Lemon and ricotta ring cake (ciambellone di limone e ricotta)
We normally turn to this recipe for a Sunday morning treat because it's the perfect cake for dunking into coffee. It's basically the love child of sponge and Madeira cakes.
Italian baked ricotta cheesecake (fiadone di Vincenzo)
The people of Abruzzo seldom indulge in lavish cakes or pastries, but when the occasion calls for it, home cooks often draw on the region's ancient recipe for fiadone cake. Essentially an Italian cheesecake made from eggs, ricotta and lemon, this specialty is encased in a basic pastry dough, which keeps the cheese mixture soft and moist inside.
Apricot and olive oil cake (torta all’olio e albicocche)
Lemon and apricots go really well together and I love adding liqueur to my cake batter. This fluffy cake features sambuca and, typical of Italian desserts, calls for extra virgin olive oil rather than butter.
Almond and lemon biscotti (tozzetti)
These are Italy's best loved cookies. It's always nice to have a stash on hand for a rainy day. You could also try your own flavour combinations, such as chocolate and hazelnut, or pistachio and orange.
Sponge cakes from Castebottaccio (pesche di castelbottaccio)
Silvia and her mother set about making sponge cakes that resemble little peaches, thanks to a reddish liqueur called alchermes.
Ricotta, chocolate and cherry tart (crostata con ricotta, cioccolato e ciliege)
This decadent dessert has all your bases covered: buttery pastry, liqueur-spiked ricotta, crowning cherries and a layer of chocolate to boot. If you're making the tart to-go, assemble at your destination so the pastry stays nice and crisp.
Lasagne Marche-style (vincisgrassi)
As any Italian nonna will attest, cooking an authentic lasagne isn't easy, but it's well worth the effort! This version features a rich ragù of beef mince, chicken livers and sausage meat, along with homemade pasta sheets, béchamel sauce and two types of cheese.
Antonina’s cannelloni with braised meat (cannelloni di Antonina)
Meaty cannelloni is a staple dish at special occasions in Italy. This recipe includes veal mince, mozzarella and a rich tomato sauce. Serve as a delicious alternative to lasagne or ragù.
Cherry and almond tart (la tarte amandine aux cerises)
Stage 21 – Sèvres - Grand Paris Seine Ouest/Paris Champs-Élysées: This appetising cherry and almond tart was traditionally made with cherries grown in orchards just outside of Paris. If fresh cherries aren’t in season, you can use frozen or tinned, but make sure you defrost or drain them to get rid of any excess liquid.
Apricot and lemon clafoutis
Traditionally from the Limousin region in southwest France, almond custard-based claufoutis is traditionally made with cherries. However, other stone fruits, such as apricots, peaches, nectarines and plums can be used. When made with these fruits the dish is correctly known as a flaugnarde. This apricot one is scented with lemon and has a beautiful creamy texture – one serve will never be enough!
Chocolate frangipane and cherry tart
Frangipane is a classic French almond-based filling used in tarts, cakes and pastries. It’s history dates to the 16th century when an Italian nobleman (the Marquis Muzio Frangipani) introduced almond-scented gloves to France - pastry chefs attempted to emulate the seductive scent in their desserts. The result was a rich almond-infused cream filling that somehow over time, morphed into the frangipane we know today.
Corsican cheesecake (fiadone Corse, Corsica)
This is made with brocciu, a fresh sheep’s milk cheese similar to ricotta but stronger in flavour. Brocciu is not readily available in Australia, so substitute fresh ricotta.