Over many years of food writing, I’ve had the pleasure of spending time with several well-known chefs. I met the gracious and friendly Lidia while dining at one of her New York restaurants, during the 1990s. I also had the pleasure of ‘introducing’ her to the larger Kansas City community via my news article for a local alternative newspaper-before she opened her first non-NYC restaurant, Lidia’s Kansas City. Since then, I’ve met Lidia and dined at her Kansas City restaurant a number of times.
For my first chocolate recipe of 2022, I chose her delicious Chocolate Biscotti Pudding/Budino di Gianduia. It appears in my autographed copy of the cookbook, Lidia’s Favorite Recipes, written with her daughter, Tanya Bastianich Manuali. Now, I’m thrilled to share my experiences making this creamy, decadent dessert, with you. Buon appetito!
Hazelnuts are an integral part of both the texture and flavor in this recipe, and I highly recommend preparing them before you assemble other ingredients for the dessert. Though time consuming, removing the skin from hazelnuts is quite easy if you follow these instructions, that originally came from five-time James Beard award-winning chef, Alice Medrich.
You'll feel like you're doing a chemistry experiment as baking soda meets boiling water meets unpeeled nuts, creating a pinkish black liquid in the pan. But it's really amazing how readily the skins come off when you follow this method.
Now you're ready for the rest of the recipe (see link above). Allow plenty of time!
Lidia suggests that you finely chop the bittersweet chocolate for this pudding. But with a food processor on hand, I used it instead. I also crunched up biscotti and hazelnuts in the processor. And when it came time to sift the cocoa powder, I used a sieve because i don't own a sifter.
This was the moment when I added hot milk and cream to my egg and sugar mixture, before stirring the entire combination together and then adding other ingredients.
With no plastic wrap in the house, I cut open several eco-friendly plastic bags to place beneath and atop the completed pudding mixture, and then placed it in the refrigerator.
We savored this mouthwatering treat with large dollops of whipped cream that I slightly sweetened. Because, despite Lidia's suggestion that the cream didn't need sugar, that isn't how we roll in our house. Enjoy, to the max.
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I love crafting stories about fantastic food & beverages, must-visit destinations & eco-friendly topics. I wrote a 350+ page book about Kansas. And I've worked with dozens of additional clients - from Fodors.com & AAA magazines to USA Today 10Best & WanderWithWonder.
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