This was a bittersweet week. Not the toasted almond gelato—that was deliciously sweet. But sadly this was the last week that the Sunday Slow Bakers 'baked' from "Dolce Italiano." We chose to do a gelato in preparation of our next book "The Perfect Scoop." But before I explain all about that, I want to devote this entry to Gina's amazing Toasted Almond Gelato and to talk about how the book "Dolce Italiano" has transformed my baking.
When I first saw the book "Dolce Italiano" by Gina DePalma, I had a feeling that these were my kind of dessert recipes. And rather than just read about them and maybe try one or two, which is what I usually end up doing with cookbooks, I thought it would be an interesting idea to get a group of people to bake from the book on a weekly basis. Luckily there were more than a dozen Slow Travelers who were willing to do just that, and the Sunday Slow Bakers was formed.
Each week one of us chose a recipe and, as you can see from my blog and the others who have blogged, there has been an incredible variety. From cookies to cakes to breadsticks and to our finale gelato, what a wonderful adventure in the kitchen it has been. There were weeks when we really wondered where would find the ingredients. There were times when I was sure mine was going to be a disaster. There were times when we confessed to eating the results a little too quickly. There were definitely those of us who strayed from the recipe and tried something different. But every week looking at everyone's photos and comparing notes was truly inspiring.
I think the whole process made me a better baker. Not only was I trying recipes that I probably wouldn't have, but I really paid attention to what I was doing, keeping track of any substitutions or deviations from the recipe and sometimes documenting every step with a photo. And with every recipe, I had Gina's wonderful notes and sidebars to refer to. At times her cookbook reads like a novel. She has the most thorough ingredient notes and historical references in a cookbook that I have ever seen. When you cook from her book every week, it's as though she is with you in your kitchen every week.
So, I know I will be turning to these recipes again and again in the future. Just because we are moving onto to another book, doesn't mean that I am done with "Dolce Italiano." Far from it. Not only do I have some of my all-time favorites to trot out when I need them, but there are still some recipes that I simply must try.
Now about this week's bittersweet gelato, oops, I mean Toasted Almond Gelato. It was divine. It was creamy, yet light. It was just rich enough and just sweet enough without being too much of either. As you can see from my photo, I served it with some strawberries, which was lovely. But this would have been equally fine all on its own. The recipe makes four generous servings, and that's it. So when I served it as dessert at a dinner party of four, there were no leftovers. None. Keep that in mind. You may want to make two batches.
Thank you Gina, for a wonderful book and a wonderful experience. You have touched my life, and I wish you all the best.
And thank you Deborah, Colleen, Palma, Jerry, Kim, Jan, Marcia, Marta, Sandi, Amy, Nancy, Terry, Maria, Ida, and Cindy for embarking on this adventure with me. I look forward to our next!