Summer Basics

When I was a kid, the last days of summer before school began found me a little nervous and excited. Nervous to start a new year with all of its challenges, and excited to pack in as many fun activities as possible. If you are going out of town for the eclipse or to get your last summer outing in, hopefully you’ll be back in time to order our biscotti box. It includes the basics this week: Anise biscotti, S cookies, and Amaretti. Gluten/wheat-free Amaretti are full of almonds and have a chewy texture. They are different than the Saronno style cookies that are made with finely ground almond flour and are densely crunchy. As always, cannoli are available with chocolate chips and pistachios. Mark the occasion of the total eclipse with a special treat from DiPrima Dolci!

A Hot Treat

Last weekend was so much fun! Our zeppole day was very successful and it was great to see so many wonderful people. Thanks to all of you for coming.

To treat yourself for getting through the hottest days of the year, this week I’m featuring some of my most favorite cookies: Baci di Dama (Lady’s Kisses), Anginetti (Lemon Drops), and my most favorite biscotti—Honey Almond. Baci are made with hazelnuts or almonds; I use the latter. And the cakey Anginetti are coated with lemon juice-flavored icing so they are nice and tart. The honey biscotti are tawny and crunchy. They are different than any other biscotti you’ve tasted; full of flavor and sweetness of honey.

If you haven’t had frangipane, you’re going to have a new favorite. It is basically almonds, butter and egg, making a rich companion to juicy plums in my Plum Frangipane Tart.

Wheat-not Want-not

With so many people struggling with aversion to gluten, it’s nice to offer a traditional cookie that is naturally wheat-free, and not a poor substitute for something with gluten. Croccantini are one such cookie that is delicious to all, not just those watching wheat and gluten. The name means “little chocolate thing”, though they have great flavor from the walnuts and chocolate. The cookie box also has Nocciola, a hazelnut butter cookie, and Espresso Lemon Biscotti. The biscotti has a rich coffee flavor with a distinct lemon tone due to the candied lemon pieces baked in them. Our tart this week is a Peach Gallette, made with our cornmeal dough and plump, juicy peaches.

Zeppole Day

In Italy, every town has a patron saint that is celebrated by an event known as a festa. These events host pious celebrations, including a mass venerating the patron saint and a procession through the town carrying a statue of him or her. Along with these reverent events are other activities, including things like flag tossing, musical shows, and of course, lots of food vendors. New York Italians carry on this tradition with feasts like the San Gennaro Festival in early September, where one of the featured food items is zeppole (think donut hole with powdered sugar). And Portland has had its own festa since 1990 on the last weekend of August in Pioneer Courthouse Square. As a prelude to our Portland Festa, this Saturday, July 29, we will have a pop-up Zeppole Day at The Arrow Coffeehouse, 10 am-noon, serving the iconic treat of the feast of San Gennaro. Zeppole Day was a tradition at my bakery every last Saturday of the month. My customers loved them and savored the special time by bringing friends to join them at our mini-festa. It was always a special event. Hope to see you and your friends.

For this week’s biscotti box we have chunky almond biscotti dunked in dark chocolate, Della Nonna sesame seed cookies, and Zaletti cornmeal currant cookies. And for a tart, it’s tender Sfogliatelle. This is a different version of the pastry offered last week. Instead of the crunchy, scallop-shaped pastry, the tender Sfogliatelle are basically a hand tart with thick ricotta custard filling. It is flavored with candied orange and vanilla just like the crunchy ones.

Surprise! Sfogliatelle!

Business has been a bit slow with vacations and such, so I found the time to make a batch of sfogliatelle, a special pastry originating from and prominent in Naples. Its origins were in hallowed convents where the cloistered nuns found the time away from prayer to craft this labor-and-patience-intensive pastry. Their dutiful hands were able to stretch the dough into very fine strips and delicately assemble them into almost infinite layers. Its name, sfogliatelle, means many leaves and is indicative of the layers. My pastry isn’t as fine as the nuns’, but I think you’ll find them tasty. Place your order early because they are limited in number.

In the biscotti box for the first time are Frollini, the crumbly butter cookie that is dipped in chocolate and layered with jam. Joining them are S cookies and Rum Raisin biscotti. As always, cannoli are available too.

Baci and Bocce

Two words in Italian are sometimes confused by Americans: Baci (pronounced baa-chee) and Bocce (pronounced bo-chay). Baci means kiss and bocce is a sport that is popular around the world and was played as far back as Roman times.

Baci di Dama is one of the cookies in our box this week. It means “lady kisses” and are two half circles joined by a chocolate center. The cookie is made with almonds for a classic chocolate-almond combination. It shares the attention in our assortment with Pignoli cookies and Anise biscotti. Pignoli were always a popular in our bakery, partly because we make them wheat-free and also because they are delicious. Made with almond paste, they are loaded with flavor and chewy goodness.

