day twenty - italian desserts

Note: For six weeks, July 5 - August 11, I will be enrolled in the culinary arts cooking and pastry/baking certificate programs at Boston University. Cooking is Monday and Tuesday, baking is Wednesday and Thursday. We have to keep a daily journal of the experience, so I'll be blogging about the class every day.

So, not to keep writing about all of the foods I don't like (stupid meringue). Basically, I'll eat anything (except olives). If I have to eat broccoli or cream cheese or sour cream or whatever (except olives), I'll eat it (except olives). But I know what I like and I would prefer to eat those things. Because those things are better.

So, cream cheese is not my favorite thing in the world (it doesn't taste like cheese at all to me; it tastes like some weirdly tangy thick stuff that coats my tongue) and therefore cheesecake is not my favorite thing in the world. That's on the SAT - I do not like cream cheese, therefore I do not like A) robot teddy bears B) war C) incessant computer warning messages D) cheesecake. The answer is D. 1 point! Go to college!

But, we made ricotta cheesecake with orange zest and it was awesome - definitely the best cheesecake I've ever had. We used a super-high-quality ricotta, nice and dry, which made the cheesecake very light - in both taste and texture. 

We also made these meringue cookies because the meringue never ends - bruti ma buoni (ugly but good). First, the recipe called for beating the whites to just before soft peaks, but I think we could have beat them a bit longer, because they are basically meringue cookies. If you look at Mario Batali's recipe he beats them to medium-hard peaks. Anyways, they taste like a very sweet meringue cookie with almonds. If you like that sort of thing, you would probably like these. Also on the SAT. It's all in the logic section. Does the SAT have a logic section? It should; you should see some of the people being let into college these days. 

Finally, pesce ripiena - baked peaches. I was surprised we were making these because the recipe is so easy, but they were my favorite. You basically take 6 peach halves, cut them in half, fill the center with a sugar/amaretti/peach puree/egg yolk mixture, dot it with unsalted butter and bake. Delicious! I think I would add more amaretti cookies in the future to give the mixture a bit more solidity, but otherwise you can't go wrong. We had them with a ricotta ice cream Chef Janine made from the previous night's leftover cream anglaise and it was perfect.

Next week: sushi, Middle Eastern desserts and the final challenge!