After hearing so much about the cookbook, Dolce Italiano, I decided I needed my own copy. While waiting for Amazon to ship my book, I read all the blogs featuring the recipes and imagined all the wonderful recipes I would make. Once my book finally arrived in the mail, I then realized that I was poorly equipped with the necessary ingredients and equipment needed to actually bake anything.
It took a while to gather up some of the necessary ingredients, including kosher salt, polenta flour, vanilla beans. I then realized I only owned three pans for baking: a muffin pan, a loaf pan, and a rectangular pan, as well as a couple of cookie sheets. So, back to Amazon to order some pans. I ordered a wonderful new springform pan, a 9-inch square cake pan, and a zester and my dad gave me a bundt pan that he did not use.
While waiting for my new pans to arrive, I made the Ricotta Pound Cake. It was a pretty simple recipe to follow. I ended up cutting the recipe in half because I ate some of the ricotta I bought before I finally found the Vanilla Beans at a reasonable price. I think I also might have taken it out of the oven a little too soon, but I still found it to be quite delicious. I cut it up into pieces and put most of it in the freezer, taking it out and heating it up each morning to have for breakfast with my morning espresso.
My new pans arrived last weekend. Once they arrived, I realized why I owned so few pans. Each one takes up storage room! One of the reasons baking is such a challenge for me is because of the very limited space I have in my kitchen. I live in a tiny studio. I have three tiny counters in my tiny kitchen. Each one 15 1/2 inches wide with items already on them. Because I have limited storage space, many of my baking pans are stored in my oven. This is where my new pans also ended up. When I bake, I have to take all the stored pans out of the oven. They end up balancing on top of my pans on the stove as well as overflowing onto a couple of my counters. I also use these two counters to hold the bowl for the dry ingredients and some of the other ingredients needed for the recipe. That leaves me with one counter (15 1/2 inches wide by 12 1/2 inches deep with my espresso machine already on this counter) to use to actually do the measuring, chopping, and the mixing with my little hand mixer, because of course I have no room for one of those nice Kitchen-Aid mixers. I even use my sink at times as another free space before it gets filled up with dishes. There of course is no room for my cookbook, so I put that in my living room/bedroom area and go back and forth to refer to it while baking. If you are getting the picture, it is quite a challenge to actually try to bake anything in my kitchen. I thought about taking a photo of all the pans balanced on my stove, but I would have had to clean my kitchen first to do that (you know, how you clean before the maid comes to clean?).
On Saturday, I finally got up the courage to attempt one of the more complicated recipes; the Citrus-Glazed Polenta Cake. This is one of the recipes I have wanted to make since getting Dolce Italiano. I can proudly announce that I successfully created a delicious Citrus-Glazed Polenta Cake. I did not take a picture of it however as it fell in the middle while cooling. It did however taste quite wonderful and even better the next day!! It tastes like a gourmet cornbread cake. I love cornbread!!
Because I am wheat sensitive but not gluten intolerant, I used spelt flour in place of the regular flour for the Ricotta Pound Cake and half spelt/half Pamela's gluten free baking & pancake mix for the Citrus-Glazed Polenta Cake. I probably should not have used the spelt flour though as it is just one step down from wheat flour and I have been battling a cold and sore throat lately that does not respond well to me eating wheat. I have been bad with my diet lately, eating ravioli dinners and all the Ricotta Pound Cake that was made with spelt flour, and so next time I should probably try using just the Pamela's mix for the flour. I will probably have to tweak the recipe a little until I get it just right.
Next up, perhaps a tart? I don't think however I will be able to make my own crust. It would just be a little too challenging with the space available.
Dolce Italiano is a fabulous cookbook. Well done, Stella!! I am so happy that I have discovered it.
I am looking forward to some wonderful morning treats of Citrus-Glazed Polenta Cake with my morning espresso. Yummy!!