Recreating Italian Desserts with Dolci By Francine Segan

I’ve been at it again. Attempting to be a food blogger for a day. And can I just say, I do not envy food bloggers in the slightest. It’s bloody hard to make food look as good as it tastes in photos, and how about the fact that your kitchen has to be spotless?! Ok mine isn’t. But I tried, ok?

Anyway, back to the point. Today I wanted to give another cookbook ago, specifically Dolci: Italy’s Sweets by Francine Segan. If you’ve been reading my blog over the last few months, or been keeping an eye on my Instagram, you’ll know that I haven’t quite gotten over my Italy trip back in October. I can’t stop writing about it or uploading gorgeous photos, because it was simply a fantastic trip. And the food was outstanding. So I decided to try to recreate one of the desserts I had in Italy at home, using the fabulous Dolci cookbook.

I had ‘Bonissima’, a honey and walnut cake in Riomaggiore in Cinque Terre and it was awesome. It wasn’t the kind of thing I would’ve had at home, but was so sweet and nutty and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Bonnissima in Riomaggiore

Doesn’t it look gorge? For the record, and just to brag, this is the main I had with this dessert, a fantastic Spaghetti Pomodoro… I know right.

Spaghetti Pomodoro in Riomaggiore

So anyway, why not give this ‘Bonissima’ dessert a go at home?!

Dolci: Italy’s Sweets by Francine Segan is full of really traditional Italian recipes from Almond Biscotti to Cherry-Ricotta Pie, including Bonissima, aka the Honey-Walnut Chocolate Glazed Pie. Now the Bonissima I had in Italy didn’t have this chocolate glaze, but surely that would just add to the experience right? Chocolate has never ruined a dessert, ever.

Dolci: Italy's Sweets by Francine Segan

This version also has my all-time favourite alcohol in it – RUM. I love rum, I’m pretty much a pirate, so happy to add it into the mix. Apparently chocolate and rum aren’t in the traditional recipe for Bonissima but was added in the 18th century to make it even more delicious. I’m game.

I’ve only ever made my own shortcrust pastry once so was a bit worried, but the initial Pie Crust Dough I followed in Dolci was fairly easy to follow. And it had lemon zest in it so smelled AMAZING. Here’s the first part of the recipe, to make the dough:

Pie Crust Dough Recipe

Ingredients

  • 240g All-purpose Flour
  • 150g Sugar 
  • 115g Butter (softened & cubed)
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 2 Egg Yolks
  • Grated zest of 1 Lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Salt
  • 2 tablespoons of Liqueur (optional so I didn’t bother)

Method

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the Flour, Sugar and Butter with a wooden spoon.
  • Form a well in the centre of the mixture and add the Eggs, Egg Yolks, Lemon Zest, Salt and Liqueur (if using).
  • Gradually stir in the flour mixture until combined.
  • Shape into a ball, wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge for at least an hour.

Making Bonissima!

This part of the recipe was fairly simple and I didn’t have any issues with it. However, when it came to taking the dough out of the fridge to roll out for the Bonissima recipe, it was super sticky. And really hard to roll out. I used a lot of flour to make it work, which I’m not sure was totally advisable… But what’s a girl to do?

Here’s the Bonissima recipe for ya:

Honey-Walnut Chocolate Glazed Pie Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon of Plain Bread Crumbs
  • 1 recipe Pie Crust Dough
  • 170g coarsely chopped Walnuts
  • 240ml Honey
  • 95ml Rum
  • 100g chopped Dark Chocolate
  • 75ml Double Cream
  • 1 teaspoon of Butter

Method 

  • Preheat the oven to 360°F/180°C
  • Sprinkle the Bread Crumbs in the bottom of a 9-inch Pie Pan.
  • Roll 1 ball of dough out into a circle large enough to line the pan, and put it in. Pierce the dough with a fork all over.
  • Roll the second ball of dough out in a circle large enough to cover the pan.
  • In a bowl, combine the Walnuts, Honey and Rum and stir (It will be really liquid but will soak into the pie crust). Pour it into the pie and put the pastry lid on top. Cut any edges off of the crust.
  • Bake for 40 minutes, until golden. Coll on a wire rack to room temperature.
  • To make the glaze, put the Dark Chocolate into a bowl. In a saucepan, heat the Double Cream until warm (not boiling) and pour over the chocolate.
  • Stir the mixture until the chocolate has melted. Then add the butter and stir in.
  • Let it cool to room temperature and spread the glaze over the top of the pie.

Making Bonissima!

As you can see it didn’t exactly turn out like my Italy Bonissima! The one in Italy was definitely more crumbly and lighter. But it was still a delicious pie. The chocolate and rum additions were really nice, although I think I made the pastry a little heavy. Definitely improvements I will make next time I make this!

Buonissima (Honey-Walnut Pie)

But I was impressed with how easy the recipe was, and will definitely be trying some more Italian Desserts from Dolci: Italy’s Sweets! If you want a copy, check out the cookbook in the link below.

What did you think of my Bonissima? Have you attempted any dishes you’ve had on your travels at home? How did they go? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me @HeelsInBackpack!

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