Crunchy, paper thin, and flavored with orange and almond, Florentines are an Italian-American bakery staple and a perfect spring cookie.
'italian desserts' on Serious Eats
Imagine a creamy cappuccino, softly solidified. That's what the coffee panna cotta from Nigellissima reminds one of. Sweetened with brown sugar and flavored with espresso, this panna cotta is rich, yet refreshing.
A semifreddo normally takes a bit of egg beating and machine mixing. Happily, the recipe given in Nigellissima requires neither. Amaretto liqueur and crunchy amaretto cookies provide the flavor base, and a coating of apricot-almond golden sauce is a luxurious final touch.
[Photograph: Alexandra Penfold] My great, great grandfather was a lemon farmer in southern Italy. Lemons run in our blood. As a kid, lemon Italian ice was a favorite dessert. I loved the little yellow cups with the wooden spoons...
Making bright and tart Lemon Italian Ice at home is super easy. All you need is some sugar, water, a whole bunch of lemon and some lemon extract.
This crostata is like a morning-friendly version of apple pie. A buttery crust made from lemon-inflected pasta frolla is filled with fresh apples spiced with cinnamon.
This classic Italian dessert gets dressed up with chocolate and an extra pick-me-up of coffee liquor.
Whether finding inspiration her first book, Dolce Italiano, or her ever-changing dessert menu at Babbo, Gina DePalma has logged quite a few hours on the Roman sweets scene. Here are some of her favorite places to indulge in dolci tipici alla Romana.
Don't tell mainland Italians, but the sweets of Sicily might just be the country's best. Thanks to the island's hot-potato past (it's been ruled by Greeks and Romans, Byzantines and Arabs, French and Spanish) and its rich agriculture (hello, almonds and lemons, pistachios and oranges—not to mention olives and grapes), Sicilian food is among Italy's most varied and interesting cuisine. But when it comes to the sweets, we're really talking.
While Irish Americans have St. Patrick's Day, Italian Americans celebrate their own feast day, St. Joseph's Day, just two days later on March 19th. If you're lucky enough to grow up both Irish and Italian that means a couple days of nearly back-to-back feasting smack in the middle of the austerity of Lent. In honor of my grandmother, we would have Irish soda bread on St. Patrick's Day, and, for my grandfather, zeppole di San Guiseppe on St. Joseph's day. Suffice it to say that the Italians win at dessert-time feasting hands down.
Lighter and airier than their street food cousins, these zeppole are a must for St. Joseph's Day celebrations in Italian American communities.
Have you ever noticed how some products that we have at home just seem to taste better abroad? Cadbury chocolate, Fage Greek yogurt, and Coca-Cola all taste better overseas or simply below the border. For me, this question becomes most pressing regarding Nutella, the Italian chocolate-hazelnut spread that is akin to my personal crack.
This Angel Hair Pasta Pie, a specialty of Bologna, adapted from Francine Segan's Dolci: Italy's Sweets may sound a bit bizarre. A pie with pasta as the filling? We can't say we've seen it often. But it works. Delicate strands of fresh egg pasta are layered with bittersweet ground almonds mixed with cocoa powder, candied citron, and lemon zest for an absolutely intriguing pie.
If you've only ever had spinach pie in the form of spanakopita, this one is certainly worth a go. Into a lovely lattice-topped pie goes an egg soufflé-like filling made from ground almonds, lemon zest, candied citron, and enough blanched spinach to color the whole thing a vibrant green.
With trays of creamy gelati, fluffy squares of tiramisu, petite cookies, and rustic crostatas, Italian desserts are a many-splendored thing. But the dolci listed off here don't even begin to do justice to all of the sweets you'll encounter when in Italy. In lieu of booking a ticket for sweet-centric tour up and down the boot, we're turning to food historian Francine Segan's gorgeous new cookbook, Dolci, for a two-week jaunt through the desserts of Italy.
This recipe is adapted from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan.