You can't have a Christmas or New Year's Eve dinner without dessert!
And remember, there is only one rule when it comes to dessert & wine pairing:
PLEASE do not make the mistake of "pairing" Champagne, Cava, Prosecco and any Sparkling white or Rosé wines
with a sweet cake, like a birthday or a wedding cake.
The two tastes -sweet from the cake and dry and bubbly from the wine- they can never meet somewhere there in the middle. Try an off-dry Riesling, or a late harvest white or a sweet wine to enjoy the full taste of the dessert,
as sweet foods make extra-dry wines seem over-acidic, sharp and tart.
If you wonder what the perfect pairing would be in that case, we suggest a Moscato d’Asti from Piemonte
Two facts when it comes to food & sweet wine pairing, both can be the right choice:
Serve a wine at least as sweet as the food being served, probably sweeter.
Sweet wines coming from white grapes, like Malvasia, Trebbiano and Gewurtztraminer are amazing with baked or stewed stone and tropical fruits and pies made with them.
Serve a sweet wine with a food that contrasts the sweetness of the wine itself
Sweet wines with a good level of acidity, such as Vinsanto, are a perfect match for rich foods like pâté and aged cheese. The acidity will cut through the fat and the wine's sweetness will complement the richness of the food. Sweetness can also balance salt, which is the reason why sweet wines are the classic pairing of blue cheeses, like Gorgonzola, Roquefort and Stilton.
Chocolate would be a big challenge and it’s true that its mouth-coating, melty nature makes it hard to pair with. But you know, you are lucky to be friends of the Perbacco Wine Club and now it's time to reveal a "secret": Be sure that the best choice for a pairing with chocolate -and not only, is nothing else but Its Majesty the superb Vinsanto di Montepulciano. Its dried-fig taste can embrace the richness of the chocolate to lighten up any experience based on cocoa seeds. If you like red sweet wines, here's something for you: Montefalco Sagrantino Passito from Umbria!
PART IV : desserts
Torta co’ bischeri (typical Tuscan cake)
Recommended wine: La Tunella Verduzzo Passito
Ingredients for 6:
9oz. / 250 gr. of flour 00 type
3.5oz. / 100 gr. of butter
5oz. / 150 gr. of sugar
2 eggs + 1 egg yolk, lemon or orange zest
a pinch of yeast might be needed (the one for pastry)
3.5oz. / 100 gr. of rice
4 cups / 1 lt. of milk
3.5oz. / 100 gr. of sugar
3oz. / 80 gr. of dark chocolate chips
½ cup of liqueur (original recipe is using Marsala)
Start preparing the pastry by working the eggs with the sugar in a bowl using a mixer, then add the softened butter, the lemon zest and mix everything together. Then add the flour (and the yeast) little by little and continue mixing. When it's firm, use your hands and keep working with the mixture until you have a nice and smooth ball of dough. Once ready, wrap the dough in cling film and let it rest in the fridge for an hour.
Cook the rice in the sugared milk (4 cups of milk + 3.5 oz. of sugar) and take off the heat when the rice is al dente. Leave aside to cool. Add the beaten eggs and then all the other ingredients and mix using a spoon.
Stretch the short-crust pastry and place it in a pie dish with high sides (1.5") leaving some extra dough on the sides.
Fill the pie shell with the rice mixture, make small little twists and balls (this is the bischeri) and some strips -using a knife or even better a pastry cutter wheel or a pizza cutting roll to cut them and a fork to form the edges- with the extra dough and place the bischeri on the sides and the strips on the center of the pie, crossed.
Bake in preheated oven at 400F / 200°C for half an hour.
Castagnaccio (Tuscan chestnut pie)
Recommended wines: Bertani Recioto della Valpolicella
Ingredients for 6:
10.5oz. / 300 gr. of chestnut flour
1oz. / 30 gr. of peeled walnuts
1oz. / 30 gr. of pine-nuts
1 cup of raisins
2 tablespoons of sugar, 1 pinch of salt
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 cups / ½ lt. of water
Put the flour and the sugar in a bowl and slowly add the water while whisking to avoid the formation of lumps, until the sugar is dissolved, the mixture is not liquid anymore and it is smooth but not too thick.
Add the salt, olive oil, orange zest and walnuts and half of the pine-nuts and raisins.
Mix everything well and pour the mixture in a high-sided (min.1.5") baking sheet, over some oven paper (the mixture should be at least 1 finger high, about 1” / 3cm).
