Thursday, January 17, 2013

International Day of Italian Cuisines - January 17

The International Day of Italian Cuisines (IDIC) was launched by the Virtual Group of Italian Chefs in 2006, who state their aims at ‘protecting the right of worldwide consumers to get authentic and quality Italian cuisine when they go to eateries labeled as “Italian”. '

Each year, a classic italian dish is selected to be researched, documented and shared on line.  Dshes featured in previous years are Ossobuco, basil Pesto, Tagliatelle Ragu, Risotto Milanese, and Spaghetti Carbonara and I definitely intend to give their 'traditional' and sanctioned recipes a test.  These 'official' recipes can be found on the IDIC website.  The history and notes make for some interesting reading.  But try not to get too offended by the views expressed about other nations interpretations of some dishes.  They sound particularly upset about Spaghetti Bolognese.  For more, read the Tagliatelle Ragu pages.

This years dish is Tiramisu, a favourite and a very easy dessert.  I was somewhat surprised to learn that despite the dishes huge popularity in Italy and around the world, Tiramisù is a fairly recent Italian dessert, its origins probably only dating back to the the 1970’s.  Even the essential ingredients:  mascarpone, Marsala and savoiardi, are recent culinary inventions, compared to many other traditional Italian foods.

Anyway, Tiramisu is a very easy dessert to make and a great Italian dish to start with if you are new to cooking.  Why not give it a go on the 17th January?  The following recipe and the above image are from the IDIC website. 

Let me know via comments how you go and how everyone enjoyed celebrating the International Day of Italian Cuisines.  
'The Authentic Recipe'
INGREDIENTS (10 to 12 serves)
220g Egg
100g Sugar
500g Mascarpone
80g Marsala wine
50g Coffee
Savoiardi biscuits 
Separate the yolks from the egg whites.  Beat the yolks and the sugar.  Whip the whites and the salt.  Add the mascarpone to the yolks and sugar.  Lighten the mixture by adding the whipped egg whites.
Add the marsala to the coffee.
Soak the savoiardi in the mixture of coffee and marsala and lay them out in the desired mould.
Alternate layers of mascarpone with layers of savoiardi; top off with the mascarpone cream.
Refrigerate and sprinkle with cocoa.
Serve at 6 to 8 °C  
I think this is about 43 to 47ish degrees Fahrenheit.  Basically it means serve it cold, but not straight-out-of -fridge cold (under 5 degrees Celsius, or under 40 Fahrenheit).   I suggest you take it out of the fridge and allow it to 'unchill' a little, but serve soon afterwards.  Depending on room temperature, this will vary so there is no point me recommending times!
Note: due to food safety reasons, the authors have added a note that it is recommended to use pasteurised eggs or to cook the preparations with the eggs at 71 ºC (160 ºF).  Home cooks won't bother with pasteurised eggs and I would be interested to know how you can 'cook the preparation'.  If any readers had any ideas let me know via a comment as I am interested.  However, as this is a raw egg dish, the usual precautions SHOULD be taken which means that the ill, elderly or pregnant women should avoid the dish.  Sorry ladies (and gentlemen)!

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