Fritters & Other Tasty Sweet Treats
Almond Paste -- Pasta di Mandorle
To be honest, this is difficult to make, and you should buy it if you can. However, if you cannot, here it is.
Apple Fritters -- Frittelle di Mele
Apple Fritters, or Frittelle di Mele: These are a classic, loved by all ages; they are an excellent snack if sugared, and will also work nicely with a roast in a very traditional meal. In introducing them Ada Boni notes that they are very popular with children, and suggests that you omit the cognac if they happen to be your audience.
Apple, Raisin and Dried Fruit Fritters, Frittole di Mela, Uvetta, E Frutta Secca
Though the concept of sweet fritter might seem straight-forward, the range for variation is truly astounding. These, made with dried fruit, apples, and raisins, are tasty and a pleasant surprise when you bite into one. Like many other Italian frittelle, or fritters, they're traditionally made for Carnevale, or Mardi Gras, though they'll delight at any time of year.
Apples or Pears Fried Farmer Style -- Frittura di Mele o Pere alla Contadinesca
Apples or Pears Fried Farmer Style, or Frittura di Mele o Pere alla Contadinesca: These will be quite nice at the end of a meal, though they will also provide a pleasing flavor contrast in a classic Piemontese fritto misto, which consists primarily of savory fried meats and vegetables.
Baci di Cherasco - Cherasco's Kisses
Torino may be the best-known chocolate town in Piemonte, but Cherasco, a town in the Province of Cuneo, certainly isn't second fiddle, and is also in the heart of hazelnut territory. This recipe will in theory produce enough chocolate kisses for four.
Baked Ricotta with Herbs and Sage
Depending upon what you serve this with, you can have either an antipasto or a dessert.
Caggionetti: And here's another cookie request that came in before the holidays; my apologies for getting to it now: "Every Christmas my mother makes an Italian fried pastry. The filling is chopped chestnuts, cocoa powder, citrine fruit, and a little anise for flavor. She has always called them pastagels, but others call them caganettes. They are made like ravioli and deep fried. Do you have any information about them? OR a recipe. My mother's family came from a region of Italy near Naples."
Candied Orange Peel -- Scorci 'Ncilippati
Candied Orange Peel, or Scorci 'Ncilippati: This method for candying orange peel will work with any kind of citrus fruit, and will provide you with the wherewithal to decorate cannoli, cassate, and pastries, and go into the fillings of any number of desserts, especially puddings.
Carteddate with Honey -- Carteddate al Miele
Carteddate with Honey, Carteddate al Miele: Carteddate are Carnival fritters, and are quite similar to cenci, though they do gain special touch from honey that brings some of the Greek pastries to mind.
Cartellate: These are classic Christmastime pastries from Altamura, a town in northeastern Puglia. Tradition dictates that they be dipped in vincotto, concentrated grape must, when done, but you can also dip them in honey.
Castagnole - Carnival Fritters
The word castagna means chestnut, and these fritters do vaguely resemble a chestnut in size and shape. Since they're fairly firm, they can be made in advance if need be.
Chestnuts in Spirits -- Marroni al Liquore
Chestnuts in Spirits, or Marroni al Liquore: If you want something more elaborate than simple Marrons Glacés, you can make Marroni al Liquore, Chestnuts in spirits. Again, you'll need marroni and not simple castagne. The recipe makes a lot, so this could be a good Epiphany gift.
Chiacchere are one of the classic Carnival pastries that people enjoy before the privations of Lent. As is often the case when dishes are popular there are many versions of Chiacchere; this is from the Marche, and was presented at La Prova del Cuoco, a popular mid-day cooking show.
Chickpea Ravioli -- Cavezune
Chickpea Ravioli, or Cavezune: And finally, A few people have written asking for recipes for chick pea ravioli. Here's a recipe from the Gargano Peninsula, in Puglia.
