Books: Cooking by Cuisine -> Cooking Italian
Solo Dolci: The Italian Dessert Cookbook
Benson, Anna Bruni
Published: June 1, 1996
Read More, Buy It
From Publishers Weekly
The Venetian-born Benson (La Dolce Cucina, 1974) collects sweet Italian comfort food. Although the recipes here are occasionally confusing (e.g., some readers may wonder about the difference between a "tbsp." and a "full tbsp.")
and the subheads often clunky ("During apricot season there comes a time when the markets have large quantities of this excellent fruit at a very cheap price"), there is an appealingly authentic and open quality to this cookbook. Many of the desserts,
served in Italian homes rather than in restaurants, will be unfamiliar to Americans. Two chapters on fruit desserts brim with clever ideas for produce: Stuffed Oranges with Strawberries, Baked Stuffed Peaches with Zabaione, and a quick Banana-Hazelnut
Cake. There are also plenty of quirky, simple treats like Benson's Apple Tart Country Style (apples, corn meal and flour dotted with butter and baked), which the author invented during the postwar years when eggs and sugar were scarce, and a Peach and
Rice Pie from Lombardy. A utilitarian introduction includes a list of helpful utensils.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The Journal of Italian Food, Wine and Travel
"Solo Dolci is a marvelous book of intense, narrow focus.
Anna Bruni Benson has assembled a few score recipes for desserts near and dear to the hearth and home of native Italians, lifting the veil of preconceptions so that the sunbeams of sweets-eating in Italy can shine through. She naturally zeroes in on
fruit-based confections, although the word is somewhat expansive when it comes to the Italian dolci. For, from the American perspective, what is one to make of Peach and Rice Pie, Baked Pears Stuffed with Nuts and Dried Fruits Macerated in Marsala, and
Cantaloupe Stuffed with Pineapple and Strawberries? And she also gives a beautiful sampling of nut-based cookies, cakes and tart-crusts--dry, savory items that are associated with coffee-houses or ancient Italian-American relatives too old to bite down
on them. Additionally, Ms. Benson draws up a fine compendium of Italian dessert wines, describing each efficiently and enticingly, adding a dash of history here, a sprinkle of folklore there. This survey is helpful to the beginner wandering through
conflicting and often erroneous information concerning there delectable "desserts in a glass," and quite informative for the more advanced oenophile looking for, say, something from Sardegna to round out a meal of roast lamb and pasta with stewed
vegetables. After a series of sections dedicated to various genres of recipes, the book has a long coda of regional recipes, mostly completely unknown to most enthusiasts. On the strength of this section alone, Solo Dolci is highly recommended. The
scattered line-drawings are charming, and the small section of color photographs is filled with the mood and grace of fine art. Too bad it is not a larger section. This is a great book for anyone trying to master the art of Italian dessert-making."
Read More, Buy It