonderful for the photographs, but I also had trouble with the recipes. The sweet pastry dough, as another reviewer points out, does not call for enough butter. I was reminded of that when paging through my copy and finding a sticky note I had left for myself which said, "Add 3 Tbls. butter and 3 Tbls. milk." Without the added ingredients the dough will not come together at all.
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