“Offering a slice of happiness” to his readers is Dario Bivona’s goal. In his new cookbook, the first winner of the program Le best pâtissier du Québec was inspired by his native Italy and his adopted province to delight sweet tooths. Interview with the newly crowned pastry chef.

It was my mother who taught us to cook, my brother and I, in Italy. She wanted us to be independent, to be able to live, live well, not just survive. For me, it became a passion, for my brother, a little less! (laughs)

My cooking is very much inspired by my Italian origins. But although Italian cuisine is very well known, when you dig, in the regions and in the villages, you find plenty of hidden recipes that also deserve to be known.

When I arrived in Quebec in 2006, I also discovered lots of new pastries, such as chômeur pudding and blueberry pie. Above all, I discovered maple syrup, which I did not know at all before. Today, I can’t do without it! I even put it in my salad dressings.

I’ve always loved the American and Canadian version of this show, so when I saw the announcement of auditions for the Quebec version, I almost couldn’t believe it. It happened very quickly, from the registrations. I was the first to audition, the very first day, and then I was taken.

Every episode I spent at the Best Pastry Chef in Quebec was almost unexpected. Fortunately, this is a show that is made to give participants a great adventure, whether you finish in the second episode or win. Still, every time I completed a challenge, I was a bit amazed!

After I won, I had to keep it a secret until the show aired. I’m lucky I went to Italy and was able to tell my family anyway, it saved me from blowing up! In Quebec, only my spouse and a few close friends knew about it.

Subsequently, I put aside my career in communication-marketing to devote myself to books. I loved the whole process, from designing recipes to photographing the desserts. I always tell my publisher that if he wants to do another book, I’m in!

Also, the show allowed me to create beautiful friendships with the other participants. We still talk to each other today, two years later, they all even came to visit me at the launch of my book.

Everyone ! I wanted to create accessible recipes, which can be easily remade at home and which transmit to people the love of baking. Above all, I didn’t want to write a book that was displayed on a shelf and left to gather dust.

I often say that my book is built in a crescendo. We start with the basics, then we get into things that take a little more technique, until we get to the last chapter, that of desserts that require a little more precision, time and technique.

There is something to please everyone in my book. For me, that’s baking: it’s bringing everyone together. When there are peculiarities or intolerances in certain people, I try to adapt as much as possible. The show’s producer, Valerie, is allergic to eggs and dairy, and I created my torta caprese for her. She loves it!

It’s hard, because I love them all! If I had to choose, I would say the tiramisu. It’s one of my favorite desserts, and that’s why we find it in two versions. First, an almost classic version, embellished with a little rum and orange. Then, a white tiramisu with maple syrup, Coureur des bois and berries.

I love this dessert because it has all the elements you could love inside. There are soft and crispy biscuits at the same time, there is coffee and mascarpone, which is the best cheese in the world, in my opinion… In my eyes, it really is a winning recipe.

Avocado in a dessert, really? The result will amaze you, assures the pastry chef.

Cook: 22 mins Rest: 20 mins Chill: 4.5 hrs Yield: 8-10 servings

Food processorBlenderStrainer9″ (23 cm) diameter springform pan

Butter for pan200 g (1 1/4 cup) graham crackers, crushed55 g (1/2 cup) hazelnuts (or almonds)50 g (1/4 cup) sugar4 g (1 tbsp) 1 tsp) baking powder1 g (1/4 tsp) salt125 g (1/2 cup 1 tbsp) butter, meltedZest of 1 lime, grated

10 g (1 tbsp) gelatin powder30 ml (2 tbsp) water400 ml (1 2/3 cup) unsweetened coconut cream, divided85 ml (1/3 cup 1 tbsp . tsp) freshly squeezed lime juice, divided100 ml (1/3 cup 1 tbsp) maple syrup (or honey)7.5 g (1 tbsp) cornstarchOne pinch of salt 1 avocado, pitted and peeled

Whipped cream Lime zest and thin slices

1. Line the bottom of a springform pan with a disk of parchment paper and butter the inside wall.

2. Crust: In a food processor, combine graham crackers, hazelnuts, sugar, baking powder and salt. Pulse five times or until a coarse powder forms. Transfer to a bowl. Using a spoon, stir in the butter and lime zest. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. With your hands, press down to even out the base and create an edge. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

3. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Place the mold with the crust on a baking sheet.

4. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and gently press the bottom of the crust with the back of a spoon to flatten it (it puffs up when cooked). Continue cooking for 10 minutes. Remove from oven. If necessary, squeeze the crust again. Let cool completely before unmolding.

5. Avocado Cream: In a bowl, hydrate the gelatin with the water. To book. In a blender, mix 310 ml (1 1/4 cup) of coconut cream, 60 ml (1/4 cup) of lime juice, maple syrup, cornstarch and salt until l obtaining a smooth and homogeneous mixture. Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and heat over medium heat. Add the reserved gelatin and stir with a wooden spoon. Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and reserve.

6. In a blender, grind the remaining avocado, coconut cream and lime juice until smooth and creamy. Pour into the pan containing the hot cream and whisk vigorously. Pass through a sieve and let cool for 20 minutes.

7. Pour the cream into the crust. Leave to rest for 4 hours in the refrigerator. If desired, garnish with whipped cream, lime slices and zest.