Fritole alla veneziana (Venetian Carnival Fritters)

Frankdessert, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, snack, Veneto34 Comments

Fritole

In Italy, Carnival, that last blast of excess before the austerity of the Lenten season, is known for fried foods of all sorts, especially sweet ones. I grew up on Angelina’s chiacchiere, the fried dough ribbons typical of southern Italy and beyond, but in Venice and nearby Trieste, they make fritole, … Read More

Pesche grigliate (Grilled Peaches)

Frankdessert30 Comments

Pesche alla griglia (Grilled Peaches)

Regular readers will know that a typical dessert in our house is often nothing more than a piece of fresh fruit. That’s especially true in the summer, when we have such luscious peaches and cherries and melons in the market to enjoy. Still, once in a while, perhaps for Sunday … Read More

Fragole al vino rosso (Strawberries in Red Wine)

Frankdessert37 Comments

Fragole al vino rosso (Strawberries in Red Wine)

We’re in the midst of strawberry season, that blessed time of year when you can buy strawberries from local farmers that actually taste like strawberries. Imagine that! Those berries are so sweet and juicy, you can enjoy them just as they are. But if you want to dress them up … Read More

Pastiera Napoletana

FrankCampania, dessert30 Comments

Pastiera

It wouldn’t be a proper Easter dinner in Naples without a pastiera napoletana for dessert, as essential to the Neapolitan Easter as struffoli are to Christmas. This wheatberry and ricotta pie is wonderfully perfumed with orange blossom water, cinnamon and candied fruits, a kind of ne plus ultra version of the … Read More

Migliaccio di semolino (Semolina Cake)

FrankCampania, dessert38 Comments

Migliaccio (Semolina Pie)

Migliaccio, a crustless Neapolitan Semolina Cake, is a traditional sweet dish for Carnevale, may be less well known than the more iconic Neapolitan Carnival treats like those fried dough ribbons called chiacchiere or the lasagna di Carnevale so dear to the hearts of so many Italian-Americans, but it’s well worth discovering. … Read More

Struffoli (Angelina’s Honey Balls)

FrankCampania, dessert77 Comments

Stuffoli

Struffoli, small balls of dough fried and then covered in honey, is the quintessential Christmas sweet of Naples and its region of Campania. Although I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, it is very dear to my heart; it was one of nonna Angelina’s signature dishes, and it never … Read More

Melanzane al cioccolato (Chocolate Eggplant)

FrankCampania, dessert36 Comments

Melanzane al cioccolato (Chocolate Eggplant)

Chocolate Eggplant? It sounds like a culinary joke or some newfangled fusion dish. In reality, melanzane al cioccolato is a perfectly orthodox if unusual dish from Campania, more specifically the Amalfi coast, traditionally made for the Ferragosto holiday on August 15. I have to admit, although I had heard of this … Read More

Spuma di ricotta alle pesche sciroppate (Whipped Ricotta with Peaches in Syrup)

Frankdessert38 Comments

Spuma di ricotta alle pesche

I don’t have much of a sweet tooth. As I’ve mentioned before, dessert at home usually consists of a piece of fresh fruit, served au naturel. When we do feel like something a bit more elaborate, it’s likely to be something like this simple spuma di ricotta: ricotta whipped with sugar and … Read More

Italian Charoset for Passover

Frankdessert, Piemonte28 Comments

Charoset

It may come as a surprise, but Italy has a long tradition of Jewish cookery. Jews have been living in Rome since ancient times. Jewish communities have long existed in other cities, perhaps most famously Venice, and even in small towns like Pitigliano in Tuscany, known as “the Little Jerusalem”. These communities produced a … Read More

Cantucci (Tuscan Almond Cookies)

Frankdessert, Toscana23 Comments

Cantucci

Cantucci, also known as biscotti di Prato, are perhaps the best known of Italian cookies. Made from a simple dough of flour, sugar and egg, into which whole almonds are folded, they are baked twice: once in cylindrical ‘logs’ to cook on the outside, then cut into sliced and baked again … Read More

Schiacciata all’uva (Tuscan Grape Focaccia)

Frankdessert, Fall, snack, Toscana39 Comments

Schiacciata all'uva

No one understands simplicity quite like the Tuscans. As Leonardo da Vinci famously said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”.  This rustic Grape Focaccia, which the Tuscans call Schiacciata all’uva, is a case in point. Almost austere in its simplicity, the result is nevertheless both beautiful and—if your ingredients are topnotch—unfailingly delicious. … Read More

Gelo di melone (Sicilian Watermelon Pudding)

Frankdessert, Sicilia, summer24 Comments

Watermelon Pudding (Gelo di melone)

Sicilian Watermelon Pudding, or gelo di melone, is made from watermelon juice, perfumed with cinnamon and jasmine blossoms, thickened and mixed with bits of chocolate—cut into little bits so they resemble watermelon seeds—and chilled until set. Served in dessert bowls or unmolded on to a plate, the pudding is then topped with ground … Read More

Sorbetto di limone (Lemon Sorbet)

