During the Spring 2012 I taught one of many interdisciplinary undergraduate seminars in the Experimental Study Group at MIT. Each class is based on the preparation of a simple delicious dish and on the bite-sized acquisition of parts of the Italian language and culture.
Videography by Graham Gordon Ramsay.

Click here to watch the videos in full resolution.
Buon divertimento!

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Friday, May 11, 2012

La crema pasticcera

For the complete video click here.


Ingredienti (per due torte di frutta di circa 25 cm di diametro)

- 3 tuorli d'uovo a temperatura ambiente (yolks at room temperature)
- 50 g (5 tbs) di farina (flour)
- 50 g (about 3.5 tbs) di zucchero (sugar)

- 1 pizzico/goccio di vaniglia (vanilla, or you can use grated lemon zest)
- 500 g = mezzo litro di latte (half a liter of milk, about 1 pint)

Procedimento:

- In a pentola (pot) combine the egg yolks and sugar, then add the flour
- Heat the milk with a drop of vanilla
- When the milk is hot, but not boiling add it gradually to the egg and sugar mixture. Keep mixing with a spatula. Try to avoid the formation of lumps
- Using a whisk (or al electric mixer on low) continue to mix over medium heat until it thickens (it should take a few minutes). Try to avoid the formation of lumps
- Dust the surface with sugar and cover with plastic wrap to prevent it from forming a skin while it cools down

Commenti e varianti:

- You can eat it as is, or place it in nice little bowls with some fresh berries
- Attenzione (watch out) a non fare impazzire la crema (lit. not to make the cream crazy): if you use cold eggs or milk, let the cream cook too long, mix changing direction, then the cream will not reach the desired smooth consistency and density
- Once the pastry cream is ready and still warm, you can add cocoa powder or melted dark chocolate
 to it...
- you can make a nice quick dessert with puff pastry filled with pastry cream
 (bake the puff pastry in the shape of a tart or in small squares/circle and when it  has cooled down add the cream to make a fruit tart or some sort of small puffs)
- I will post the recipe for la torta di frutta tomorrow

La pasta frolla

For the complete video click here!


La pasta frolla is a basic dough for cookies and torte such as la crostata and la torta di frutta (I will post the recipe tomorrow).


Ingredienti (per una crostata per 6 persone, about 26 cm in diameter):

(250 g is about 0.55 lb)

- 250 g di farina (flour)
- 125 g di burro freddo tagliato a cubetti (cold butter cut in cubes)
- 75 g di zucchero (sugar)
- 2 tuorli (or rossi) d'uovo (egg yolks) a temperatura ambiente (at room temperature)
- mezza buccia di limone grattuggiata (half a lemon zest grated)
- mezzo cucchiaino di lievito istantaneo (half a teaspoon of baking powder)
- 1 pizzico di sale (a pinch of salt)
- 1 pizzico/1 goccio di vaniglia (pinch/tiny bit of vanilla - goccia= drop)

Procedimento:

- In una ciotola (in a bowl) mescola (mix) la farina, il lievito, lo zucchero, il sale e la buccia di limone.
- Aggiungi (add) i tuorli d'uovo e il burro. Impasta (knead) con le dita (with -your- fingers) per meno di mezzo minuto (for less than half a minute).
-  if it does not stick together, add some cold water or an egg white
- Form a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, ideally a couple of hours.

La pasta frolla is now pronta (ready) to make una torta or you can simply flatten it, cut it in your favorite shapes and bake it (at 350 F) to make biscotti.

 Comments and variations:

- you can use un robot da cucina
- you can prepare more dough and freeze it =)
- you can substitute all or part of the butter with extra virgin olive oil: not
 as tasty, but healthier
- in a few years you can add 1/2 a tablespoon of scotch to the dough