Chocolate Covered Citrus Peel - Scorzette D'Agrumi Con La Cioccolata
The bitter sweetness of dark chocolate combines delightfully with the tangy sweetness of candied orange and lemon peel, and these chocolates are wonderful as snacks, though you can also serve them at the end of a substantial meal, to give those who would be prostrated by a richer dessert a tasty alternative. They're easy to make, too, and...
Chocolate-Covered Figs - Fichi al Cioccolato
Dried figs are an extremely popular winter treat in Italy. They're nice nibbled on, or perhaps stuffed with a walnut half, but one can also do more. In Piemonte they dip them in chocolate, for example.
Cornetti & Brioches!
What could be better for breakfast?
Cotto di Fichi & Cartellate
Niki writes: "I am looking for a recipe you may be able to locate. I am a third generation Italian, my great grandmother used to make a dessert during the Holidays that my family loved and cannot seem to find anyone who knows what we are talking about. My grandmother died suddenly and never had the chance to teach anyone the recipe...."
Chantilly is whipped cream with some powdered sugar and vanilla added, and is nice. If you fold it into pastry cream, however, you end up with a voluptuous treat Italians call Crema Chantilly, which is perfect for layer cakes, pastries, and more.
Croccanti di Marroni
Crunchy Chestnut fritters.
Torrone, otherwise known as nougat, is a concoction made from honey, well-whipped egg whites, vanilla, and walnuts or almonds; it's an ancient sweet that requires considerable skill and care to make well, and in the past was also a great favorite among pastry chefs because it can be used as a building material for making fanciful cakes and other such delights. It's made throughout Italy, and Sicily's is especially renowned. Cubbaita is an older version developed by the Arabs who lived in Sicily.
Dictinobis e Zabaione
Doughnuts, and Zabaione to dip them in.
Fave dei Morti
Lombard Bones of the Dead, with lemon and cinnamon.
Roman Bones, made with almond paste and lemon.
Fave Livornesi o Ossa di Morto
Tuscan Bones of the Dead, laced with orange.
Fiadoni di Ricotta
Ricotta-filled cookeies to close a feast, from the Abruzzo Region.
French Toast -- Pain Perdu
Pain Perdu -- -- French Toast
Fried Acacia Blossoms - Fiori D'Acacia Fritti
Acacia trees are in bloom as of this writing (late May), and Marlene has written to say she enjoyed the blossoms, fried and dusted with powdered sugar, she was served at a restaurant in San Dona del Piave years ago, and how did they do them? These fried acacia blossoms may not be a perfect match but they'll be close.
Fried Cream Sicilian Style -- Crema Fritta alla Siciliana
Elise instead writes, "I'm looking for a recipe that my grandmother (Sicilian) used to fix when I was a little girl. Unfortunately, I'm the only one left in the family and I've lost the recipe! It was a custard that was poured into a square casserole after it was cooked, chilled in the refrigerator then cut in squares or diamond shapes dipped in egg and then coated with finely chopped nuts or bread crumbs, fried in butter and then set a-flame with brandy. Could you help?" This is close...
Fried Cream Venetian Style -- Crema Fritta Alla Veneta
Diana Barr recently wrote requesting a Venetian Cream recipe. Tradition dictates Crema Fritta alla Veneziana should come in fairly thick, soft pieces, which are perfect for children's parties.
Fried Cream, or La Crema Fritta
Fried Cream, or La Crema Fritta: Crema fritta, fried pastry cream, is standard street food throughout the Veneto, and you won't find a market or fair in winter that doesn't have a stall with someone selling crema fritta, golden diamonds that are oh so sweet, and oh so tasty. To make enough for 4:
Fritters and other Treats on this Site
Recipes from your About.Com guide.
Fritters for Sant Joseph's -- Zeppole di San Giuseppe
Fritters for Sant Joseph's, or Zeppole di San Giuseppe: March 19 is San Giuseppe, the day the Church sets aside to honor Joseph, Mary's husband. Depending upon where you happen to be in Italy the day is either important or not; San Giuseppe tends to be more venerated in the South than in the North, and is especially important in Sicily, where...