Since it was such a favorite last week, we have the Mascarpone and Raspberry Tarts again this week, just in case you missed them or want more. These have shaved chocolate on top of the raspberries for added flavor. The tarts serve 1-2 people, and larger ones are available if you inquire through the contact page.

Berry Good

Noci, Espresso Lemon Biscotti, and wheat-free Amaretti fill our biscotti/cookie box this week. Noci means walnuts, the main ingredient in these powdered-sugar-coated cookies. Espresso and lemon pair up in our biscotti this week and once again, Amaretti are included in our assortment.

Our tart of the week, made with our short crust, is Raspberry Mascarpone Tart. If you’re like me, you eat as many berries as you can during the season, and this combination of creamy mascarpone and plump raspberries makes a sumptuous duo. The tarts serve 1-2 people, and larger ones are available if you inquire through the contact page.

A Name Tells a Lot

Legend has it that Amaretti (little bitter things) were invented in either the 1600s or the 1700s. A baking couple created it to honor a visiting cardinal to their town of Saronno. Using apricot kernels (poisonous bitter almonds) and cooking them long enough to purge the poisonous cyanide from them, the Amaretti cookie was invented. But from the prior century there is a story that a pastry chef in Venice invented them during the Rennaissance. Whatever the story, Amaretti are found all over the world individually wrapped in a fine paper and boxed in decorative tins.

This week’s biscotti/cookie box is Amaretti, Fig Walnut Biscotti, and S Cookie. Our tart for the week is a Mixed Berry Gallette. The free-form crust is made with cornmeal for a rustic flavor and filled with blueberries and strawberries.

Amaretti are a wheat-free and gluten-free cookie made with almond flour. The biscotti for this week are flavored with orange extract and baked with hunks of dried mission figs and walnuts.

There are different ideas about why S Cookies are shaped like the letter “S”, but the one I’m most fond of is that it stands for Sicilian. It’s a fun cookie for toddlers because it’s a simple, easy to handle shape and down-to-earth buttery flavor. And adults like it too! Like all of our products, it has real ingredients and is not too sweet.

Happy Father’s Day

This week’s biscotti/cookie box is Della Nonna, Croccantini, and Rum Raisin Biscotti.

Croccantini means little chocolate cookie and it’s that and more. Walnuts give croccantini a crunch while the chocolate meringue part gives it a soft, melt-in-your-mouth texture.

Our biscotti this week lives up to its name (bis-cotti: twice cooked). Its texture is very crisp and it is loaded with raisins that are soaked in rum. Cinnamon is an aromatic flavor partner to the raisins.

The sesame coated Della Nonna were a favorite of my dad’s. He was a big dunker and these are easy to submerge in a hot cup of coffee!

This week there’s a mini cake instead of a tart. A moist and flavorful cake I wait all year to make with fresh cherries. Our orange and cherry cake with sliced almonds is just sweet enough, combining the sweetness of fresh Northwest cherries with a citrus tang and light crunch of sliced almonds. If you’re a cherry fan you’ll want to get in on this one. Larger cakes are available on request.

Remember, ordering is 24 hours in advance, with no same-day orders. Send me a message if you have a special request, a suggestion, or a question. I’m always happy to hear from my customers!

Ciao!!

Working out the kinks

It’s my second week of baking and things are going great! Thanks to all of you who ordered the first week. It was a nice way to re-start my business—seeing dedicated fans of my products. We are aware of the bumps that remain in the ordering system, and we will be ironing them out shortly.

Generally, here’s the way it operates:

Every Sunday the new menu comes out for the week. Orders can be made from Sunday morning until Friday at 10 am for pickups on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. All orders must come in 24 hours in advance to ensure availability. Currently, with my kitchen time availability, the ordering process requires the shop feature to be shut down from Fridays at 10 am until Sunday at 8 am.

This week’s special biscotti/cookies are Anise, Amaretti, Della Nonna and Zaletti. Amaretti are a wheat-free and gluten-free cookie made with almond flour. They are often ground up and used in a lot of desserts as a crunchy topping.

Della Nonna are named “grandma’s cookie” because it’s a favorite recipe passed down in many families. A butter cookie covered in sesame seeds, Della Nonna are baked to a golden brown so they have a lot of caramelized flavor and a crumbly texture.

Our Anise Biscotti are well-loved and just firm enough to take a dunking. I adjusted the recipe from my previous one to include anise seeds for an additional textural bite.

Zaletti are made with cornmeal and sweet currants. It has a gentle crunch and gets sweetness from its currants.

The tart of the week is a walnut liquour Pasta Croce—made with ricotta custard. “Pasta” in this context means dough, and “croce” means cross. It’s named for the cross of dough on the top of the tart.

Send me a message if you have a special request, a suggestion, or a question. I’m always happy to hear from my customers! Remember ordering is 24 hours in advance, with no same-day orders.

Ciao!!