Pastry An Italian Passion
The unique Italian art for making pastry: Tradition, Technique and Taste. From the origin to regional specialties.
Italian culinary tradition is influenced by different populations as Romanic, Greek, Arabian and Normans. In the past, the dessert was considered a particular occasion for the families as the religious festivity. Nowadays Italian food is considered one of the best all over the world.
Commonly made with milk or cream and sugar thickened with gelatin and often flavored with almonds. The “white dish” (from the original Old French term Blanc mangier) was an upper-class dish common to most of Europe during the middle Ages and early modern period.
Sweet bread with raisins originally from Cogne, in Gran Paradise area. The Mecoulin is one of the most ancient gastronomy preparations of the region. It represents the progenitor of Panettone.
The Gianduiotto is a milk chocolate candy. It’s originally from Torino, where they descended from a traditional chocolate pudding recipe involving crushed hazelnuts and lady fingers. , the idea of mixing hazelnut pieces to “standard” chocolates was born during Napoleon’s reign, when importing cocoa from South America became extremely difficult
BACI DI DAMA
Baci di Dama are known as “Ladies Kisses” in English. ‘According to a legend, they were created by a chef who worked for the Savoia Royal family and he wished to impress the King Vittorio Emanuele. The name is not clear but most probably it seems to represent a kiss between two lovers and the shape itself resembles lady lips. They Combine hazelnuts with butter flour and sugar until smooth and luscious
The krumiro is only made of sugar, eggs, butter, white flour and vanillin. They are characterized by not containing any water, only eggs and butter. Invented in 1878, it’s a kind of biscuit which is regarded as the particular delicacy of Casale Monferrato
CUNEESI AL RHUM
It’s chocolate rum pastry cream inside of a baked meringue; they’re dipped in “hot” chocolate. A praline with a plain extra bitter chocolate and a soft chocolate custard and rum filling.
This cake appeared in Milan, northern Italy, around the 15th century, the ancient customs associated with panettone have spawned a rich body of legends, including the one according to which the name, came from bread of Toni from the name of a kitchen boy who allegedly invented it while serving at the court of Duke Ludovico the Moro. It contains candied orange, citron, and lemon zest. Usually is served in vertical slides accompanied by mascarpone cream.
The typical carnival pastry well knows as chiacchiere, fried crunchy pastry strips sprinkled with powdered sugar. During the festivity all bakeries have them with some delicious stuffing from chocolate to raisin.
Since the 16th century, torrone has been a traditional product of the city of Cremona. The word torrone is definitely of Latin origin and comes from “torrere”, meaning to toast. It’ is made with toasted almonds, honey and other ingredients including egg whites. The history date back the wedding for Francesco Sforza to Bianca Maria Visconti, when the court’s pastry chefs worked together to make a tower like torrone.
This is a crumbly cake “Sbrisolona” means crumbly from Mantova; it was a popular dessert among poor families. In order to save money, they would prepare the tart by mixing cornmeal, hazelnuts and lard, instead of butter. According to tradition, this hard, yet crumbly dessert would be broken into pieces and eaten with one’s hands.
TRENTINO ALTO ADIGE ZELTEN
Zelten is a traditional recipe of Trentino Alto Adige for Christmas, made with dried and candied fruits, as many Christmas cakes. It’s a grappa-flavored fruitcake but eaten in every seasons not only in Christmas time.
This is a typical dessert from the Alto Adige region. Strudel is a type of layered pastry with a filling inside, in this region is with apples and often served with cream. It became well known and gained popularity in the 18th century. Apple strudel is both a summer and winter dish.
Krapfen are balls of dough that are deep-fat fried, filled with cream of marmalade (usually apricot or rosehip) and then sprinkled with white granulated or powdered sugar. It’s a really north pastry, also in Germany and Austria countries.
FRIULI VENEZIA GIULIA
Chocolate pudding with an interesting twist. Traditionally created during Lent, it consists (with some variation), of chocolate, cinnamon, candied fruit, milk, eggs and pig’s or beef blood. It’s a cream or sauce used primarily for dipping chiacchiere into a fried cookie eaten at carnival time.
GUBANA DI CIVIDALE
Home bakers have been making Gubana for centuries; even today each family has its own twists to the traditional recipe and method. Sweet butter is folded into the dough for flakiness, the milk and eggs, spread with delicious, grappa-spiked filling of chocolate, cocoa, raisins, orange zest, nuts and spices.
