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Dried fruit, the fixed appointment at the party table – Italian Cuisine


Unfailing after Christmas lunch, must be chosen and consumed with some forethought. Eight walnuts are good, even after a meal. But they are very caloric: do not exaggerate with quantities

It's not really Christmas if, at the end of the meal, the classic dried fruit tray is not offered. Walnuts, hazelnuts, peanuts, almonds, pistachios. Do you think you are exaggerating? In reality, with the due precautions, a bit 'of dried fruit can do well and help reduce damage from saturated fats, such as those found in meats, meats and cheeses, all great protagonists of the rich party lunches. According to a study by the Policlinico di Barcellona, ​​published on the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the unsaturated fatty acids of oily seeds (walnuts, hazelnuts, pine nuts, peanuts, sunflowers) have a protective effect, if consumed in the same meal, and perhaps right at the end. In particular, 8 walnuts (about 28 grams) help protect the coronaries from the negative effects of saturated fat and LDL cholesterol. Even more olive oil, as oil seeds contain more polyunsaturates. Both nuts and olive oil contribute to reducing inflammatory and oxidative reactions in the arteries, but nuts, in addition, preserve elasticity and flexibility.

Dried fruits, which to eat?

Dried fruit is part of a proper diet and has a preventive function on various diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases. But which is better to choose, especially for our Christmas lunchtime basket?

WALNUTS. We know that they contain omega-3 fatty acids that have a protective effect on the heart and help prevent atherosclerotic lesions of the walls of blood vessels. The American Food and Drug Administration, for years, recommend eating 8 a day.

HAZELNUTS. Unfortunately, many of their precious ones substances, such as vitamins A, B1, B2 and E, are lost during toasting. But the manganese containing active digestive enzymes: facilitates the synthesis of fatty acids and cholesterol and promotes the metabolism of proteins and carbohydrates. Hazelnuts contribute to the health of the digestive system, help intestinal transit and elimination of toxins.

ALMOND. They are rich in precious substances, such as potassium, calcium and phosphorus, which are important for the bones. I'm very recommended for vegetariansbecause they contain so many proteins, about 20 grams per pound. And they are a valid help against constipation.

PEANUTS. They are the most "thin", because they have less than 50 grams of fat per hectare, and are rich in potassium, phosphorus, calcium, proteins and iron.

PISTACHIOS. Avoid serving (and eating) those toasted and very salty. In the "natural" version, they have many virtues, including vitamin E, an antioxidant that works against free radicals and, therefore, against aging.

Eye to calories

Dried fruit has many virtues, but it remains a very caloric food: a pound of walnuts provides about 582 calories, a third of the energy an adult woman needs in a day. So, eat it without remorse but, at the octave, lay the nutcracker!

Dried fruit on the Christmas table, from appetizer to dessert – Italian Cuisine


Rich in good fats, the dried fruit can not miss on Christmas tables, at the end of the meal, with pandoro and mandarins, or as a surprise ingredient in many refined recipes, but easy to make. Seeing is believing!

Walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, figs, apricots and dates have always been the symbol of Christmas holidays; they can never be missing on the table. In short, along with mandarins, pandoro and panettone are the inevitable of this period, usually served at the end of the meal. The dried fruitHowever, it is also an excellent ingredient to be used to compose the recipes of a complete party menu, from appetizers to desserts. Take notes!

Dried fruit, a concentrate of good fats, but also of calories

They are known to all the beneficial properties of dried fruit, which brings to our body the famous ones fatty acids of the omega 6 family, so important for the prevention of coronary diseases, for hypertension, for some disorders of the immune system. The omega 6 are then powerful antioxidants, which counteract the action of free radicals, responsible for cellular aging. The nuts and all the dried fruit, however, are also extremely caloric, in fact make 650 kcal per 100 g of product. Do not exaggerate: 4 or 5 fruits a day are perfect for decreasing the level of cholesterol in the blood and to remove the risk of hypertension, without making us fight with the scales.

dried fruit

And now some ideas to prepare a party lunch with dried fruit: from appetizers to desserts

Potato, artichoke and walnut cake

A starter that you can prepare in a single pan or subdividing it into many small cocotte. First of all, slice a shallot and brown it in a pan with oil. Add the sliced ​​artichokes (consider one per person), which you will have removed the most external and hardest leaves and the inner hay. Cook for a few minutes, adding a little water if necessary. Then turn off, add the Parmesan and season with salt. Take the potatoes (always one per person), wash and cut into thin slices. Let it boil for two minutes in plenty of salted water, then drain and season with parmesan, pepper and a little oil. Now grease a pan and line it with the slices of potatoes, artichokes and chopped walnuts. Continue until you have finished the ingredients, then finish with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese, a drizzle of oil and walnuts. Bake at 180 degrees for 20 minutes and then serve immediately.

