Tag: tricks

Custard: the 8 tricks to make it perfect – Italian Cuisine


It is one of the bases of pastry, versatile and greedy, it would be easy to make, but… despite everything, something can go wrong. How to prevent the cream from "going crazy", the causes and the (few) remedies


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The custard, often alone pastry chef for friends (it has many) it is fantastic: very good, it is ideal for stuffing cream puffs and éclairs, cannoli, cakes and pastries; also excellent in cups, to be enjoyed in spoonfuls or with biscuits and waffles. This delight has an interesting history that perhaps not everyone knows.

French or Italian?
Its creation is an eternal dispute between French and Italians, the two most advanced cultures in the field of European pastry from the Middle Ages onwards. In 1691, the first documented recipe of a crème pâtissière appears in the culinary work of François Massialot, cook of illustrious personalities of his time, cardinals, marquises and even the brother of the Sun King, the Duke of Orleans: still today his "Le Cuisinier Royal et Bourgeois”Is considered among the first culinary dictionaries in the world. In addition to the crème pâtissière, also the meringues and the crème brûlée, in which the sugar coating was melted and burned with a red-hot iron scoop. However, some scholars have found traces of a cream very similar to pastry in the recipes cited in the volume Banquets, food compositions and general apparatus (printed more than a century earlier, in 1549), by Christopher of Messisbugo, Cook of the Este house and consultant of the Gonzagas. Be that as it may, this splendid cream conquered French and Italian pastry making, becoming one of the basic preparations of both schools.

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How to avoid problems
The best way to do this is… to prevent them. Here are the precautions to put in place to have a velvety and soft cream, like true pastry chefs.

1 Always use the freshest ingredients
2 Follow the recipe sequence
3 The flour (or starches) goes always sifted through a very fine mesh strainer: this will prevent the formation of lumps, sworn enemies of this sweet preparation. It is not a step that can be left out!
4 Initially, to beat the eggs and mix the flour, use a whisk (electric ones are fine too but there is the risk of overdoing the whipping and incorporating air into the cream, be careful). When you start cooking, use a wooden or silicone spoon to mix it.
5 Check the cooking temperature, perhaps with the help of a cooking thermometer: the cream should never boil. Always keep it at a temperature of just over 80 ° C, but without exceeding 85 ° C. At higher temperatures, the custard will go crazy and you'll end up with… sweet scrambled eggs!
6 Never leave your custard alone: ​​once on the stove, in fact, you don't have to never stop mixing it slowly and constantly, to prevent it from sticking to the bottom and / or forming lumps.
7 The cream should always be mixed in the same verse: once you have set the direction of travel, so to speak, never change it. Mixing it constantly and always in the same direction is a crucial step!
8 Do not abandon it even after cooking: once removed from the heat, cover the custard with cling film in contact, and finally …

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The pastry chef's trick
When preparing a custard or other derived cream, it is important cool the product as quickly as possibleto slow down the proliferation of the bacterial load. As soon as it is cooked, you have to bring it to a temperature below the cooking temperature (it must drop to about 50 ° C) and cool it down to 4 ° C. Prepare a basin with water and ice and immerse the pan with the cream just removed from the heat for two thirds (if you do not have a home blast chiller). The cream does keep at 3 ° C in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Possible remedies
We seem to have followed the recipe for our cream well, the ingredients were fresh but unfortunately the result is not what we wanted. Don't be discouraged: in some cases you can try to recover your custard.
If it's too liquid, you can add a small amount of animal gelatin (isinglass) in sheets while hot, without stopping mixing.
Self has lumps, try to pass it through a sieve, spoon after spoon, without breaking its stability and creaminess; be careful to always make slow movements.
Yup is "tearing up" just? Some suggest taking it off the heat and whipping it with an immersion blender: it improves the texture but the cream will have a slightly more pronounced egg taste. Furthermore, it could disassemble a bit and therefore become too liquid.

