Authentic Italian Dessert Recipes That Rival Your Nonna's
Which dish comes to mind when you think about Italian cuisine? If melt-in-your-mouth margherita pizza or parmesan-topped linguine con vongole comes to mind, you're limiting your taste buds, says Rosemary Molloy, founder of An Italian in My Kitchen. "Italian cuisine is best known for lasagna, pizza, and pasta—but believe me, there are so many baked goods just waiting to be discovered," she says in her new cookbook, Authentic Italian Desserts. "Whether you have been to Italy, wish to visit Italy, or are Italian (or not), I want to help you discover the sweet side of Italian cooking."
The book spans 75 traditional dessert recipes Molloy has mastered since moving to Italy 25 years ago. It's a delicious tour of Europe's foodie capital: Learn to make Torta della Nonna (Grandmother's Cake) from Tuscany, Torta Caprese from the famous island of Capri, and fried cannoli from Sicily. Here are three traditional favourites from the new cookbook.
Ingredients for the filling
2 2/3 to 3 cups ricotta cheese
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup mini dark chocolate chips, plus more for serving
Ingredients for the dough
1 1/2 cups all-purpose fl our
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
1 medium egg
2 1/2 tbsp butter, melted
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 large egg yolk, beaten
Vegetable oil, for frying
Powdered sugar, for dusting
To make the ricotta filling, place the ricotta cheese in a sieve over a medium bowl and refrigerate for 24 hours. (It has to drain as long as possible to remove excess moisture.) Remove the ricotta from the fridge and, using a spatula over another medium bowl, push the ricotta through the sieve into the bowl (this helps make it nice and creamy). Add the granulated sugar a little at a time and combine. Test the cheese for sweetness; add more if needed. Fold in the chocolate chips. Place the filling in a pastry bag with a large tip.
To make the cannoli dough, whisk together the fl our, granulated sugar, cocoa powder and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and add the egg and butter, mixing the ingredients together with a fork. Slowly add the wine and mix to combine, starting with a fork and then using your hands until you have a compact dough. Place the dough on a work surface and cover it with a clean tea towel. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
Roll the dough into flat, 1/8-inch-thick circles. Wrap the circles around cannoli cylinders.
Fill a large pot with 2 to 3 inches vegetable oil. Bring the oil to 330°F, and fry the cannoli 2 or 3 at a time, turning a few times until the pastry has swelled and is golden in color, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the cannoli to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Once the cannoli are cool, gently remove the cylinders.
Fill the cannoli with the ricotta filling. Dust them with the powdered sugar and top them with additional chocolate chips. Serve immediately.
4 1/2 oz dark chocolate
1/2 cup butter
2 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 cup + 1 1/2 tbsp almond flour
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
Powdered sugar and grated white chocolate
Preheat the oven to 350°F, then grease and flour an 8-inch springform pan. In a small pot over medium-low heat, melt the dark chocolate and butter, stirring to combine until smooth. Remove the pot from the heat and let the chocolate mixture cool.
In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites and 2 tablespoons of the granulated sugar until stiff peaks appear, 2 to 3 minutes.
In a large bowl, beat together the egg yolks and the remaining 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the granulated sugar until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. Add the melted chocolate and gently stir with a wooden spoon until combined. Add the flour, baking powder and salt, stirring gently until combined. Fold in the egg whites. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Let the cake cool, then dust it with the powdered sugar and white chocolate before serving.
1 cup raw almonds
3 large eggs, divided
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
Zest of 1/2 lemon
Preheat the oven to 350°F, and line a 10 x 14-inch baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place the almonds on a separate 10 x 14-inch baking sheet and roast them in the oven for approximately 5 minutes. Let them cool.
In a large bowl, beat 2 of the eggs and the sugar for 1 minute. Add the flour, salt, baking powder, honey, vanilla and lemon zest, using your hook attachment to mix the ingredients together. When the dough is almost completely mixed, add the almonds and continue to mix for approximately 30 seconds. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead the dough until it is thoroughly combined (the dough will be slightly sticky).
Divide the dough into three logs approximately 9 inches long. Place them on the prepared baking sheet. In a small bowl, beat the remaining egg and brush the dough with the beaten egg. Bake the logs for approximately 20 minutes.
Remove the logs from the oven and slice the dough diagonally into 1/4-inch slices (or thinner if you prefer). Place the slices cut-side down on the baking sheet and bake for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the biscotti are dry. Let the biscotti cool completely before serving.
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