Pudding of celeriac, taleggio and hazelnuts

A first light, perfect for a multi-course party lunch. For 8 people, boil for 300 minutes 300 g of celeriac cut into slices in a little water with a slice of lemon. When it is soft, remove it and leave it aside. Separately, diced 400 g of pumpkin pulp and cook in a little oil with a sliced ​​shallot and half a glass of water. Chop with a mixer 150 g of hazelnuts and add them in a bowl with pumpkin, celeriac cut into small pieces, salt, pepper, a spoonful of Parmesan and an egg. Mix well and with the mixture fill 8 cylindrical molds with the hinge, previously buttered. Crush well and put some taleggio cheese in the center and bake at 180 degrees for 25 minutes. Meanwhile, brown a few leaves of sage in a knob of butter and when the puddings are ready, unmold and season with sage butter before serving.

Pork with dates and chestnuts

For 8 people get 1 and a half kg of pork loin, 400 g of boiled chestnuts, 300 g of dried dates, 150 g of chopped mixed vegetables (celery, onion and carrot), smells, white wine, oil, salt and pepper. Take the meat in hand and massage it with extra virgin olive oil. Then put it in a pot that can also go in the oven and brown it in a little oil on all sides. Add the chopped vegetables, rosemary, bay leaf, blend with a glass of wine and bake at 180 degrees for 50 minutes. After 20 minutes of cooking, add the dates and crumbled chestnuts to the meat and continue to cook. Serve the meat with dried fruit and its sauce.

Bavarian almond with melted chocolate

Bavarian is a very simple dessert to make and that always produces a great effect among the guests! To prepare it, soak 7 sheets of isinglass in a bowl with cold water. In a small saucepan heat 200 ml of fresh milk with a vanilla stick for a few minutes. In a bowl, add 3 egg yolks with 100 g of sugar. Add the milk to the eggs (without the vanilla) and heat again, continuing to mix. Remove from heat, add the well-squeezed isinglass, mix and then add to the mixture 400 ml of fresh whipped cream and 100 g of finely chopped almonds. Pour everything into a Bavarian mold and let it cool in the fridge for 3 hours. Before serving, immerse the mold for a few seconds in a container with hot water, it will be used to remove the mixture from the bottom. Once deformed, garnish it with 150 g of dark chocolate melted in a bain-marie and brought to the table.

Caramelized dried fruit …. winter sweetness! Here's how to do it – Italian Cuisine


A sin of gluttony to munch on the sofa or a handmade gift for Christmas to bring to friends and relatives. Recipe

During the cold season, sunk on the sofa with a warm cover, perhaps in front of the fireplace, there is nothing more greedy than enjoying a hot chocolate or crunchy crunchy or sweetened almonds. And the dried fruit caramelized is not just an exquisite snack, but can also be an ingredient for other desserts like a cake.

Caramelise the fruit it is also a very easy process that you can make in your kitchens, making even the little ones entertained. In addition, when you are invited to the home of friends or relatives, the caramelized fruit can become a nice gift, along with a bottle of wine, to make a good impression with an original thought.

Which caramelized dried fruit?
You can indulge yourself with fantasy because caramelizing dried fruit has no limits. Choose according to your taste, ranging between almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, nuts, cashews, pistachios.
But what does the caramelization of dried fruit consist of? It is a process that occurs by combining sugar and fruit, cooking everything on the stove and then letting it cool.

fruit-dry-caramelized

How to make caramelized dried fruit

Ingredients

– 150 g of sugar
– 50 g of water
– q.b. of fruit dry (optionally)

Method

a) Pour the water into a saucepan and then add it sugar.
b) Light the fire and let the sugar dissolve over a moderate flame (it must not crystallize).
c) Cook, without stirring, the sugar until it takes on the caramel coloring (almost brown);
d) To create the classic crunchy add the dried fruit in the saucepan, stirring everything quickly to prevent the caramel from burning and the fruit sticking to the pan (the color should never become dark brown, a sign that the caramel is burning).
e) Turn off the stove and spread the caramel and fruit mixture on the baking paper so that it cools.
d) Once the caramelized dried fruit has cooled, you can divide it into chunks to form the classic pieces of crisp.

In case you do not want to create the classic crunchy, you can dip the individual pieces of dried fruit or more pieces and then let them dry on baking paper.

To give the recipe a savory taste, just add one pinch of salt.

The caramelized dried fruit is preserved for a long time in a tin can with hermetic seal.

Advice for preparing the crunchy

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How to make pralined dried fruit

With sugar you can also prepare the pralined dried fruit.
Caution: there is a certain resemblance to the crunchy, only that "pralinata" means that each peanut or almond has a rather thin and crunchy
shell of sugar. The Crisp, instead, it is a bar with much more caramel and takes on a harder consistency.

Ingredients

– 500 g of dried fruit (optionally)
– 500 g of sugar
– 50 g of water

Method

a) In a pan, add water, sugar and dried fruit of your choice and, after lighting the flame, start mixing.
b) Once the boiling point is reached, the water will begin to run low and for about 5 minutes you will have to mix continuously until all the water has dried.
c) At this point we must continue to mix until the sugar is well attached to the dried fruit, but turn off the heat to prevent it from burning.
N.B .: when the water is dried it is important to turn off the flame to prevent the sugar from caramelizing again. If this happens, just add a little 'sugar and stir over low heat.

The ready fruit should be placed on baking paper to cool.