Grappa Spirals -- Spirali alla Grappa
Grappa Spirals, Spirali alla Grappa: These aren't as sinful as you might think; some of the grappa goes into the batter, and consequently most of the alcohol fries out, leaving a certain crispness behind, while the remainder is simmered with the jam, again loosing some of its potency. They'll be quite nice at Carnival, though you needn't wait for the holiday to enjoy them.
Haroset is a Passover sweet whose pasty texture represents the mortar used by Jewish slaves in Egypt. There are a great many recipes for it, and Mira Sacerdoti presents a number in La Cucina Ebraica in Italia. This one looked aprticularly interesting.
How to Make Cenci for Carnevale: An Illustrated Recipe
To begin at the beginning, perhaps the best-known Italian Carnival pastries are Cenci (the word means rags), whose many aliases include Frappe, Chiacchere (gossips), Lattughe (lettuce leaves), Busie (lies), and Nastrini (ribbons), while Ada Boni, who borrows Pellegrino Artusi’s recipe, uses the more poetic "Lover’s Knots." They are very pretty...
Iris -- Not Just a Flower
Iris -- Not Just a Flower: Got a request recently for A Sicilian pastry called Inis, described as "a fried doughnut filled with ricotta and chocolate chips" -- which I didn't find. However...
Kippur Doughnuts -- Dictinobis
Kippur Doughnuts, or Dictinobis: Giuliana Ascoli Vitali-Norsa says these will be perfect for breaking the fast, and also suggests they be served at the close of the Kippur Vigil meal, with zabaione.
Majatiche ccu Meme 'I Ficu (Fritters with Fig Honey) and Mustazzuoli
A pair of tasty Calabrian treats, one a fritter and the other a fennel-laced cookie.
Marrons Glacés: I recently got a note from Edraline Lacson, who was looking for marrons glacés. Here we go; an easy recipe for home use that calls for marroni, which are the largest, tastiest, and most voluptuous chestnuts. While you can use smaller chestnuts (those Italians call castagne, a word that also means chestnuts) the visual effect won't be quite the same.
Traditional cookes made from bread dough sweetened with grape must or honey.
Necci, The Chestnut Flour Crespelle of the Monti Pistoiesi
Necci are chestnut flour crespelle, what the French would call crepes. Simple, frugal, naturally sweet, and.... good!
How to Make Necci, The Chestnut Flour Crespelle of the Monti Pistoiesi
Necci are chestnut flour crespelle (what the French would call crepes). Very simple, very frugal, naturally sweet, and extremely good.
Orange Peel and Almond Torrone -- Torrone di Scorze d'Arance e Mandorle
Orange Peel and Almond Torrone, or Torrone di Scorze d'Arance e Mandorle: Here's a richer Sicilian variation on the more basic torrone. You'll want organically grown oranges with untreated skins.
Orange Struffoli, or Struffoli all'Arancia for Purim
In Italy struffoli are generally assumed to be Neapolitan Christmas treats. However, the concept, firm fried dough, is universal, and this variation is traditionally made by the Jewish population of Padova come Purim.
Orange-Flavored Fried Cream -- Crema Fritta all'Arancia
Elise writes, "I'm looking for a recipe that my grandmother (Sicilian) used to fix when I was a little girl. Unfortunately, I'm the only one left in the family and I've lost the recipe! It was a custard that was poured into a square casserole after it was cooked, chilled in the refrigerator then cut in squares or diamond shapes dipped in egg and then coated with finely chopped nuts or bread crumbs, fried in butter and then set a-flame with brandy." Haven't quite found it, though this is close.
Ossa da Morto
Veronese Bones of the Dead, made with polenta.
Ossa dei Morti
Sweets for The Day of the Dead, from Ancient Rome. About them and Artusi's recipe for them.
Ossa di Morto (Ossa da Mordere)
Piemontese Bones of the Dead, with hazelnuts and almonds left whole.
Ossa di Mortu
Sicilian Bones of the Dead, lavishly sweet and flavored with cloves.