It had been given the name the “Preis Prinzessin” and the people of Trieste affectionately changed this to “Presnitz” in no time at all. In this manner Trieste blessed a cake destined to become a part of tradition and special occasions.
The ingredients are: Fruit, walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, raisins, and pine kernels, liqueur, rolled in a thin crust pastry.
From Verona City the Pandoro Grandfather called: Nadalin. The shape is like a star and it has a taste similar to Pandoro. The common Christmas time cake is an old tradition of the city and unique of this region. In fact Pandoro become a national pastry but Nadalin is still preparing for Christmas in Veneto.
Zaleti is the Venetian word for “Gialletti”, the little yellow ones. These little yellow corn cookies from the Veneto area have a characteristic flattened diamond shape. Crunchy and soft at the same time they are perfect served at tea time, or as a dessert with a glass of Recioto sweet wine or a shot of Grappa.
The origin of Tiramisu’ is from the book by Fernando e Tina Raris “La Marca Gastronomica” published in 1998. Tiramisu’ means “pick-me-up” in Italian, for the high energetic content (eggs and sugar) and the caffeine of the strong espresso coffee. The classical is strong espresso coffee, mascarpone-zabaglione cream, and bitter cocoa powder.
SPONGATA DI BRESCELLO
The spongata reggiana is the local name. The history date back to renaissance period and as many others Italian pastry it was a noble dessert and served for high class guests. Nowadays the recipe is still the same of past filling with honey and currants
RAVIOLE DI SAN GIUSEPPE
Made of cookie dough which is rolled out and filled, most traditionally, with prune or apricots jam and then rolled into a half moon shape.
The Bolognese makes them Especially for March 19th, the saint day of San Giuseppe (Saint Joseph), which is also celebrated as Father’s Day.
An original cake called also tagliatelle cake. It’s a delicious mix between the sweet and salty, typical of Ferrara cuisine at renaissance period. It’s a poor cake made by farmers with easy and cheap ingredients: sugar, butter, milk, amaretto’s liquor.
The typical thin crumby biscuits from Liguria area, particularly from Torriglia. They have small sizes and seem like daisy flower. The original recipe date from XII Century and considered a high quality and prestigious pastry for nobles.
The most popular Christmas pastry of Genova. An ancient recipe taken from Egypt, probably found during the commercial exchanges with middle orient. It’s sweet bread with pine nuts, raisins, pistachio and Italian Zibibbo wine.
Little fried dough balls traditionally flavored with the aniseed liqueur mistral. Essentially catagnole are made up of a an egg and fat enriched dough, which contain baking powder, flavored with aniseed liqueur (or other) and eventually lemon zest, and fried till golden. They are the typical carnival pastry.
They are small Italian donuts of anise taste. The flavor is really light and they are easy to find in all region. They are made during carnival but they are selling all year.
SALAMINO DI FICHI
This particular sweet is present as salame shape but made with figs. It’s a regional dessert very common for marchigia’s people filling with almonds, nuts and figs, which are the main ingredient.
Produce at Massa Carrara province, this semi cold dessert is finding in the all region. Sponge cake with chocolate drop, handmade ice cream and aromatized with Alkermes and Maraschino liquors.
The Dessert containing fruits and nuts, and resembling fruitcake. It dates back to 13th century Siena. Documents from 1205 show that panforte was paid to the monks and nuns of a local monastery as a tax. The original name of panforte was “panpepato” (peppered bread), due to the strong pepper used in the cake.
CANTUCCINI DI PRATO
The first documented recipe for the cake is a centuries-old manuscript, now preserved in the State of Prato, found by the eighteenth century scholar Baldanzi Amadio. They are a twice-baked cake originating in Prato. The cakes are large almond biscuits, made dry and crunchy through cutting the loaf of dough while still hot and fresh from baking in the oven.
Traditionally this cake was baked in large, flat copper pans, but today you can find it baked in simple round baking tins. This cake is flat, often cracked on top, and is quite rich so is best served in small slices. Throughout history, the chestnut was a staple of poor cuisine, providing needed nutrition for the poor.
SALAME DEL RE
Chocolate salami has the same cylindrical shape as salami, but is not a meat product. Dark chocolate pastry served as sliced cross-sections. It’s a dessert for every season, particularly winter time.
