Calabria, Bergamot Pastry Cream and Dessert, Taste of Italy

One of the best food events I have attended in a while was by Casa Italia Atletica on November 5th, 2010 in New York.

It was well attended yet not overcrowded which made it convivial. Fred Plotkin was the perfect MC. He took us on a journey from Siena to lesser known regions of Italy. We learned about their history, geography, poets and the endless variations in recipes for brodetto.

Yes there are gaps in my culinary knowledge. I discovered that Bergamot beyond being an essential part of Earl Grey tea had its place in the dessert department.


A pastry chef from Calabria flew in for the event and baked bergamot scented cookies and made a dessert cup garnished with a layer of bergamot flavored cream.

Bergamot as you realize quickly has to be use parsimoniously so as not to overpower everything.

I went looking for like-minded items and found a Chocolate Macarons with Bergamot Buttercream recipe (Chez Us, February 2010).

I will just share the Chez Us Bergamot Buttercream part:

"60 grams egg whites at room temperature
35 grams & 15 grams Castor Sugar
30 grams water
1/2 teaspoon bergamont essence oil
zest from half of a fresh bergamont
1 stick unsalted butter
pinch salt
1/8 tsp Cream of Tartar

Mix 35 grams of sugar with the water  and zest and bring to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Stir sugar until it boils.   Using a candy thermometer, continue to boil until 121°C / 249°F.  Meanwhile, beat  the egg whites with an electric mixer in a clean bowl on medium high speed until frothy.  Add in the cream of tartar, and continue to whip until soft peaks form.  Add the remaining sugar and continue to beat until stiff, and glossy peaks form.  When the sugar reaches 121°C / 249°F, remove it from heat.  Reduce the mixer to medium low and slowly pour the syrup into the egg whites in a thin stream between the whisk and the side of the bowl. Be careful not to splash the hot syrup or your buttercream may form small sugar crystals in it. Return the mixer to medium high, and continue beating until the mixture is fully cooled. About 15 minutes.  Reduce mixer speed to medium and gradually add small amounts of the butter, but only as much as it can be absorbed into the mixture before adding the next amount.  Continue to beat until the buttercream is smooth. About 15 minutes.  As the buttercream solidifies, add 1/2 teaspoon essence oil and beat into the mixture for an additional minute."

On the baking side, check these Bergamot Madeleines (Chez Pim).

(* Bergamot illustration from Bergamot entry on Wikipedia)

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