Frankdessert, summer27 Comments

Sorbetto di limone

Along with gelato, sorbetto is *the* classic Italian frozen dessert. And perhaps the most basic. Sorbetto di limone is essentially frozen lemonade: Simple syrup is made by simmering sugar and water together, to which lemon zest is added and allowed to infuse its flavor. When this flavored syrup cools completely, it … Read More

Fragole all’aceto balsamico (Strawberries with Balsamic Vinegar)

Frankdessert, Emilia-Romagna40 Comments

Strawberries with Balsamic Vinegar

As I’ve written about before, dessert in our house tends to be nothing but a piece of fruit. But once in a while, I like to jazz things up a bit. And, truth be told, even if they usually look appetizing, most fruit in these times of industrial agriculture needs help in the … Read More

Strudel di mele (Apple Strudel)

FrankAlto Adige, dessert, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Veneto30 Comments

Strudel di mele

I first learned to make Strudel when I was living in Vienna, its birthplace. Strudel is also made in Italy, in particular in the Northeastern regions that were under Austrian rule, and most especially the region known to Italians as Alto Adige and to German speakers as Südtirol, which was … Read More

Panna cotta

Frankdessert, Piemonte19 Comments

Panna cotta

It may come as a surprise that this famous, elegant dessert from the Piemonte region of Italy is so very easy to make. Panna cotta, or “cooked cream”, is nothing but warmed (not actually cooked) cream sweetened with sugar and infused with vanilla, then thickened with gelatin and chilled. Traditionally served unmolded, you … Read More

Fichi al cioccolato (Chocolate Covered Figs)

FrankCalabria, dessert, Sicilia, snack27 Comments

Chocolate Covered Figs

Here’s a sweet that’s so simple you could almost describe it as a non-recipe: Chocolate Covered Figs—dried figs stuffed with almonds and dipped in dark chocolate. It’s a combination that was truly meant to be, in my opinion far more appealing than the ever-popular strawberries in chocolate. The intense, concentrated … Read More

Biancomangiare (Blancmange)

Frankdessert, Sicilia11 Comments

Biancomangiare (Blancmange)

A dish dating back to the Middle Ages, biancomangiare, meaning ‘white dish’, is a simple cooked dessert, essentially milk infused with spices and thickened with starch to form a kind of pudding not unlike its far better known cousin panna cotta. It is usually topped with cinnamon or ground nuts. It can be served … Read More

Frittelle di mele (Tyrolean Apple Fritters)

FrankAlto Adige, dessert18 Comments

Frittelle di mele (Tyrolean Apple Fritters)

I’ve written about it before—I don’t have much of a sweet tooth. Dessert at home is usually a piece or two of seasonal fresh fruit. But sometimes I crave something more elaborate. I love fruit tarts or torts or fruits poached in red wine, for example, but when I’m really feeling indulgent, there’s … Read More

Confettura di ciliegie (Cherry Preserves)

Frankdessert, sauces16 Comments

Cherry Preserves

Cherry preserves are so easy to make at home it’s a wonder more folks don’t do it. Not only are you saving money, you know exactly what’s going into the product. The Italian take on fruit preserves begins like so many other fruit preparations, by coating the fruit with sugar and lemon. … Read More

Pesche al vino rosso (Peaches in Red Wine)

Frankdessert, summer9 Comments

Sometimes the simplest things are the best. And today we are featuring peaches in red wine, a dessert that takes practically no effort to make. The fruit is softened a bit with a mixture of sugar and lemon, then bathed in red wine. That’s really all there is to it. However simple … Read More

Crema di ricotta (Ricotta Mousse)

Frankdessert20 Comments

Ricotta has got to be the most versatile of Italian cheeses: it makes its way into a variety of savory pasta dishes, from the popular pasta con la ricotta to the iconic ricotta-filled ravioli and—of course—southern-style lasagna, and any number of desserts, from the grand Neapolitan pastiera to the elegant budino di ricotta to … Read More

Babà al rum (Neapolitan Rum Cake)

FrankCampania, dessert33 Comments

Babà al rum (Neapolitan Rum Cake)

I remember this indulgently delicious rum-soaked Neapolitan dessert from my childhood, when it made frequent appearances on the Sunday dinner table along with other typical southern Italian sweets. The last time I had babà al rum, Neapolitan Rum Cake, was around 2003 in Naples, in a caffè in the Galleria Umberto … Read More

Montebianco (Mont-blanc)

Frankdessert, Fall, Winter19 Comments

Montebianco (Mont-blanc)

Montebianco—which most English speakers know by its French name Mont-blanc even if the dish originated in Italy—is an elegant dessert often served for Christmas, but, to my mind, it is a perfect conclusion to any festive occasion in the late autumn or winter. Named after the highest peak of the Alps straddling the … Read More

Macedonia di frutta (Italian Fruit Salad)

Frankdessert13 Comments

Italian Fruit Salad

Macedonia di frutta, or Italian fruit salad, is one of the most typical of summer desserts in Italy, often served with some lemon sorbet. But a macedonia can be made any time of year, with almost any combination of fruits in season. Ingredients Fresh fruit in season, trimmed, peeled and cut … Read More