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Desserts and Sweet Snacks : Rustic, Italian Style
by Viana La Place, Viana LA Place, Justin Schwartz (Editor)
List Price: $23.00 Our Price: $16.10
Hardcover - 144 pages 1 Ed edition (June 1998)
William Morrow & Company
ISBN: 0688141390
Dimensions (in inches): 0.58 x 9.45 x 8.42
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Italians, it is often said, are healthy in part because they finish meals with a piece of fresh fruit rather than a rich dessert. In fact, the Italians have a fierce sweet tooth. They make plenty of desserts at home and frequent local pasticcerie (pastry shops) regularly. They do, however, usually enjoy these sweets as afternoon snacks, as treats on special occasions, or when received as gifts

In Desserts and Sweet Snacks, Viana La Place concentrates on the simplest homemade desserts. Some of them barely involve a recipe. She suggests placing on the table an ice-filled bowl containing whole fruits, for example. If this seems too minimal to qualify as dessert, just read the passage describing the end-of-meal ritual of selecting and peeling a piece of fruit, and then leisurely eating it, savoring the aromas, succulence, and ripe sweetness.

When you must have something more elaborate, La Place offers peach halves stuffed with crumbled amaretti and baked or espresso, lightly gelled and topped with a dollop of whipped cream.

Baked desserts include a dense, nut-studded Italian Rice Cake and Hazelnut and Lemon Meringues. But La Place really proves how less can be more: it's as simple as finding ripe fruit and embellishing it with liqueur or some other simple flourish. --Dana Jacobi

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