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Quick change pastry chef
In its most basic form – which uses only egg yolks, milk, sugar, flour (or corn or rice starch) and vanilla – custard is often considered the mother of all creams. As a pastry base, it counts among its many advantages the fact that it can be revisited with a few simple touches, so as to transform before your eyes into another, different but very good, cream: here are some of the most famous derived creams from custard

Custard + Italian meringue + gelatin = Chiboust cream

Custard + whipped cream + gelatin = Diplomatic cream

Custard + whipped cream = cream Italian chantilly

Custard + butter = Mousseline cream

A lighter, flourless version that remains velvety and less dense than classic custard is known as English cream.
You can simply perfume it with a little Cognac or Marsala or, in the non-alcoholic version, with orange juice. If you want to transform the custard into a chocolate cream, add cocoa powder when you beat the egg yolks or, when it is still hot, pour in and mix in the melted dark in a bain-marie.
Now is the time to test yourself and prepare a fantastic custard, to be enjoyed in a cup with torcetti, cat's tongues or ladyfingers, or to make irresistible cannoncini, crispy rolls of stuffed phyllo dough, a scenographic cup of cream puffs with orange caramel, or St. Joseph's zeppole for Father's Day!

Francesca Tagliabue
February 2022

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Posted 08/02/2022


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Pistachios in the kitchen, the tricks of chef Andrea Berton – Italian Cuisine


Pistachio in the kitchen: a healthy and greedy resource. The starred chef explains it to us Andrea Berton of the Berton restaurant in Milan, which also reveals the secrets to enhance the taste of this green gold to the maximum.

Healthy, why?
"From a nutritional point of view, I am one valuable source of protein, contain all 9 essential amino acids in adequate quantities and are also rich in carbohydrates and fats for the most part monounsaturated and polyunsaturated (ie healthy fats). This is why they are also excellent snacks for a snack, also because they fill without weighing you down.

Is in the kitchen?
They have many virtues. Starting from an aesthetic value. In fact they give the dishes one nice touch of color with a natural green, without the addition of synthetic dyes. If you are an advocate of beauty, even chromatic, in recipes, surely its use will help you. Chopped add crunchiness to the recipes, giving an extra touch and adding a chewy note that definitely makes the xxxxx dish.

What type of pistachios do you prefer?

American pistachios are versatile and crunchy and have a very elegant and aromatic flavor, which makes them ideal for both sweet and savory recipes.

In what prepr193484actiumcan you use them?

They are very versatile: they can use in both sweet and savory recipes and also, thanks to their savory note, which can be enhanced by using already salted pistachios and creating a pleasant note of contrast in cakes and desserts.

What is the piact that best enhances their taste?

Definitely ice cream, to be enjoyed naturally. Or even a Sicilian granita. Only in these desserts does the marked flavor of pistachio emerge in all its flavor. The important thing is to never go below 40% of pistachio.

Buying advice?
Always choose fresh pistachios, because they keep the authentic flavors better and are much more versatile to use in the kitchen: you can in fact decide the degree of roasting according to your taste, whether to reduce them to powder for a cream or make a grain. The important thing is to toast them in the oven, even briefly because they need to be dried so that they lose internal humidity before use in the kitchen: the heat of the oven makes them crunchy.


"Prawn tails, American pistachio cream and grilled aubergine"

Recipe for 4 people

Ingredients for the eggplant:

2 long eggplants
10 gr. of mint leaves
100 g of extra virgin olive oil
6 gr. of salt


Divide the aubergine into 2 cm slices. thick. Marinate the aubergines with mint leaves, salt, pepper and extra virgin olive oil. Vacuum them and cook them in a steam oven at 100 ° for 10 minutes, cool them and cut them into parallelepipeds and roast them in a pan.

Ingredients for the pistachio cream:

200 gr. of peeled and toasted American pistachios
4 gr. of salt
150 gr. of ice


Blend the pistachios with ice and salt until you get a smooth and homogeneous cream, if necessary add water until you get the necessary consistency.

Ingredients for the reduced shellfish sauce:

1 kg of red prawn heads and shells
200 g of San Marzano tomato cut into quarters
1 onion, peeled and julienned
2 sticks of celery cut into julienne strips
1 carrot, peeled and julienne
extra virgin olive oil


Toast the shellfish heads in a large saucepan with extra virgin olive oil, add the onion, celery, carrot and tomato. Pour plenty of ice until the shells are covered, bring to the boil, skim and let it simmer for 45 minutes. Filter and allow to reduce until a concentration of crustaceans is obtained.