Rich, elegant Neapolitan almond cookies for Christmas Eve. Frittelle, Cenci and other Fried Delights
Pettole: A Christmas treat, as told by Bianca Tragni in Altamura Antichi Sapori:
Cenci! Or Frappe, Chiacchere, or...
To begin at the beginning, perhaps the best-known Carnival pastries are Cenci (the word means rags), whose many aliases include Frappe, Chiacchere (gossips), Lattughe (lettuce leaves) and Nastrini (ribbons); Ada Boni, who borrows Pellegrino Artusi’s recipe, uses the more poetic "Lover’s Knots." They are very pretty when carefully made, so she is...
Pignoccate, Pine Nut Crunch for Purim
Pignoccate is pine nut crunch, and are one of the traditional sweets Italian Jews who live in the Anconetano prepare for Purim.
A reader whose screen name is Ireaditalian very kindly replied to a request for Sicilian pignolata, saying, "you are probably looking for a recipe called "Pignolata" which means "made with pine nuts".
Pine nut crisps, much like almond crisps -- this is fair food at its finest. Measurements in grams (25 g is about an ounce).
These are not made in Tuscany and I was surprised to discover they are sweet wafers. Lots of information about them (the above is to history) with recipes, a list of necessary equipment, and more.
"When cooked," says Mira Sacerdoti, "these should resemble torrone (nougat)." She was given the recipe by a friend from Ancona, where they are traditionally served at Hanukkah.
Quick Cannoli -- Cannoli Spicci
Quick Cannoli, or Cannoli Spicci: This is for those without the patience to follow a traditional recipe, and will make about 40 cannoli.
Rice Fritters -- Frittelle di Riso
Frittelle di Riso, or rice fritters, are a winter tradition in much of Italy, and (In Florence) especially popular on San Giuseppe, Saint Joseph's (March 19). This is Elisabetta's recipe, which is easy to do and very good.
Rice Fritters -- Frittelle di Riso
There are all sorts of Carnival (Mardi Gras) pastries in Italy. Here we have the traditional Florentine frittelle di riso, which are also made on March 19th to celebrate San Giovanni, Florence's patron saint.
Rice Fritters with Raisins -- Frittelle con Uvetta
There are all sorts of Carnival (Mardi Gras) pastries in Italy. Rice-based fritters are especially popular, though a rich flour-based batter with an abundance of raisins is also very nice.
Robert Rovegno's Maritozzi Recipe - Roman Maritozzi - Easter Maritozzi
Robert, who is a baker, says: "You did not discuss maritozzi, the Roman sugar buns which used to be made just for Easter but are now available year round. Over the years I have come across many variations of them. This is the best of the ones I have come across. Enjoy Them.
Semolina Fritters -- Frittelle di Semolina
There are all sorts of Carnival (Mardi Gras) pastries in Italy. Semolina provides an especially tasty base for making the batter, because it's neutral enough that the other ingredients -- apples, almonds, raisins, and orange -- can really shine.
Sfinci di San Giuseppe
Sfinci di San Giuseppe: March 19 is San Giuseppe, the day the Church sets aside to honor Joseph, Mary's husband. Depending upon where you happen to be in Italy the day is either important or not; San Giuseppe tends to be more venerated in the South than in the North, and is especially important in Sicily, where people frequently turn to him for assistance when things become grim.
Sfinge de San Giuseppe
Sfinge de San Giuseppe: Not too long ago there was an exchange of sfingi recipes following a request I replied to in Cosa Bolle in Pentola, the newsletter. The recipes posted don't come close to exhausting the supply of sfingi out ther, however. Here's another, kindly posted by CEILW1 (that's her screen name), to the Forum.
Sfingiuni, Sfincione, and Pizza Fritta alla Siciliana
Several recipes for a classic Sicilain treat that can be savory or sweet.
Sfratti are traditional pastries for Rosh Hashanah, and following the Italian Jewish custom for sweets the name is sad -- it translates as "eviction" to remind people of the pitfalls that life has in store.
