Skip to content

Three Summer Friends: Crostata, Bavarese, Panna Cotta..Yum!

Posted in cucina, cucina povere, desserts, La Dolce Vita, slow food, and Uncategorized

Guest Blogger: Brianne Wetovick

Summer is here!  The longest day of the year came and went and no we can really say that summer is upon us!  Gardens and flowers are growing and blooming, and kids are rushing to the freezer for popsicle after popsicle.
Thinking about the garden and upcoming summer festivities, there’s going to be berries galore, and guests eager to try them.  Why not offer some desserts especially delicious while these berries are ripe?

You can choose exactly what fruit to put onto this tart.  What do you have in your garden?  Have anything that generous friends or neighbors with gardens of their own shared with you?

Crostata di Frutta

Prep time: 30 min | Total time: 3 hour | Servings:12
For waht is known as ‘Pasta Frolla’ or crust
5 cups all-purpose  flour
1 1/3 cups butter
1 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
Zest of 1 organic lemon

1 tsp vanilla flavoring
5/8 cup sugar
1 pint milk
4 egg yolks
2 tablespoons flour
1 fresh vanilla pod
250 ml (1/2 pint) whipping cream
Fruit to cover the crust : strawberries, kiwi, figs, raspberries etc.
For the crust or pasta frolla
Line an ovenproof pie   dish with baking paper.
On a wooden work surface, mix together the flour, sugar and butter, cut into little pieces. Rub the butter into the flour and sugar, until it is completely worked in. Work lightly so that the butter does not melt.
Make a mound out of this mixture and make a well in the center. Add the eggs yolks and lemon zest and vanilla.
Work the ingredients together, first with a fork, then with your hands, until you have a smooth, soft pastry dough.
Wrap the pastry dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes,may require an hour more in warm weather.
Preheat the oven to 320°F.
Remove pastry from refrigerator, roll out to the size of the pie plate, cover with parchment or  baking paper and place some dry beans on top to weigh it down and prevent from rising. Crust should be about 1/2 inch thick
Bake at 320°F for 15-20 minutes, until the crust is a  golden hue. Remove the beans  and baking paper and allow to cool.
For the custard topping
Split open the vanilla pod and place in a saucepan with the milk. Bring to a  boil slowly.
In a large bowl, vigorously beat the egg yolks with the sugar until  light yellowcolor and frothy.
Add the flour and beat well.
Add the milk gradually, (remove the vanilla pod, scraping the seeds back into the milk) beating constantly with a whisk.
Slowly reheat, stirring constantly only in one direction until  thick. The custard will thicken even more once it cools. Allow to cool, cover with plastic wrap to avoid a skin forming.
Fold whipped cream into the cooled custard. Fill the cooled  crust with this and decorate with fruit.
This pie is best enjoyed at room temperature soon after it has been made,  not refrigerated.


Panna Cotta

Prep time: 30 mins | Total time: 2 hours 30 mins | Servings: 8
For 6-8 small crème caramel-type moulds:
2 pints  cream
3  teaspoons of sugar

Half a fresh vanilla pod
2 oz plain gelatin powder or agar ,agar
For the sauce:

1 lb of ripe strawberries,  blueberries, raspberries,kiwis
Split open the vanilla pod and place in a saucepan with the sugar and cream. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
When the mixture has come to a boil, add the gelatin or  agar-agar, lower the heat and leave for two- three minutes.
Pour the mixture into the molds, allow to cool and place in a refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving.
Wash and prepare the fruit, cutting it into small pieces.
Add just enough sugar to sweeten (approx 1-2 teaspoons, depending on the fruit).
Heat on a low flame for a few minutes, just enough for the fruit to soften.
Leave to cool. Serve spooned over the panna cotta once out of its mold.


Bavarese di Frutta

(photo credit:


Fruit Bavarese
Prep time: 10 mins | Total time: 2-4 hours | Servings: 10
1 lb strawberries/peaches/apricots
1 fresh  lemon
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup cream

1 tablespoon plain gelatin powder

Soak the leaf gelatin in cold water until it is soft.
Wash the fruit and blend it with the  lemon juice and sugar.
Melt the gelatin in 2 tablespoons of water in a pan on a very low heat, then blend into the fruit.
Whip the cream, adding some sugar if the fruit is still too acidic.
Fold the cream into the fruit, using sweeping movements from the bottom to the top, mixing well while taking care to keep it all fluffy.
Lightly oil the molds with almond oil. Pour the mixture into it. Tap the mold  to release any trapped bubble and leave in the fridge for 4 hours (less time is needed if in small individual molds).
When you serve it, take the mold out of the fridge and turn it upside down onto a plate. If it does not come out, tap gently or place for a few seconds in hot water.

This dessert works very well prepared the day before you serve it. You can decorate the bavaresi by placing mint leaves, flowers, strawberries etc on it.

There you have it!  Desserts that take advantage of your summer garden and will leave your guests asking for the recipe!  I’d better start rounding up some strawberries….


For more great recipes get your copy of The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays & Special Occasions-2nd edition

*June 27-29 See you at the Gourmet Food and Wine Show in Atlantic City

Translate »

Designed by Brian Hanshaw

%d bloggers like this: