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Dolci: Italy's Sweets Hardcover – October 1, 2011
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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 bettyconfidential.com. Segan lives in New York City.
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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.
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.
Since the book is pretty new, I haven't made more recipes at this point but so far each one has been a delicious success. I like the fact that she has the Italian name next to each dish and states which region each recipe is from. That's very helpful for when I prepare regional Italian menus for my personal chef business.
Most recent customer reviews
There are color images of many of the ingredients (but I always want MORE images).Read more