MACCHERONI CON LE NOCI
Particular cold pasta with sugar, nuts, bread crumbs. The typical Umbrian’s recipe is making with alcohol as rum and mistral. It served as dessert with some different ingredients as chocolate and honey. The recipe could be change from city to
ROCCIATA DI ASSISI
It’s a horseshoe-shaped pastry casing containing apples, pine nuts and sultanas served with some mascarpone should do the trick. Known as Rocciata di Assisi, home to another Umbrian patron saint, St Francis
Arvoltolo is sort of fried bread typical of Perugia province. It seems a pancake eaten hot and sprinkled with salt or sugar. With the antipasti, but mainly with an aperitif, black olives flavored with orange are served.
The name derives from simple bread made by Abruzzese shepherds, pan rozzo, made from ground corn, water and a bit of olive oil. It’s like a sweet bread, baked in the shape of dome. My twist turns all of the essential ingredients and big flavors of the original: semolina, ground almonds, lemon and chocolate, and turns it into a cake
The word literally means “small bites”, because they can be eaten in one bite. They are traditionally filled with grape jam or cherry preserves and covered with pastry dough. I baked a couple of them with grape jam (mostarda d’uva) so you can see what they look like.
Scarponi are typical sweet from Sulmona, made with dried fruit and cooked must, which in order to be appreciated at its best requires suitable accompaniment.
Spellings for this fritter vary from town to town in Molise, depending on the local dialect. For that they are called also Calcioni, Caveciuni and Calciuni. They are sweet ravioli filled with chestnuts, almonds, chocolate, vanilla, cooked wine musts, and cinnamon and then fried.
This is a sweet pizza, different from the classic famous one. In fact is a cake pan filled with a blend of ri cotta cheese, sugar, flour, butter, maraschino liqueur, and chocolate chips.
Anise cakes made in metal molds and stamped with special patterns. They are usually consumed with honey or marmalade and this is the best way to taste them.
BIGNE DI SAN GIUSEPPE
Bigne of san Joseph is to celebrate the Feast of St Joseph. It’s choux pastry filled with egg custard. Bigne’ show up in Roman pastry shops around Carnival and stay through March
The roman maritozzi are made with yeast dough, mixed with oil, salt and a sugar. The characteristic is slightly oval shape, really sweet and usually filling with white cream or even chocolate or nut cream. They are consumed at breakfast with cappuccino or afternoon break.
Cornetto Is the Italian version of French croissant. Usually presented in many versions: unfilled, with cream, chocolate or fruit jam. It’s the most famous Italian breakfast consumed with cappuccino or juice.
CROSTATA DI RICOTTA
This célèbre pastry is typical of Lazio region. History information says that it was prepared during Roman age. For the traditional recipe, the main ingredient is still ricotta cheese with some variants born from region to regions. For that reason you can find this cake with cream or chocolate on the top.
Pastiera is made three or four days before Easter Sunday so the different flavors can blend. Ricotta cheese and grain pie is a very old Neapolitan specialty for the Easter season. Pastiera is best enjoyed one to three days after it is baked, so the different flavors can blend into a heavenly mix. The preparation comprises two steps: the short pastry and the filling, followed by the baking.
The origin of the babà takes us back to the 18th century when Naples was ruled by the Bourbon King Ferdinand IV. Traditionally the babà is baked in a round tin similar to a bundt pan, and before being served is doused with a mixture of water, sugar and rum. Babà is even covered with an apricot glaze and garnished with fresh fruit or cream
This pastry takes two forms: “riccia “(pictured above) and “frolla”. The former looks like a lobster tail and is made from crispy pastry leaves, while the latter is made with a sort of short bread crust. In both cases, the filling is a mixture of ricotta, cinnamon, sugar, egg, and candied lemon zest
The pants: pasta is the same one, but this time is full of mustard of grape or from a purea of sweetened ceci (this also seems, homage, to ancient Saracen roots) and finally wet with cooked wine or honey.
The more dessert typical of the days of Easter, besides the big ones set sweetens them, white of gileppe, it is it “scarcella” or “squarcella”. The meaning of the name him he is able, perhaps, to find in the verb “scarcerare”, that pointed out as the man, with the baptism, was freed by the original sin. Scarcella, sweet of base flour pasta, sugar, eggs and oil, It has the form of dove, basket, heart etc., where are imprisoned, with some crosses of pasta, of the eggs with the whole hull
The puglian Corrucolo can has different names as “scarciedda” or “palomba” in Bari area. The main ingredients for preparing this sweet are: sugar, olive oil, milk, eggs and flour. The recipe is really natural and the taste came from simple tradition.
