the Italian crema pasticcera recipe
These days I’ve been cooking lots of recipes that require basic knowledge of traditional Italian cuisine, so I decided it was time for a HOW TO project.
For the next few weeks, I will post basic (and fundamental) recipes, that we must master in order to cook really good Italian food.
Let’s start from the end: desserts.
If you want to enter the sweet world of Italian patisserie, you need an excellent crema pasticcera recipe and the basic tricks and tips.
You’ll find it everywhere: as bignè and other pasticcini (bite size pastries) filling, on crostata di frutta (fruit pies), and inside an Apulian delight:
Bocconotti, also known as pasticciotti, are some sort of pasta frolla (short crust pastry, similar to shortbread) muffins filled with crema pasticcera.
As part of the Floral Issue is dedicated to Apulian cuisine, you’ll find the Bocconotti recipe there, and I hardly suggest you to
and share it with the ones you love.
This crema pasticcera recipe is, basically, my Cordon Bleau patisserie course recipe. But I refined it when I found Igino Massari’s videos on youtube.
Who’s Igino? Like the best pastry chef in Italy? Sort of.
He’s published a series of videos teaching the basic Italian pastry recipes, and I assure you, they’re precious to anyone willing to learn or improve their sugary skills.
Meanwhile in Rome
Ah, Roma, Roma! Quanto sei bella Roma!
This city is beautiful, we all know that. But there’s something more to add: how its beauty changes through seasons.
Summer nights are magical (especially in August, when everyone is on vacation), early Fall and Ottobrate are the apotheoses of outdoors life, Fall warm colors totally change the scene into a romantic, serene atmosphere, Winter brings infinite shades of gray that inspire your inner artistic melancholy…
Spring is the promise of good life: dining alfresco, walking everywhere, outdoor life in the beautiful Villas, early beach days…
Plus, the city lives its own hanami: mimosa, cherry & peach trees adorn the streets with their delicate palettes. Now and then, you’ll also encounter very intense pink spots: Judas trees (so called because, apparently, this was the tree Juda chose to hang himself – not so romantic ha?).
When you find yourself surrounded by all these colors and fragrances, you know one thing for sure: hold on just a few weeks… Spring will be back.
To be more than sure of this, my house is full of flowers. I have:
- Luca’s always incredibly beautiful Women’s day bouquet.
- The mimosas from the tree in front of our building, that the concierge, annually, picks up and merrily distributes to all condos.
- The willow blossom branches that are hairy, silver gray and very decorative.
- And a lot of Viole Ciocche (Brompton Stocks). A flower you’ll find a lot these days, because, as the florist told me, they symbolize Easter in many regions of Italy.
But I’m also laying the foundation for my Spring garden. I’m seeding and sprouting both decorative and edible flowers. And I’m giving a try to cherry tomatoes and rhubarb (which I heard takes two years and is quite a challenge… we’ll see).
Flour and Flowers, that’s what my life is all about lately.
- 500 ml (17 oz) of cow milk
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1 pinch of salt
- 4 egg yolks
- 150 gr (5.3 oz) of sugar
- 50 gr (1.8 oz) of 00 flour
- The zest of one lemon (optional)
- Freeze a bowl (wet it for it to freeze in a shorter time).
- Bring milk to a boil in a medium saucepan, turn off the heat and add salt, lemon zest and the vanilla bean (carved to release beans and aroma). Let it infuse for a few minutes.
- Meanwhile beat together egg yolks and sugar until frothy.
- Sift the flour and add it to the yolks and sugar mixture. Mix well.
- Add a few scoops of milk (remove the vanilla bean first) through a fine sieve, and mix well. Add the remaining milk and incorporate it completely.
- Return the crema to the saucepan and cook it, over medium/low heat, stirring continuously until it thickens.
- Pour the crema into the frozen bowl and stir energetically for a minute.
Ready! If that’s it for today, just dip some cookies in it: the quintessence of dessert.