Thank you for joining the Mad About Tuscany newsletter! Here are your bonus recipes to say thank you for keeping in touch. I have included an appetiser - the delicious Poached Pear Tartlets, followed by main course and salad, and semifreddo for dessert - an Italian ice cream. Let me know how you enjoy them!

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Sioban and Carlo Baldini
Ph: +61 (0) 8 9755 2120

Poached Pear Tartlets with Prosciutto and Gorgonzola Cream

Makes 24 tartlets


  • 400 ml water
  • 120g light brown sugar
  • 1 pear, peeled and cut into 16 pieces
  • 24 short crust canapé tartlets
  • 6 thin slices prosciutto, cut into halves
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 100g gorgonzola dolce latte, crumbed
  • 100 ml red wine
  • 100g Philadelphia cream cheese, softened 
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 3 cloves  
  • 3 cardamon pods
  • 12 rocket leaves


Place the sugar red wine, water, cinnamon, cloves and cardamon into a sauce pan and stir over a low heat until sugar dissolves and simmer it for about 10 minutes until it has reduced to a sticky syrup. Then add in the balsamic vinegar and pears and leave to simmer on a low heat until the pears are soft.

Once the pears are cooked remove and strain the poaching liquor, it should be of a coating consistency.

Process the gorgonzola and Philadelphia cream cheese in a mixer until smooth.  In each tartlet place a teaspoon of cream cheese filling, then a layer of prosciutto and top with a piece of pear and drizzle over some of the reserved liquor and garnish with a sprig of rocket.


Braised Osso Bucco

Serves 6 people


  • 6 pieces of osso bucco large
  • olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped 
  • sea salt and pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped 
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped 
  • 1 handful fresh rosemary and thyme
  • 2 x 400 g tins of whole tomatoes
  • leaves picked and finely chopped
  • Grated parmesan                                              


Lightly coat osso bucco in flour. Heat a generous amount of olive oil in a heavy based saucepan and seal meat on both sides until golden brown. Remove from pan and then add your onions, celery and carrot with sea salt and pepper and continue to cook for about 5 minutes.  Once vegetables have began to soften turn down the heat and add the garlic and chopped herbs. Leave to cook for another 5 minutes and then place your osso bucco back in and pour in red wine and simmer until nearly all the red wine has cooked away.  Add the canned tomatoes and just enough water to cover your ingredients.  

Make a cartouche with grease proof paper and sit it on top of your meat and vegetable ingredients and place the lid on. Cook over a very slow heat for about 2-3 hours giving it a little stir every ½ hour. Alternatively you can braise the meat in the oven at 160 degrees for the same time or a little longer if needed. It is ready when you touch the meat and it literally breaks apart. Taste to check seasoning and adjust to suit your palate.  Serve with parsnip or potato mash.

Fennel, Pear and Parmesan Salad

Serves 4–6 as an accompaniment


1 large fennel, finely sliced
½ red onion, finely sliced
½ cup of good quality parmesan, shaved coarsely
1 green pear, finely sliced
1 handful of Italian parsley, leaves picked off stem
juice of ½ lemon
100 ml good quality extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and pepper


Place fennel, pear, red onion, parmesan and parsley leaves in a bowl.  Dress with extra virgin olive oil and fresh lemon juice and season with sea salt and pepper.  Once salad is well mixed, taste to check that the dressing and seasoning is right. 

Serve as an accompaniment with any Mediterranean meal.


Chocolate, Hazelnut and Honey Semifreddo

Serves 6-8


  • 7 egg yolks
  • 110 gm honey
  • 200 gm dark chocolate, melted
  • 2 tblsp Frangelico
  • 300 ml whipping cream, softly whipped
  • 60 gm roasted, peeled hazelnuts, coarsely chopped plus extra to serve


Whisk the egg yolks and honey in an electric beater until they become thick and pale.

Place melted chocolate in a large bowl and add in half the egg mixture, the Frangelico and 2 tblsp water and mix well. Fold in the remaining egg mixture, then cream and hazelnuts until just combined.  Place the mixture into a freezer container and freeze overnight.

Serve the semifreddo in a bowl and drizzle with some extra Frangelico and scatter with the extra chopped hazelnuts.