Love Difference Pastries - The sweets

La Cuba,
   by Duccio Mele, Fatima El Hassani, Marcello Russo


Through the use of ingredients chosen from different cultures such as the Lebanese, Tunisian, Italian or Marroquinian one and the food design intimately related to the architecture this concept called la Cuba (Cupola, Dome) evokes the coexistence of diverse cultures, represented by various examples of Domes throughout the Mediterranean Region. It is a revision of local traditional recipes where each element coexists harmoniously complementing the other ones.


For the Spanish Bread:
6 eggs
180 g of sugar
180 g of flour
1 sachet of backing powder
For the dipping:
2dl of water
50 ml of rose water
25 ml of water of orange flowers
:: For the heart:
60 g of butter
50 g of coconut flour (Morocco)
50 g of Pizzute almond flour (Avola)
20 g of sugar
1 spoon of Halva
3 g of baking powder
grated lemon
:: For the pistachio and nut mousse:
2 dl of cream fresh
150 g of toasted Bronte pistachios
200 g of toasted Langhe nuts
140 g of sugar
:: For the icing:
400 g of almond paste
20 g of chocolate
:: For the garnish:
50 g of candidate Lebanese cedar
20 dl of orange juice from Valencia
1 spoon of granatina

:: The Spanish bread:
Beat the yolks and the sugar with a whisk until having a frothy cream, whip up the eggwhite and put together, after add the flour. Extend on a rectangular oven tray butter and flour until having a thickness of 4mm. Bake at 200 degree for 15 minutes.
After baking cut out a square with 20 cm diameter and from the remaining part cut our 4cm long stripes.
:: The heart:
Incorporate the sugar to the soften butter, the grated lemon, the Halva, coconut and nut flour and the baking powder until you get a dense dough.
Model into a ball and bake it at 170 degrees for ca 15 minutes. Take out of the oven and let repose.
:: The mousse:
Melt 120 g of sugar in a casserole until it is not golden. Incorporate the nuts and the pistachios already toasted, extend the compound on baking paper and let it get cold.
Whip up the crème fraiche with the remaining sugar and let repose in the fridge for ca 15 minutes.
Shake with a mixer the candy dry fruits until obtaining not a too thin paste and put it together to the whipped cream.
:: The icing:
Extend the almond paste on a cling film until it reaches a thickness of 2mm, lift it and put it in the intern of a 20cm diameter casserole, letting out the exceeding part.
:: Wet the stripes of the Spanish Bread in the dipping and put in the casserole (Boulle) to cover up the almond paste. Add half of the mousse, than the heart and cover with the remaining and finally close the sweet with the Spanish bread square. Finishing by putting on top of the Spanish bread the remaining part of the almond paste and seal it.
Discharge everything on a platter and arrange subtle stripes of the plastic chocolate.
:: The garnish:
Make a reduction with the orange juice and the granatina making it boil for ca 10 minutes, until it is slightly thickened.
Mince the candy cedar.
Decorate with the reduction the border of the platter and spread the minced cedar.

  Duccio Mele

Curricula Vitae

Duccio Mele started his career in 1997 in Bocca di Magna under the guide of a French chef “of the old school” (Jacques).
After he learnt the base of French kitchen he moved to Florence where had consolidate his experience and from where he moved to England where and half he honed for 2 years the knowledge of the international kitchen.
He worked in prestigious locals, like the Bank and ST.JOHN’S of London.
Back in his city he opened some locals and finaly he definitely created his last creature: the “Osteria Duccio”, where he is the chef and director.

Fatima El Hassani, born in Benimeskine (Settat), Marocco, student, attends in this moment the Turistic-Hotel Institut “Ciofs”, in La Spezia.

Marcello Russo, born in La Spezia, started in 1981 his collaboration at the “Russo” Pastries, founded by his grandfather in La Spezia. Afterwards he held the fort his father like pastry chef. He steadily carry out this profession since 25 years; he moreover took part in several pastry-competition, receiving diverse acknowledgements.