Four ingredients most used in of Italian pastries that will surprise your taste buds
When we think about Italian gastronomy, it is usually the delicious pasta dishes and the unbeatable pizzas that come to mind. Nevertheless, the country’s confectionery deserves praise too and should not be ignored. We present four ingredients of Italian pastries that you’ll wish you’d known about before.
Ingredients of best-quality Italian pastries: butter
On many occasions confectionery and, of course, pastries are relegated to second place in the world of gastronomy. However, the great chefs know that sweetmeats are not just another dish. Nor are they a mere whim. Above all, they are emotions. What’s more, eating them provides immediate satisfaction. But for this to happen, it is crucial that the ingredients are of the highest quality. Butter is one of the most important ingredients in Italian pastries. The aroma and texture are fundamental, but also the colour. Many wedding cakes are covered with Italian butter, which is none other than butter with a meringue base. The firmness of the topping and its light colour are key properties and neither of them would be possible without top-quality butter. The trick is to cream the butter by hand. It’s more work but it tastes far better.
One of the ingredients that Italian pastries usually have in common is vanilla aroma. Vanilla is a natural extract obtained from orchids. For a truly exquisite cake mixture, artificial vanilla flavouring is not good enough. And the fact is that we have not yet developed an effective way of imitating the colours of nature. Therefore, in high-quality Italian confectionery the vanilla extract is handcrafted. The method consists of macerating the fruit of the orchid in a good liquor. Vodka is usually used for its neutral flavour. About three months are needed to obtain a high-quality vanilla extract that will surprise the senses of the most expert diner.
The citrus touch: yellow lemon
Limes and green lemons have a more acid flavour, but it is the yellow lemon that offers the best lemon rind for use as one of the tastiest ingredients in Italian pastries. The Amalfi coast is well known for this aromatic citrus fruit, used in limoncello, lemon-scented olive oil, aromatic pasta… and, of course, all kinds of desserts and pastries. From lemon meringue to torta della nonna (grandmother’s tart). Fresh lemons ripened in the sun are the ones with the best aromatic properties, and these are the ones that give pastries character.
Flour: the basis of everything
Flour is another of the most highly valued ingredients in Italian pastries. To be of the best quality it must be dry and have retained all its proteins. The strength of the flour is what determines the final texture of the product. In confectionery, desserts made with fermented dough in particular – which is also the basic ingredient of pastry – require medium strength flours. This results in a spongy, lighter product.
So these are the ingredients in Italian pastries that will surprise your taste buds. The key characteristics are quality, natural aromas and tradition. Test some of them out and tell us what you think.