DITA DI APOSTOLI
They are small crepes rolled up and filling with ricotta cheese, chocolate and liquor. They use alcohol and particularly red wine for the traditional recipes. It’s a combination between wine and pastry tradition.
Honey-soaked cicerata, so named because the bits of dough are shaped to resemble chickpeas (ceci in Italian).It’s a sweet dessert that’s served during the Christmas holidays. This winter sweet is also quite common in Calabria’s region.
OSSI DI MORTI
Ossa di morti it means bones of the dead in Italian language. Traditionally, these cookies are made every year in Italy to celebrate All Souls’ Day on November 2, in remembrance of the deceased. These white cookies are hard and crispy.
TARALLI AL NASPRO
Taralli takes its names from Greek language” toros” means round, as its shape. These are the typical carnival pastry and made in spring time. Taralli al Naspro are made all year, particularly it’s easy to find them at outside stands in summer time.
BUDINO DI RICOTTA
It is a firm pudding, halfway between a cake and a pudding. A crust forms as the budino cooks, but there’s no pie dough here. Like most puddings it will sink a little as it sits. The main ingredient is ricotta cheese, really common for Calabria’s desserts.
PIGNOLATA DI CARNEVALE
This carnival pastry takes his name from the shape: pignolata (pile of pinecone). It has different sizes and usually covers with lemon glaze or chocolate glaze. It’s typical of Messina and Reggio Calabria cities.
Sumelle are called also pitte di San Martino. The word “Sumelle” means brush to express the light flavor of this biscuits. They are made dark chocolate cover by white glaze. It’s a Christmas cookie but produced all year.
AGRUMI AL CIOCCOLATO
Lemon, cedar, orange, mandarin cover by dark chocolate. The taste of south fruits meets the sweet of chocolate. A good combination between healthy food and gluttony sin.
Cannoli consists of tube-shaped shells of fried pastry dough, filled with a sweet, creamy filling usually containing ricotta cheese. Originating in the Palermo area, cannolis were historically prepared as a treat during Carnival season, possibly as a fertility symbol.
The word “Cassata” comes from Arabic qashatah (cf. Latin caseata, anything made of cheese) and was first introduced during the Arab rule in Sicily from the 9th to 11th century. Cassata or Cassata siciliana is a traditional sweet from the province of Palermo. It consists of pound cake misted with kirshwasser or an orange liqueur and layered with a ricotta, candied peel, and chocolate filling, similar to cannoli cream.
Gelato is Italy’s version of ice cream. Ice cream is produced by mixing cream, milk and sugar, then adding air. In the north, the people of Dolomite made gelato with fresh milk, cream and sugar. In Sicily, they used a predominantly water-based gelato with fresh fruit.
Is a semi-frozen dessert made from sugar, water and various tastes. The most famous is lemon taste but there are mint, orange, strawberry… This is largely the result of different freezing techniques: the smoother types are produced in a gelato machine, while the coarser varieties are frozen with only occasional agitation, then scraped or shaved to produce separated crystals.
One of the most famous Sardinian pastries knows in all Italy. It made by cheese, pasta and sugar or honey. In fact the sugar and honey is chosen by the consumer who can eat seadas with sugar or honey. The best way is with both of them. At the origin it was served as second course.
PARDULAS – CASADINAS
Parduals or Casadinas are small cheese tarts that used to be the typical Sardinian cakes for Easter. In the past these cheesecakes were made in bulk by the women of the family, today you can find them in every bakery or cake shop. There are many variations of the recipe all over the island, in the south of Sardinia they are made with ricotta cheese and are called Pardulas. In the north of Sardinia the cheesecakes might look the same but they have a completely different taste as the cheese used is fresh pecorino, which is much stronger in flavor. These are called Casadinas.
Little dessert of the most ancient tradition in Sardinia, always present in particular circumstances: baptisms, engagements and marriages. Composed by a thin it skims through of pasta of almonds, iced, that covers a soft I mix of fresh almonds, cut to flakes, from the thin and spicy taste with the water of flowers of orange tr
This is small delicious pastry is mad in Sardinia region, particularly in the north east at Nuoro city. A crunchy and sweet dessert made with Honey, almonds and orange rind. The flavor is really particular thanks for the combination of orange fruit and honey.