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How a cover recipe is born – Italian Cuisine

To help you prepare the winter cake we went behind the scenes to discover all the secrets that give life to our cover recipes, let's see them together

Suggestions from chef Giovanni Rota

What inspired you to prepare this cake?
Since I had to make a dessert for the book With what is there, it was essential to use simple and easily available products, what we usually have at home, precisely cookies, eggs, flour and lemons. And those who use organic lemons know that they do not have a very long duration and, with this recipe, they can be recovered and exploited quickly.

As for the flavor, the intent was to create a contrast between the sweet biscuits and the acidity of the lemon, in order to revive the spirit of the dessert.

Before arriving at the final recipe did you consider other versions?
You could think of adding a classic shortcrust pastry instead of the crumbled biscuit, or of preparing a custard flavored with lemon or vanilla juice, adding orange peel to further perfume it.

The cream can also be prepared in a single portion, cooked in an oven in ceramic glass molds, placing the whole biscuit directly inside the cooked cream.

The pearls of our stylist Beatrice Prada

The cake was served directly on the baking paper, why this choice?
This picture comes from a service called Con what there is so the important thing is to return a simple image, not only in the preparation but also in the presentation. The fact of using baking paper is also to make the idea of ​​a cake baked in the oven although it is eaten like a cold cake.

In addition, serving the cake without a plate there are no constraints to read the recipe, the point of recovery and cutting the image so it will also be easier in post-production to handle the processing and layout.

How else would you serve this cake?

Since when it is time to serve it on the table the need to put it on a plate takes over, I opted for a white tray that is comfortable with the color of the cake and does not intrude on reading the recipe. As for the bottom I chose an American table napkin that I use for breakfast, with a Mediterranean flavor that goes perfectly with lemons. It also creates a frame that embellishes the dish, I then decorated with biscuit crumbs to recall the ingredient of the base.

The advice of the photographer Riccardo Lettieri

Can you give us some advice to photograph this cake?
I state that there is no light scheme a priori, when I approach a dish I look at it from different angles and points of view to understand which one transmits more emotions and then decide which lighting to use.

To highlight the volume and shape of this cake the side light is the best, even better if it penetrates the window, the important thing is that there is no direct sun. The side light produces beautiful shadows, but they should not be too dark because they would ruin the dish. If you can not use natural light, I recommend using a white panel (cardboard or polystyrene) to be placed on the opposite side of the light.

As for the yellow color of the cake there are some tricks to consider?

In the case of such strong and full colors it is better to use a soft light source with a wide light surface like that of a lamp reflected on a panel and not direct, thus producing delicate and not too sharp shadows.

I also like to convey with light an idea of ​​the season in which we find ourselves, in this case I imagined a day at the end of winter with the desire of a hot sun coming soon.

How beet sugar is born. An Italian excellence – Italian Cuisine

There are products whose origins we forget. We are so used to seeing them packaged in a perfect and clean way to forget that they are the result of hard labor in the fields and of the ingenious work of human transformation. It is rare that we stop to think that a can of peeled tomatoes, fruit juices, wine and even a simple sachet of sugar are born from the earth and can tell a story.

The story we are writing about today is all Italian. We are talking about beet sugar produced in the heart of the Po Valley, in Minerbio (BO), where it is located Italy Zuccheri. It is a production very close to many of us, which follows procedures that are clearly different from the best known and most widespread of the cane from Brazil, India, China, Caribbean …

For a start, the vegetable from which it derives is different: the reed is a tropical plant of the grass family, growing outdoors in warm and sunny climates.

170669There sugar beet instead it is a plant whose roots, very similar to large potatoes of elongated and pointed shape, are very rich in sucrose: it grows in temperate climates, under the ground and never sees the light. Indeed it arrives with its radicles up to two meters deep. And yet, pushing so thoroughly and working incessantly to take and release substances, it enriches so much the soil to be strongly desired by the producers of wheat in the rotation of crops. Yes, because if one year the beet is cultivated and the next one in the same field grows the wheat, the soil will have treasured mineral salts and amino acids and can return them to the cereal, which will be richer and will have better yields.

The agricultural rotation is annual: the life cycle of the beet would be about two years, but after 9 months from sowing the roots are already beautiful and ready to be processed. Therefore it can be harvested before completing its biological growth.

The reality that Salt and pepper he visited the work in a cooperative system, where the farmers who supply the product, or at least many of them, are also members and are directly involved in the management of the company. In practice, the final product is precisely those who, day after day, sowed, cultivated and processed the raw material, up to the finished product. Among other things, this is one of the very few 100% Italian companies that have managed to resist the changes of the 80s and 2000. If in the post-war period Italian sugar factories were around sixty, those active today are counted with one hand: over time in fact, there has been an overrun without appeal of cane sugar from distant countries, but also of beet sugar produced in other European regions.

Harvest and processing of beet

170672Harvesting takes place from the end of the summer until mid-autumn. Huge trucks transport tons of beets every day, which are carefully stored in huge heaps in front of the plant. The politeness towards the beet is also prompted by the signs scattered here and there that invite not to trample or damage them. If opened or split, in fact, a fermentation process begins, leading to the division of sucrose into glucose and fructose, compromising and rendering sugar beet unusable.

In this preliminary phase, a series of quality controls are also made on the raw material, then a roller carries the roots in the factory.

This is where the actual processing begins. The roots they are washed repeatedly, using the water obtained from the processing of the same beets, to avoid the waste of enormous quantities of water with an unsustainable environmental impact, then they are cut into julienne and passed in cooking columns where they are reduced to mashed, turning into sauce dark, dense and sticky. This slurry is still unclean and is filtered several times before being crystallized: all processing waste is grouped, dried and returned to the countryside, where they are used to enrich the soil of mineral salts and amino acids.

At this point the dark sauce is crystallized, centrifuged and rinsed, melted and recrystallized over and over again. On the one hand, dark and viscous molasses is obtained, which is stored and sold as a supplement for animal feeds or to yeasts (primitive sugar is an excellent nourishment for yeasts!), On the other, the product is finally reached more white, which will then be sieved to become a coarse-grained, fine, fine or veil-grained sugar, depending on its destination.

White or dark sugar? Myths to be debunked

170675It is thanks to this behind-the-scenes tour of the processing that we discovered that it is appropriate to debunk a myth: how many do not consume white sugar, thinking it is "bleached" chemically? Nothing could be more wrong. The brown sugar and the white beet sugar are exactly the same identical product: simply that dark is less worked. It has a color that tends to brown because it has been rinsed less often. Those who work in the plant have also told us that light-colored sugar is a fairly recent novelty: in the post-war period the machines were not as sophisticated as today, achieving the current white was not possible and people were used to consume a decidedly darker sugar, tending to beige.

Then the less refined sugar was a necessity. Today is a plus. In particular, 100% Italian beet raw sugar is one of the flagships of Italy Zuccheri: is called Nostrano, comes directly from the beets grown in the Italian fields, ensures balanced organoleptic properties and, thanks to a careful and skilful processing, maintains the nutrients contained in the juice of the mother beet.

The market currently offers many different products and the only way to understand where it comes from and how it has been processed is the sugar we are reading carefully the label, where are indicated raw materials and processing plants.

Barbara Roncarolo
February 2019

Dry that passion. The recipe book born on Facebook – Italian Cuisine

Give vent to the imagination, experiment and share. Here are the three assumptions on which it is based People who dries, book born from the shared experience of the homonymous community on Facebook that in just over a year and a half since birth has gathered about 8000 fans in the sector. The group is a kind of free and free encyclopedia of drying, where experience and discovery, seasoned by so much enthusiasm, have led to the publication of a recipe book supported by the company Tauro Essiccatori.

169317But, let's start from the basics. What is drying? To dry means to gently eliminate water from food. The delicacy refers to both the working temperature, which must not exceed 60 °, and the sweetness of the air flow used.

"People who dries born as the first recipe book participated "from below" with the aim of spreading a simple message: contrary to what has been sedimented in the collective imagination, drying is not just a niche practice, for example that of raw food – explains Livio Zanon Santon, administrator of Tauro Dryers – but it can embrace the kitchen of all, in all its moments, from breakfast to dinner, from appetizers to desserts, from toppings to the processing of raw materials, from snack drinks, even for pets".

Are needed time, patience and obviously i appropriate tools to do a proper job, which keeps intact the nutritive properties and all the organoleptic characteristics of a dried product. But drying was also known by ancient peoples as a food preservation system. Think of the bunches of herbs hanging upside down or the tomatoes laid out to dry in the heat. THE'domestic dryingobviously, thanks to technology, it is more effective and efficient and this book provides, in addition to 75 recipes, also information extremely useful for the correct storage of dried foods and not to incur "unwanted guests".

169320But can you really dry everything? This is the temptation for those who approach the technique of drying, in fact just a little 'common sense and habit. This is why this book, born of field experimentation, provides many answers. Surely it is good to dry products at the right degree of ripeness, prefer untreated food, it is good to cut fruit, vegetables and mushrooms into thin slices and as homogeneous as possible.

With this book, chips, powders, sheets, bars, candies and flavorings will no longer have secrets. From the drying up they can be obtained natural dyes powder, nut of meat and vegetables, flavored salts, but also potatoes (not) fried or prepared dishes such as meatballs, minestrone, risottos and baby food or healthy and nutritious snacks, for a tasty snack and an alternative to packaged snacks.

In the book there is an entire chapter dedicated to pasta, precisely because there are dryers on the market that have specific programs dedicated to its processing, to dry and store it for a long time. Another section, however, is all for our four-legged friends, with some preparation of pet food easy and quick to make. Some truly original recipes originate from the creativity and competence of the chef Paolo Dalicandro, expert in this technique, indicated for those who love healthy lifestyles, but still aimed at all those who are curious and love to experiment in the kitchen.

People who dries – GCE Editore – 240 pages – € 16.00

Mariacristina Coppeto
January 2019