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

4.6 out of 5 stars 31 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 bettyconfidential.com. 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 (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #193,592 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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By Auntie J on December 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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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Format: 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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Format: Hardcover
While I loved the Italian quotes, the occasional picture (I would have liked a photo for each recipe), and the descriptions/origin/history of these recipes, I have yet to find a Dolci that bakes true to the recipe. Either the texture of the dough was completely off, the cookies spread way more than they were supposed to, the black pepper honey biscotti were complete rubber, the baking times were off (for example, I am now in the 60th minute of the Raddicio Carrot Almond Cake which says 30-35 minutes). The only recipe that was remotely true was the Brutti ma Buoni, and even then, the author says it makes 12 cookies but in fact, they are so sweet that I found that the quantity 20 made a better cookie. My last complaint is that the author writes (brags?) that she was chosen to be an Ambassador in the U.S. for the AIDEPI (Associazione delle Industrie del Dolce e della Pasta Italiane) to create their first American-targeted website (dolceitalia.com) but four years on, it still doesn't exist. In short, I use this book for recipe inspiration on what to bake, and for that I give it a one star, but when it comes to *actually* baking a recipe included in this book, I have to turn elsewhere.
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