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“LIVE” FROM NEW YORK CITY Happiness is a family and three shops It looks like the title of a film, but it is the story of BIAGIO SETTEPANI who, with his wife Pina and their three children, have made a life for themselves in New York City To talk about Biagio Settepani and his family is always a pleasure. And not just because they are close friends, but mainly because it means telling the story of a growing success, a real passion and a big heart. The story begins in Sicily, specifically in Ventimiglia di Palermo, where Biagio set off for the first time to New York with his twin brother Antonino and his parents. About this first phase, much useful information can be found in the second edition of "Sweet Sensations of Sicily", edited by Salvatore Farina, with pictures by Giancarlo Bononi, for Lussografica (For orders, The family is the starting point of this article because Biagio, with professionalism and passion (in addition to numerous awards), owes much to both his family of origin and to the one he has created with his wife Pina. Together and literally step by step, they "conquered" their America, today boasting three very well established shops: Bruno Bakery in La Guardia Place (in Manhattan), about 130 m2, of which 100 are dedicated to sales, a laboratory of 120 m2 and another 90 m2 warehouse with 20 employees; on Staten Island, there is Pasticceria Bruno Bakery & Restaurant in Forest Avenue (280 m2 total, of which 170 for a pastry and cuisine laboratory, and 35 employees); and Pasticceria Bruno on Hylan Boulevard, with over 600 m2 and 40 employees. It is teamwork all the way: first the


parents and Antonino, then Pina, a woman of great altruism and kindness (qualities that are common to her husband), who never has enough to give. And then there are three children: Salvatore, 25, grew up in his father's laboratory, did an internship with Biasetto in Padua, and now leads the pastry shop on Hylan Blvd; Fina spends her spare time (she recently graduated in marketing) in the other large shop on Staten Island, because she is very good with customers and with training assistants. And the ‘little one’ (so to speak, given that he is 17 years old) of the family, Joseph, has just left for the prestigious Culinary Institute of America (a university his brother studied at) and is quite happy to lend a hand in the laboratory, despite his football prowess. Settepani's pastry making combines Italian tradition with American (and a touch of French), a colourful mix of cultures lived and loved, which lead to an offering of cakes (from tiramisu to the keylime tart with lime cream and pastry), cookies (from Lenten cookies to "diet" ones with chocolate and cherries), single portions, frozen desserts, muffins, jams, bakery products and savoury pastries. But it is the mignons that best express this mix of cultures and techniques that go far beyond the Italy-USA tandem: about twenty mignons and forty single portions, numbers that make them unique in the area; the favourite is the chocolate mousse.

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THE “SMALL� OF THE FAMILY Settepani's most recent brainchild, open a year ago, is the Pasticceria Bruno on Hylan Boulevard of Staten Island, now ably managed by his son Salvatore and by chef and partner Franco Franzese. We had the pleasure to visit and enjoy the rich lunch menu, among a crowd of customers, mostly women taking their breaks from local offices and from the nearby hospital. In fact, in all family-run businesses lunches and dinners are an excellent source of income and are appreciated not only for quality but also for the abundance of food, all with a clear Italian influence of course: fried calamari, mozzarella in carrozza, arancini, carpaccios, polenta, pasta of various sorts, salads, soups, meat and fish dishes, Tuscan piadine, pizzas, barbecue sandwiches, not to mention delicious desserts. Customer feedback is tangible and on weekends, especially in stores on Staten Island, there can be one-hour queues to eat. Even at breakfast, rooms are crowded; there are simple and filled croissants (almond, chocolate, cinnamon ... and salted), Danish, muffins, croissants with chocolate cream, as well as omelettes and savory dishes, for the classic English breakfast; Sunday brunch also works well. Eating on-site means customers can get to know the sweet offering, which boosts take-away sales. The offering includes various types of bread produced in the laboratory of Forest Avenue and obviously the super popular cupcake (see article in issue 229) made by the Settepanis in extra large formats: the favourite, known as Red Velvet, sells 150 pieces per week. Services offered include catering (especially for private parties and large family dinners) and take away, with popular sauces, especially the tomato pesto. Lastly, there are several initiatives for customers, such as courses for pastry and bread making at the shop in Hylan Blvd, on Sunday morning for 15 people for $95: chocolates for Valentine's Day, Easter specialties, Italian cookies, colourful cupcakes, ice cream, sorbets and granitas; carrot, nut and banana cake, lemon and blueberries; low-sugar treats, jams and jellies. This success is the result of hard work, credibility built over the years, and entrepreneurial flair, not only behind the scenes, but also in terms of marketing and image. And should anyone ask how two sto-

Above, the family group. From left: Joseph, Pina, Biagio, Fina and Salvatore.

res can co-exist so close together, Biagio specifies: "Some dine at Hylan Blvd and then eat dessert at Forest Ave!". A united family, three successful pastry shops, and industry esteem: how do you feel when you look back and take stock of the long road covered?

On the left, the pastry shop in Forest Avenue; Hylan Boulevard to the right, working with Franco and Salvatore are 40 employees, spread over two shifts, from 7 to 15.30 and from 15.30 to 22. Breakfasts, lunches and dinners are a great revenue for all the Settepani shops. At Hyland Blvd on Valentine's Day, for example, there is an average of three rounds of sessions for the romantic dinner.

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PASTRY When I think of this long journey, the strongest emotion is to see my children involved in our business, happy to continue what Pina and I have built. What does it mean to be an ambassador of Italian dessert in the States, and to be an honorary member of AMPI? A lot, because it allows me to stay connected to my roots and to keep up with the times and trends, building useful connections even with the best professionals in Italy and worldwide. To what extent do the Americans understand Italian tradition? I think there is great confusion when speaking of our Italian traditions in the States: a large percentage of Italian pastry making has not kept up with the developments of the last 15 years. This means Italian desserts are still considered to be tiramisu, cannoli, the cassata and panna cotta, all of which is in some way influenced by American style. Let's talk about gelato: how do you make Americans understand the difference between ice cream and gelato? It is not easy to educate the customer with regards gelato, simply because ice cream is all they know. I believe in tastings and custom lessons, while trusting the work that Italian companies have been doing in these parts (Elenka, Fabbri 1905, Mec3, Pernigotti, PreGel ...). But it will still take some years before we see the results. What are the most popular flavours? The classics, from vanilla to chocolate, including hazelnut and strawberry. And are granitas appreciated? Yes, especially lemon and coffee.

What advice would you give to a fellow who wants to drive sales at a time as difficult as this? I think the best advice is always not to choose short-cuts in order to give the customer the best quality at the most appropriate price. These are times when you have to keep the cost of ingredients under control, carefully looking for the best deals, and minimizing waste. How has the clientele changed in New York in the last 10 years? The general public has greater awareness regarding food, through travel, television, internet ... But it is also more health- and weightconscious, and so spends and consumes less. The crisis can also be felt in your area. What are you doing to face it? Whenever you face any kind of crisis we must find ways to cut costs and reduce waste. We have also reduced the work week for employees to six days instead of seven, allowing us to contain wages. What is the ingredient that you love to work, and what innovative technology satisfies you the most? The ingredient is chocolate, while the equipment that I appreciate most is the blast chiller, which allows us every day to speed up production without affecting quality. What will be the future of the industry, in your opinion? The format will change: family-run pastry shops will disappear and a wave of more modern stores is coming, with an offering that goes beyond confectionery, including sandwiches, salads, soups and pizzas.


Livia Chiriotti

Cartocci Dough flour sugar oil eggs yeast

g 1000 g 100 g 200 g 200 g 80

Ricotta cream ricotta sugar candied lemon vanilla cinnamon oil chocolate chips


81 moc.elanoizanretniaireccitsap.www--n. 110 2011 182

g g g to to to

1125 340 100 taste taste taste


Vanilla and orange cremoso cream concentrated orange orange zest vanilla bean sugar egg yolks gelatin sheets water

g g g no. g g g g

725 105 25 1 140 215 15 45

Cook at 83째C the cream with the orange concentrate, zest, sugar and vanilla with egg yolks; add the gelatin and put into moulds.

Orange scent Pistachio dacquoise pistachio flour almond flour icing sugar flour sugar egg whites lemon zest crushed pistachio kernels toasted pistachios

g g g g g g no. g g

200 100 120 48 200 360 2 60 70

Beat the egg whites with sugar, add flour, powdered sugar and crushed pistachios. Slowly stir into the meringue, then arrange the toasted pistachios. Bake for 7 minutes at 165 째C.

Orange Chocolate Mousse 35% mg cream orange puree orange concentrate egg yolks trimolina sugar 65% chocolate cream

g 250 g 250 g 35 g 250 g 170 g 105 g 625 g 1220

Blood orange coulis blood orange puree orange concentrate sugar gelatin sheets water

g g g g g

240 45 45 8 32

Pistachio Macaroon almond flour sugar x 6 egg whites sugar powdered egg whites green and yellow colouring

g g g g g to

125 225 100 30 5 taste

g g g g g g

450 900 900 600 200 40 a. r.

Heat the puree with the concentrate and sugar, add the soaked gelatine leaves, then place in a mould.

Beat the egg whites with sugar and egg white powder, sift together sugar, powdered sugar and almond flour, place into the meringue. Work well and shape the macaroons on Silpat. Bake at 160 째C for 10 minutes.

Orange caramel glaze water sugar glucose condensed milk cold water gelatin powder orange colouring

Heat water, sugar and glucose at about 105째C, deglaze with the condensed milk, add gelatin and colouring. Note cremoso stands for creamy or cremeux.

Heat cream, trimolina, puree and orange concentrate, the second cream and sugar. Pour the hot liquid over the yolks. Cook until the mixture becomes thick, then stir in the chocolate pieces and mix well; allow to cool before adding the cream.


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Cassata Sponge flour eggs egg yolks melted butter sugar honey

g 1000 g 1200 g 200 g 100 g 700 g 100

Ricotta cream

see Cartocci on page 4

Rum syrup water sugar glucose rum

g 1000 g 1150 g 150 g 300

Line a mould with pistachio marzipan, and distribute a thin layer of vanilla sponge on the bottom soaked with rum syrup. Fill with ricotta cream, place another layer of sponge to close. Turn over, put a weight on top and freeze. When ready to display, apply a thin layer of fondant and decorate with fruit, as usual.

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Biagio Settepani Photos Giancarlo Bononi


"LIVE" from New York City  

Extract of article of Pasticceria Internazionale WWE

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