Struffoli -- Neapolitan Christmas Treats
Struffoli are (they're always referred to in the plural) now an absolute requirement at the end of a Neapolitan Christmas day dinner. However, in introducing them in her la Cucina Napoletana Caròla Francesconi says their inclusion is relatively recent -- Crisci mentions them several times in the book he wrote in 1634, but they don't appear on...
Sweet Semolino -- Semolino Dolce
Semolino Dolce, or Sweet Semolino: Fritto misto alla Piemontese wouldn't be quite the same without this dish, which is also a delightful winter dessert/snack that will bring warmth to the heart as the darkness falls outside.
Sweet Sfinci: There was also a request for another Sicilian sweet, which led Sicula to suggest a recipe "from Mary Taylor Simeti's Pomp & Sustenance, which is about the finest English-language Sicilian cookbook I've seen." It does look nice, and I checked a couple of Italian sources. Pino Correnti says that they may be derived from the sweets the ancients made to greet the winter solstice, though he also notes that Amari, whom I am not familiar with, says they're Arab.
Sweet Tagliatelle Recipe - Tagliatelle Dolci
Carnevale, also known as Mardigras or Shrove Tuesday, is an occasion for all sorts of sweet treats. Thelma writes, "I'm looking for the fried tagliatelle recipe that are coated with honey and sold in pastry shops in Bologna, Italy at this time for Carnevale." I asked a friend who's family is from Bologna about these, and he said he'd ask his aunt. In the meantime, I've come across a recipe that is similar.
Tortelli come in many stripes; though most are savory some are sweet. According to La Cucina Italiana, this particular variety is a direct descendent of the tortelli the Ancient Romans would buy from street vendors during the Baccanalia.
Torrone -- Nougat
Torrone, otherwise known as nougat, is a concoction made from honey, well-whipped egg whites, vanilla, and walnuts or almonds; it's an ancient sweet that requires considerable skill and care to make well, and in the past was also a great favorite among pastry chefs because it can be used as a building material for making fanciful cakes and other such delights. It's made throughout Italy, and Sicily's is especially renowned.
Tre Ravioli Dolci alla Ricotta
Three more ricotta filled raviolo-like cookies, two from Lazio and the third from Calabria
Turtlitt - Fritters for Carnevale
There's no getting around it; January and february are dreary months in much of Italy, especially the Centro-Nord. Little wonder then that people would devise all sorts of pastries and treats to add some cheer to their days. These Turtlitt are treats from Romagna, and well suited to kids of all ages.
Uosse de Mort o Finocchietti
Basilicatan Bones of the Dead, richly laced with anise seed and fennel.
Vanilla Laced Apple Fritters -- Frittelle di Mela alla Vaniglia
Vanilla Laced Apple Fritters, Frittelle di Mela alla Vaniglia: Fruit fritters are a delightful snack or dessert, and are among the classic Carnival treats too. The recipe calls for apples, but you can also use fresh pineapple, strawberries, bananas, and peaches.
White Torrone -- Torrone Bianco
Torrone, otherwise known as nougat, is a concoction made from honey, well-whipped egg whites, vanilla, and walnuts or almonds; it's an ancient sweet that requires considerable skill and care to make well, and in the past was also a great favorite among pastry chefs because it can be used as a building material for making fanciful cakes and other such delights. It's made throughout Italy, and Sicily's is especially renowned. Torrone Bianco also has pistachios.
Zeppole -- Fritters for Saint Joseph's Day
In Naples, San Guiseppe is the day for zeppole. The pastry shops and friggitorie (fried food stands) churn them out in astonishing quantity, for eating Zeppole on the 19th is another of those traditions that must be observed. Despite their size everyone eats at least two or three, or even four...
Zipulas: Almost every Italian town and region has some specialty for Carnevale, the revels people hold to steel themselves for the privations of Lent (also known as Mardigras or Shrove Tuesday). This recipe is Sardinian, and though the ingredient list doesn't call for them, I've seen them with pastel-shaded confetti (candied almonds, not paper) pressed into them.