The first day of summer calls for something sweet!
In Lisa Valmorbida’s new book, Pidapipó: Eight Days a Week, she celebrates this Italian favorite (as well as recipes for many other old and new Italian desserts), with a twist: you don’t just have to read about gelato, you can make it, too!
You’ll find over fifty recipes, ranging from gelatos and granitas, to pavlovas and cakes. The book is organized by season, which is great if you’re looking for desserts that incorporate seasonal fruits and fresh ingredients.
Inspired by family vacations with her Nonna and Nonno in Vicenza, Italy, Valmorbida takes readers on a culinary adventure of Italian sweets. Her enthusiasm and love of authentic gelato exudes throughout the book; it’s a timeless addition deserving of space on your cookbook shelf.
Throughout the book, you’ll also find a mix of illustrations and photographs. The illustrations are done by Jean Jullien, the artist who created the iconic “Peace for Paris” symbol. The photographs belong to Valmorbida and her family. Together, these visuals give the book a very playful personality, which pairs well with the light and airiness of the recipes.
TIP: If you’re planning on making the gelato/sorbetto/granita recipes, I would recommend purchasing an ice cream/gelato machine. I got a Cuisinart one for $40 on Amazon (what the author recommends); there isn’t really a way around it. You can make many of the other desserts in the book without this purchase, but if you’re looking to make the gelatos, it’s worth the investment.
Also, take a look at p. 17 for other equipment you’ll need. Of note, I’d recommend getting silicone containers to store your gelato in and a scale to ensure accurate ingredient measuring (you can read about the time I didn’t use a scale and what happened below…).
For taste testing, I wanted to try a variety of desserts, so I tried one from each season featured in the book.
SPRING: Banana Milk Gelato (p. 51)
This was the first gelato I had ever made…and let’s just say it was a process of trial and error (being totally honest, the first go around was mostly error). If you do pick up a ocpy of this book, my best piece of advice would be to 100% follow the instructions on the gelato/ice cream maker, as well as have a reliable scale to weigh all of your dry ingredients.
I was impatient to start making the recipe, so I didn’t let the inner bowl of the gelato maker freeze for a full 24 hours. It was cold to the touch when I took it out of the freezer, so I thought it was okay after 15-ish hours in there (it wasn’t). The piece has to be completely frozen in order to spin the ingredients into gelato.
It also didn’t help that I miscalculated the amount of sugar for the recipe (like three times the quantity, oops). That being said, it was a valiant first try; it tasted (much) better the second time I made this with a fully frozen machine and proper ingredient measurements.
The picture shown is from attempt one; I put cut up bananas on it to distract from it’s half-melted appearance. The other gelato/sorbetto recipes I tried turned out MUCH better than this first try (but ya live and ya learn, and it’s my job to make these mistakes to share with you…so you don’t do the same).
SUMMER: Fresh Mint Gelato (p. 95)
This was a fan favorite for my family. The fresh mint is so refreshing! My picture looks brown (while the one in the book looks green), because I substituted carob bean powder for cacao powder (which the interwebs told me was a good substitute), as my local grocery story didn’t carry carob (but, if you’re planning ahead, there are options on Amazon and elsewhere online to get carob; some health food stores carry it too)!
I really liked this recipe because it wasn’t overpowering in “mint” taste, but it also didn’t lack flavor like many store-bought mint ice creams and gelatos have. It was the perfect balance of sweet with a hint of refreshing. According to Valmorbida (and I would concur), this recipe pairs really well with chocolate – sauce, pudding, and/or cake! I might also add, you can always throw in some chocolate chips to make it a mint chip mashup!
AUTUMN: Mandarin Sorbetto (p. 136)
This recipe is a little different from the gelato ones because it doesn’t have any dairy. It was the easiest recipe to make, if you don’t count the close to three dozen mandarin oranges my boyfriend so generously squeezed for this recipe (thanks, babe). While sorbetto is much lighter in texture than gelato, it’s delicious all the same.
As added fun, you can always peel an orange so that you could put the sorbetto back in and serve it in a glass. This would also be a great recipe to make if you’re cooking several courses and want to serve an intermezzo palate cleanser (hands-down, sure to impress your guests).
WINTER: Tiramisu Layer Cake (p. 159)
Layered with wafts of sweet cherry and coffee, this tiramisu is dressed to impress. I will say, this was one of the more technical dishes I made for this review (you have to make the marscapone gelato ahead of time), but it’s WELL worth the effort.
This recipe is a bit of a play on a classic tiramisu (because it has gelato in the center of it), but it is still strongly reminiscent of the classic Italian dessert. This was probably my favorite of all the recipes I tried…but then again, like Valmorbida’s mom, I’m a bit of a tiramisu snob (no apologies here).
Overall, I’d say that this is a beautifully crafted cookbook that explains the in’s and out’s of gelato making. Whether you’ve made it one hundred times, or you’re green like I was, (if you follow the directions), you’re in for quite a treat.
The book includes a variety of flavors and desserts, so you’ll be able to find sweets that are not only light and refreshing, but also ones that are as decadently-indulgent.
I received this book complimentary on behalf of the publisher, but all thoughts and opinions in this post are my own. All photography featured in this post is my own unless noted otherwise; please seek permission before copying or reproducing the images.
Purchase this title — Pidapipo: Gelato Eight Days a Week
Book Stats: Pidapipó: Eight Days a Week by Lisa Valmorbida
Page Count- 191
Binding- Hardcover with color photography and illustrations