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Alberta Scaglione and her twentysomething granddaughter, Jinx, love to spend time—and solve crime—together . . .
Ever since Alberta Scaglione inherited her spinster aunt’s Cape Cod cottage, she’s been enjoying the good life in Tranquility, New Jersey, with her black cat, Lola. But since things are mostly quiet in this town, she finds other things to do—like joining Jinx for morning jogs in Tranquility Park. She has to do something to stay healthy, as long as it doesn’t involve Jinx’s healthful tofu sausages and gluten-free pasta. But when they stumble across a treehouse hidden in the trees, and a dead body underneath it, they take a detour into solving a murder. Now the Ferrara ladies will have to exercise extreme caution to avoid a permanent decline in their health . . .
Includes Italian recipes from Alberta’s kitchen!
HELEN’S FAVORITE DESSERT—SICILIAN CASSATA CAKE (WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM ENTENMANN’S)
1⁄3 cup dried currants
5 tablespoons Marsala wine
1 16 1⁄2-ounce can pitted cherries—do not get rid of the cherry syrup!
1 pint ricotta cheese
1⁄4 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 12-ounce Entenmann’s pound cake
12 1-ounce semisweet chocolate squares
1 cup unsalted butter
1. Combine currants and 2 tablespoons of wine in a small bowl and soak for 15 minutes. Drain the cherries, cutting them up, and then drain the currants.
2. Puree ricotta cheese, sugar, the rest of the wine, and the heavy cream until smooth. Mix in currants and cherries in a larger bowl.
3. Cut the pound cake lengthwise into 3 horizontal layers, placing one layer on a platter. Spread half of the filling over it, place a second layer, and spread the rest of the filling over that. Then, you guessed it, top with the third layer of pound cake.
4. Refrigerate for about 2 hours so it can get firm.
5. Make the chocolate frosting by combining the cherry syrup, semisweet chocolate, and ¼ cup of wine in a saucepan. Stir over low heat until the chocolate melts, then remove the heat. Add unsalted butter and let it melt. Put the frosting in the fridge so it can thicken.
6. Put 1 cup of chocolate frosting into a pastry bag— do not let Alberta do this, she’s terrible at it—and spread the rest over the sides and the top of the cassata. Use the pastry bag to decorate the top of the cake with swirls and rosettes.
7. Refrigerate the whole shebang for a few more hours.
About the Author
Italian by birth, Jersey by upbringing, J. D. Griffo is an award-winning playwright and author who has written ten novels, over twenty plays, and a handful of screenplays that have yet to see the light of day.
Griffo studied Journalism and Marketing at New York University, graduating magna cum laude many, many years ago, as well as Creative Writing at the New School and Gotham Writer’s Workshop.
And the J. D. stands for the author’s mother – Jean Dolores – who absolutely loved to read and tell stories.
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