film & videos

  food & wine
  italian american

  free email
  link directory

new york
events, links, forum

events, links, forum

events, links, forum

events, links, forum

san francisco
events, links, forum

los angeles
events, links, forum

about us

you can help us!
We're an all volunteer website and need your help to keep going. Here are five ways you can contribute:
1 Donate
2 Buy something
3 Submit a story
4 Volunteer
5 Advertise

get in gear!
New in the gift shop, logo wear and use items!
  PLEASE NOTE: We are experiencing unexpected technical difficulties caused by our web host. We apologize for the inconvenience. During your visit you may experience service and page interruptions - we are in the process of fixing everything and hope to be fully back on our feet soon.
Gourmet Pastas and Sauces on-line

where's the sweet?
by Alice Ann Pazzaglia
(return to food)

Sweets in England are sweeter than sweets in America and sweets in Italy are less sweet than those in America. Why? I do not know. However, in the case of Italian sweets, I am guessing that they are less sweet because Italian food already provides the essential sugars and most Italians do not feel the need for additional sweets. Interestingly, most Italian desserts come from Southern Italy. In general, Italians serve sweet desserts are served only on special occasions.

Here is a small collection of desserts from all over Italy. Some of them may be new to you and are made with some ingredients you wouldn't ordinarily think of putting in a dessert!

Sanguinaccio - Pork's Blood Pudding
Every part of the pig is used in Italy and this sweet stars pork's blood - in Sardenga there is a variation on this recipe using goat's blood. You may have difficulty procuring this recipes' main ingredient as you need to start stirring the blood as soon as it drains from the pig to stop it from clotting - this will affect the consistency of the pudding. Do not store blood more than 24 hours before cooking.

2 liters of Pork's Blood
2 liters of whole milk
140 grams of Sugar
13 eggs
50 gr. of Sweet Coca
1 glass Anice liquor
Lemon Peel of one lemon
Nutmeg to taste
1 pinch of salt per egg

Separate the yoks and whites from the eggs. Whip the egg whites. Boil a cup of water with the lemon peel, cinnamon and nutmeg and let cool. Pour this concotion in a bowl containing both the blood and milk. Mix adding sugar, salt, liquor, Coca and egg yolks and whipped egg whites. Cook the mix slowly in a double boiler stirring constantly. It should cook for at least two hours but never boil.

related books...

Sweet Sicily : The Story of an Island and Her Pastries

Solo Dolci : The Italian Dessert Cookbook

Sweet Maria's Italian Desserts : Classic and Casual Recipes for Cookies, Cakes, Pastry, and Other Favorites

more cookbooks...

Torta Di Sangue Di Maiale - Pork Blood Pie (Basilicata)
1 lt. fresh pork blood
600 gr. milk
300 gr. sugar
200 gr. melting chocolate, grated
grated orange zest
a pinch of cinammon
a bit of vanilla
1 glass of vin cotto
1tsp of lard (additional lard for decoration)
1 glass of anice flavored liquer

Mix everything in a bowl and cook it in a bain marie until it becomes dense, about an hour. Pour into a piecrust, decorate it with the melted lard and bake it for about one hour.

Banane con Gorgonzola e Rum - Bananas with Gorgonzola and Rum
200 gr. of Gorgonzola
2 mature bananas
1/2 glass of rum
some strawberries

Peel the bananas and put them in a bowl. Mash them well with a fork, add the Gorgonzola and the rum and work it into a cream. Put it into a serving dish and put that into the refrigerator.

Just before serving, add stawberries cut in fan shapes and bring to the table.

Serves 4

Cannoli alla Siciliana - Sicilian Cannoli
Shells can be purchased at any Italian bakery

3 cups Ricotta
1/2 cup Confectioners sugar
1/4 cup Cinnamon
1/2 square unsweetened Chocolate grated OR 1/2 tbsp. Cocoa (both optional)
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
3 tbsp. Citron peel, chopped
3 tbsp. Orange peel, candied,chopped
6 Glazed cherries, cut up

Mix ricotta thoroughly with sifted dry ingredients. Add vanilla and fruit peel. Mix and blend well. (A little grated pistachio may be added if desired). Chill in refrigerator before filling shells. Fill cold cannoli shells; smooth filling evenly at each end of shell. Decorate each end with a piece of glazed cherry and sprinkle shells with confectioners sugar. Refrigerate until ready to serve. These are best if they are filled just before you company arrives. Serves 12

From Adriana's Traditional Italian Recipes

Torta di Polenta con Creme Fraiche - Cornmeal Cake with Creme Fraiche
1cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 2/3 cups cake flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
2 cups whipping cream
2 tablespoon buttermilk
3 tablespoon sugar
Powdered sugar

To make the creme fraiche, stir 2 tablespoons buttermilk into 2 cups heavy cream. Place in an airtight container, and let sit in a warm place, such as on top of the refrigerator, for 12-16 hours, or until it has thickened, but is still pourable. Chill for up to three weeks.