Sprinkle the surface of the mixture with just a bit of the olive oil, the remaining pine-nuts and raisins and bake in a pre-heated oven at about 340F/ 170°C for about 35-40 minutes. Sprinkle with rosemary 10 minutes before it's ready.
Panforte (Classic Tuscan cake)
Recommended wine: Crociani Vinsanto di Montepulciano DOC 2019
12oz. / 350 g of almonds
5oz. / 150 g of orange candied peel
5oz. / 150 g of citron (or lemon) candied peel
5oz. / 150 g of flour
0.35oz / 10 g of cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and coriander (in powder, mixed)
5oz. / 150 g of honey
5oz. / 150 g of icing sugar
3 tablespoons of water
rice or wafer paper
Preheat the oven to 360F / 180°C and toast the almonds for a few minutes.
In a large bowl, add the toasted almonds, the flour, the finely chopped orange and citron candied peel and the spices. Stir to mix.
Line with wafer or rice paper, a min. 7” / 18 cm round cake tin.
Using a small saucepan, over low heat, melt the honey and the icing sugar with 3 tablespoons of water, mixing all the time. When you get a thick golden syrup, remove the pan from the heat.
Pour the syrup into the bowl with all the other ingredients and stir with a spoon to mix everything: you will have a rather hard dough.
Scoop the dough into the cake tin, lined with wafer and smooth the surface with a spoon.
Dust the surface with icing sugar and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, then remove the panforte from the oven. Let it cool but take it from the pan before it gets cold, otherwise it will be difficult to remove. In that case just slightly warm the tin and the panforte will come out with no problems. Once the panforte is cold, dust generously with icing sugar even on the sides.
Torta Ricciolina dell' Amiata
Recommended wine: Talosa Vinsanto di Montepulciano DOC 1996
10.5 oz. / 300 g flour (the 00 type)
5.3 oz. / 150 g sugar
5.3 oz. / 150 g butter
0.6 oz. / 18 g baking powder
1 pinch of salt
3 eggs, 1 whole egg + 2 yolks, the egg whites will be used for the meringue
13 oz. whole jar of Nutella / 375g
3 oz. / 90 g of nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, whatever you prefer, even mixing them)
Ingredients for the meringue
2 egg whites
4 tablespoons sugar
Mix the flour with the sugar, the salt and the baking powder. Cut the butter in dices and add it to the mixture. Use your fingertips to make soft crumbles.
Beat a whole egg and two yolks in a bowl, add them to the crumbles and keep working with the ingredients until you have a nice and smooth ball of dough. Flatten the dough ball with your hands, wrap it in cling film and let it rest in the fridge for at least one hour.
Preheat the oven at 360°F / 180°C. Start chopping the nuts coarsely.
Divide the dough into two equal parts: line a 9” buttered round baking pan with half of the dough, then spread half of the Nutella on the pie and sprinkle with the chopped nuts.
Roll out the second part of dough in a disk big enough to cover the cake. Press the edges to seal the pie and bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes.
For the meringue whip the egg whites until you get a soft cream with "peaks", then gradually add 4 tablespoons of sugar; keep on whipping the egg whites until the meringue is firm and glossy.
When the cake gets a golden color, remove it from the oven and spoon the meringue over the cake, using a spatula to spread it and shape it by creating some puffs.
Put the jar with the leftover Nutella in a pot with boiling water to heat it up, stir it, then drizzle it on the meringue and mix them gently with a fork to form doodles.
Bake again the cake for 2-3 minutes and as soon as the meringue gets firm on the surface and slightly golden, remove from the oven and let it cool completely before you slice it.
Buona preparazione e buona degustazione!
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WANT TO BUY YOUR BELOVED ONES THE PERFECT CHRISTMAS GIFT ?
...and you still have no idea what kind of gift to buy... ?
Here's an idea for the perfect Christmas present!
Perbacco Wine Club 1 year membership voucher (2 shipments, April & October)
+ printable gift card with the name of the person you are sending the gift.
It comes with a 10% discount on the price of the membership gifted, so your beloved ones will receive the voucher+email from me on the 25th, as a welcome on board the Perbacco Wine Club!
You can choose between the four Club tiers: Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum.
The only thing you have to do is send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the tier chosen, name, date of birth, full address, email and phone number of the person you would like to receive the amazing gift, adding your name and we will take care of the rest!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!