Italian Government Tourist Board North America
Pastry: an Italian passion
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
and often flavored with
The "white dish" (from the original
French term Blanc mangier)
was an upper-class dish common to most
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
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
reign, when importing cocoa from
America became extremely
BACI DI DAMA
Baci di Dama are known as
"Ladies Kisses" in English.
to a legend, they were created by a chef
who worked for the
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
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,
which is regarded as the particular
It's chocolate rum pastry cream inside
of a baked meringue; they're dipped in
with a plain extra bitter chocolate and
a soft chocolate custard and rum
cake appeared in Milan, northern Italy,
around the 15th century,
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.
contains candied orange, citron, and
Usually is served in vertical slides
accompanied by mascarpone cream.
typical carnival pastry well knows as
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
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 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
is a typical dessert from the Alto Adige
region. Strudel is a type of layered
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
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
Chocolate pudding with an interesting
twist. Traditionally created
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.
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
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
The ingredients are: Fruit, walnuts,
hazelnuts, almonds, raisins, and pine
kernels, liqueur, rolled in a thin crust
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.
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.
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
classical is strong espresso coffee,
mascarpone-zabaglione cream, and bitter
SPONGATA DI BRESCELLO
spongata reggiana is the local name.
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
RAVIOLE DI SAN GIUSEPPE
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.
original cake called also tagliatelle
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,
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
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
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.
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
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.
Dessert containing fruits and nuts, and
fruitcake. It dates back to
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
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
The cakes are large almond
made dry and crunchy through cutting the
loaf of dough while still hot and fresh
from baking in the
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
salami has the same cylindrical shape as
but is not a
product. Dark chocolate pastry served
as sliced cross-sections. It’s a
dessert for every season, particularly
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
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
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
The name derives from
simple bread made by Abruzzese
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
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.
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
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
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.
célèbre pastry is typical of Lazio
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
takes us back to the 18th century
when Naples was ruled by the Bourbon
King Ferdinand IV.
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.
is even covered with an apricot glaze
and garnished with fresh fruit or cream
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
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
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
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
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.
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 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.
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
PIGNOLATA DI CARNEVALE
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
Sumelle are called also
San Martino. The word “Sumelle”
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.
cedar, orange, mandarin cover by dark
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
filled with a sweet, creamy filling
cheese. Originating in the
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.
made from sugar, water and various
tastes. The most famous is lemon taste
but there are mint, orange,
largely the result of different freezing
techniques: the smoother types are
produced in a
machine, while the coarser
varieties are frozen with only
occasional agitation, then scraped or
shaved to produce separated crystals.
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
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
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.
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