To make the cake: Preheat oven to 350�F. Lightly butter 10- or 11-inch-diameter cake pan with 2-inch-high sides. Line bottom with parchment paper. Butter parchment. Dust pan with flour; shake out excess. Using electric mixer, beat butter and sugar in large bowl until fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add sour cream and stir to combine. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into medium bowl. Stir in cornmeal. Add to butter mixture and beat just until blended. Mix in lemon peel and extract. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake until cake is golden and toothpick inserted into center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 30-35 minutes. Transfer cake to rack, cool. Using knife, cut around pan sides to loosen cake.Turn cake out. Peel off parchment.

Whip 2-3 tablespoons of sugar into the creme fraiche, and lightly beat until it forms soft mounds.

To serve, sprinkle powdered sugar on cake. Garnish with creme fraiche and berries.

Serves 6-8.

Ravioli di Ricotta
Flour 35.5 ounces
Ricotta 17.5 ounces
Sugar 14 ounces
vegetable oil 7 ounces
Pumpkin or sweet squash 7 ounces
Crumbled Chocolate 7 ounces
Powdered Sugar
Powdered Cinnamon

Mix the flour, Crisco, a pinch of salt, and a tablespoon of tepid water until you get a soft dough. Flatten out the dough with a rolling pin and cut into 2 equal sheets. Mix the ricotta, sugar, pumpkin (or sweet squash), and crumbled chocolate into a thick cream.

On one of the pasta sheets, distribute the cream in small drops but maintaining equal distance one from the other. Cover the pasta sheet with the second sheet and cut the ravioli. Fry in oil and then powder the ravioli with the powdered sugar and cinnamon.

From Adriana's Traditional Italian Recipes

Frittelle di Riso - Rice Fritters
Frittelle di riso are an Easter specialty, delightful bursts of voluptuous flavor to let the tongue know that Lent's privations are at an end. They're wonderfully light, and perhaps even tastier the day after they've been fried.

3/4 cup rice
1 quart milk
The zest of one lemon
3-4 Tablespoons sugar
A walnut-sized chunk of butter
3 eggs
1 jigger of rum or sweet wine i.e. vin santo
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Oil for frying
powdered sugar

Simmer the rice in the milk until it's quite done, then stir in the sugar, lemon zest, and butter and let cool.

Separate the eggs and whip the whites to soft peaks. Stir the yolks and the rum or wine into the rice mixture, then fold in the egg whites, flour and baking powder. Drop the batter a teaspoon at a time into hot oil and fry the frittelle until they are a rich golden brown. Drain them on absorbent paper, and when they have cooled dust them with powdered sugar.

Italian Rice Custard
1/2 cup rice
1 cup boiling water
4 cups milk
1/2 cup butter
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large saucepan, add rice to boiling water; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, over low heat 8 minutes. Add milk and butter; bring to a boil. cover and cook 1 hour over very low heat. In a small bowl, combine eggs, sugar and vanilla.

Remove rice from heat. Slowly add egg mixture, stirring constantly until thickened. Serve warm or chilled.

Serves 8

1000 grams of flour
1 liter of water
30 grams of yeast
100 grams of sugar
Cinnamon (Whatever quantity desired)
4 tablespoons of olive oil
Grated lemon peel
Powdered sugar

Dissolve yeast in a little cup of warm water and combine with all the ingredients except the olive oil. Blend thoroughly. Add oil to mixture and beat well. Allow to leaven. Drop dough (one tablespoon at a time) into a frying pan with filled halfway with olive oil and fry until golden brown. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

From Adriana's Traditional Italian Recipes

Castagnaccio con Uva Nera - Castagnaccio with Red Grapes
2 cups chestnut flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup walnut pieces
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
2 cups red grapes, seedless
1 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, place flour, sugar and walnuts. Add 1/2 cup cold milk and slowly add rest of milk, stirring constantly to avoid lumps to form in batter. Grease pan with 1 tablespoon oil and pour in batter. Drizzle top with remaining oil and distribute rosemary evenly over top. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick pierced in the center comes out clean. While castagnaccio is cooking, place grapes and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until quite soft and bubbly, about 10 minutes. Remove castagnaccio and serve either warm or cool with grape sauce.

4 servings

Torte di Miele - Honey Cakes
1 1/4 pounds sifted flour
4 ounces butter
2 heaped Tbsps sugar
2 tablespoons honey
2 egg yolks
1/2 pint milk
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 pinch salt
1 egg white
1/2 pint thick heather honey
3 tablespoons ground almonds
1/2 pint melted heather honey

Rub butter into flour. Heat sugar and honey gently until well mixed, stir in powder. Add to flour mixture, alternating with egg yolks beaten with milk. Mix very well, add salt and mix again. Roll out very lightly on floured board, cut into rounds or shapes. Put on greased baking sheet, bake in oven 350F (180C), about 20 minutes. Remove to a rack, paint tops with lightly beaten egg white. Mix thick honey with ground almonds, spread over painted tops. Put in very cool oven for no longer than 5 minutes to set. Eat either hot or cold, or Serve hot from oven with warm, melted honey poured over. Makes about 24 cakes.


© 1998-2005 by unless otherwise noted