Ingredients for the shellfish sauce:

200 g of reduced shellfish sauce
100 g of water
200 g of pachino cherry tomato compote (obtained from 1 kg of pachino tomatoes)
Blend the Pachino cherry tomato compote with the reduced shellfish sauce e
the water. If necessary, add water until the density is reached


12 red prawns from Mazzara of first choice
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
fine fresh herbs (basil, parsley, dill, tarragon, fennel, mint,

Clean the prawns by removing the head, carapace and intestines. Roast the prawns on a plate / grill only on one side already salted and seasoned with extra virgin olive oil, pepper. Place the fresh herbs seasoned with oil, salt and pepper on the roasted aubergine, add the prawns, the aubergine to the plate, finish with the pistachio cream and the shellfish sauce.

December 2021
Camilla Rocca

Working from home, 5 tricks for not gaining weight – Italian Cuisine

Working from home, 5 tricks for not gaining weight

Smart working. Heavy legs? Swollen belly and extra pounds? Here's what to do at the table to remove the risk of gaining weight by working from home

For those who work from home, in these long smart working months, the more sedentary life, the sense of loneliness, mistakes at the table and, often, the little time available to prepare meals risk promoting weight gain. In order not to get fat, the first rule to follow is to try to move around at home and divide the food intake into 3 main meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) plus 2 snacks. "This strategy allows you to have energy and satiety for a long time and to avoid bingeing during breaks", suggests the nutritionist Valentina Galiazzo, specialist in clinical biochemistry. "In addition, it always keeps the metabolism active, which a sedentary lifestyle tends to make slower". The expert suggests 5 other tricks for not gaining weight.

Bet on a healthy and super satiating breakfast

When working from home, overdoing overtime snacks is one of the most common temptations that risk weighing on the line. "To avoid overdoing snacks rich in calories, sugars and fats, the first strategy to implement is to ensure that, upon waking, a breakfast complete with all the nutrients that allow the body to have energy and to curb food". So let's avoid just the cup of coffee drunk on the fly. Yes instead to a source of low glycemic index carbohydrates such as bread or whole grain flakes. «Thanks to the richness of fibers and slowly absorbed carbohydrates, they ensure a longer lasting charge. Combined with a portion of proteins they induce satiety . A few examples? «Ricotta is excellent for both a sweet and savory breakfast. Yes to pancakes too. "They are an excellent source of satiating proteins". And, finally, never miss a portion of "healthy" fats. "A teaspoon of chia seeds, for example, provides a large amount of essential fatty acids, which support mood and promote brain activity".

Avoid too hasty meals

In the kitchen and at the table, no rush. As for cooking, those that are too aggressive, such as grilling and boiling, should be avoided. "The first stimulates the production of Age substances (Advanced Glycation End products), which inflame the cells and promote aging. Boiling, on the other hand, risks the dispersion of micronutrients useful for keeping fit and healthy . Even at the table it is important to consume the different meals of the day calmly. "Slow chewing allows you to avoid the accumulation of gas in the intestine, which favors a swollen belly. In addition, it allows you to eat less because it allows you to feel satiety earlier .

For lunch and dinner do not miss the vegetables

In addition to providing very few calories and giving satiety, vegetables act as real "scavengers". «Enzymes, vitamins, such as vitamin C and minerals, in particular potassium and magnesium, of which they are rich, help to dispose of metabolic waste, says nutritionist Valentina Galiazzo. "Thanks to the high fiber content, they are also a panacea for the intestine that the more sedentary lifestyle can make lazy. They stimulate transit and help get rid of excess toxins. In addition, in addition to being laxative, thanks to the richness of water they have a diuretic effect that counteracts water retention .

During the breaks, munch on dried fruit

Does concentration drop and hunger increase during the morning or afternoon? “Eating a handful of walnuts or a spoonful of sunflower or pumpkin seeds may be the solution. They guarantee micronutrients and polyunsaturated fatty acids that support memory and mood and at the same time counteract fatigue ", suggests the expert. «In addition, they help not to easily transgress with unhealthy snacks because they give satiety.

In the evening meal, avoid cheese and salami

In the evening it can happen to feel exhausted and have little desire to cook. A mistake that is often made in the evening meal is to overdo it with meats and cheeses, which should instead be brought to the table by reducing the portions and the frequency of consumption. "They are rich in calories and sodium, which promote weight gain and water retention. They also contain tyramine and saturated fats, which slow down digestion . In addition, they hinder the rest, essential not only to feel snappy and full of energy the next day, but also to avoid gaining weight. "During sleep, the body's fat cells produce leptin, which lowers the levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone. The advantages? It reduces the sense of appetite and helps to better manage the desire to fail during the day .

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