Special occasions in Italy are a time for feasting and no feast would be complete without pastries, which may be baked or fried.
Pastries are the most popular type of Italian desserts.
Cannoli are one of the most popular of all Italian desserts in the United States. Sweetened ricotta cheese is the traditional cannoli filling but there are variations using vanilla or chocolate pastry cream. Cannoli shells are traditionally fried but we are also providing you with a baked version.
Strudel is popular in the Trentino-Alto Adige and Friuli Venezia Giulia regions in northern Italy. Traditional strudel is usually made into one large roll that is sliced and served. These miniature strudels are bite-size.
Mini Strudels Recipe >>
Cartellate are crisp pastry spirals that are drizzled with honey. They are sometimes called the "dahlias of Saint Nicholas" because of their color and shape and also their association with the nuns of the hospice for pilgrims of Saint Nicholas of Bari.
Cartellate Recipe >>
Cassatedde are Sicilian half-moon shaped pockets of pastry with a sweet filling that may be either fried or baked. They can be considered a mini sweet version of a calzone.
Cassatedde Recipe >>
Italian Cream Horns (Cornetti de Crema) are delicious little pastries that are made with puff pastry dough that is wrapped around metal molds, baked until crisp, and then filled with cream.
Cream Horns Recipe >>
In Italian, cream puffs are called "Bocconcini con Crema" or little mouthfuls of pastry with cream. They are a very popular item to be served at weddings, birthdays, first communions, and other such celebrations.
Cream Puff Recipe >>
Crespelle (krehs-PEHL-lay) are the Italian version of crepes, which are very thin pancakes. Here the crepes are folded instead of rolled and filled with a luscious chocolate filling.
Crespelle Recipe >>
For most special occasions, Italian families enjoy fried treats. The names and shapes of these fried delicacies differ from region to region.
Fried Pastry Recipes >>
A Napolean is a dessert that consists of three layers of puff pastry alternating with two layers of pastry cream. The top of a Napolean is usually glazed with a white icing with chocolate stripes that are combed to create its distinctive appearance.
Napolean Pastry Recipe >>
Pasta Ciotti are small Italian custard-filled dessert tarts. The word 'pasta' is Italian for dough and in this case it refers to a sweet dough.
Pasta Ciotti Recipe >>
Sfogliatelle means many leaves or layers and this crisp pastry's texture resembles leaves stacked on each other. Sfogliatelle look like seashells when baked. The characteristic ridges form as the layers of dough separate during baking.
Sfogliatelle Recipe >>
Limoncello babas are delicious little Italian pastries. The babas are made with a sweetened yeast dough and are soaked with Limoncello syrup after baking.
Limoncello Babas Recipe >>
Zeppole are a fried Italian pastry that are served warm and dusted with confectioners' sugar or cinnamon-sugar. They can also be filled with a sweetend ricotta cheese.
Zeppole Recipes >>
Apple fritters are made from rings of fresh apples that are dipped in batter and fried. The result is a thin, crispy brown crust fritter that is filled with warm, soft apple.
Apple Fritters Recipe >>
Crema fritta consists of a custard that is chilled until firm, and then cut into small shapes, coated with bread crumbs, and fried. They are crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside.
Fried Cream Recipe >>
More than 125 recipes for cookies, cakes, pastries, frozen confections, and more. Favorites such as Cannoli and Zuppa Inglese are featured along with unusual regional specialties such as Licorice Granita and Chocolate Eggplant. In addition to beloved classics and traditional holiday fare, readers will find contemporary sweets enjoyed by Italians today-including a light and luscious “updated” Tiramisù.
MOST POPULAR DESSERTS
This is a delicious variation of the traditional cannoli recipe. It's a great dessert for any fall get-together or a special addition to your Thanksgiving dessert table.
Caramel Apple Cannoli Recipe >>
With the simple addition of pumpkin puree and some spices, you can turn traditional zeppole into somthing special for an autumn treat or to add to your Thanksgiving dessert table.
Pumpkin Zeppole Recipe >>
Just imagine biting into a warm, fluffy doughnut with a sugary crust and finding a delicious and silky cream inside.
Bomboloni Recipe >>
Minni di virgini are round pastries in the shape of a small breast. Virgin's Breasts are eaten at the Feast of St. Agatha which takes place in Catania every year on February 5.
Virgin's Breasts Recipe >>
These beautiful pastries are very easy to prepare. Just use a sheet of ready-made puff pastry, cut the apples into slices, cook them briefly, and then roll them in the pastry dough.
Rose di Pasta Sfoglia Recipe >>
SILICONE PANS AND UTENSILS
Silicone pans and utensils are everywhere these days. Not since nonstick Teflon came into the kitchen years ago has there been a material that has so revolutionized baking.
So what makes silicone so great? It is heat-resistant up to 500 degrees F. It is supple, although it can also be firm. It's super-nonstick, freezer, microwave and dishwasher safe.
The first silicone product to show up in home kitchens was probably the baking mat. The cookie sheet liner makes greasing your pan obsolete.
Then came candy-colored silicone spatulas. They are strong enough to stir cream puff dough over heat and they're particularly good for stirring candy mixtures as they caramelize. No more wooden spoons covered with hardened sugar that is impossible to get off or rubber spatulas burned around the edges.
But if you're a baker, silicone baking pans are probably a favorite. Once only used in professional kitchens, they were very expensive to buy, if you could even find them. Now the pans are reasonably priced and readily available. Silicone pans are particularly good for things that are a little difficult to unmold, such as mini muffins or bundt cakes. This is because you don't so much unmold a cake with a silicone pan as you do peel off the pan. Some people don't like silicone pans because once they're filled with batter, getting them into the oven can be precarious. To solve this problem, simply do what the pros do and put your silicone pans on a cookie sheet.
The most difficult part of making cannoli is making the shells. So save yourself the time and effort by keeping these shells in your pantry ready to fill whenever you crave a cannoli.
FRESH AND CRISPY CANNOLI SHELLS READY TO BE FILLED
Get the same delicious flavor of tradtional cannoli in these bite-size cups that are baked not fried.
Mini Cannoli Cups Recipe >>
Cartocci is a Sicilian pastry that is made by wrapping a ribbon of yeast dough around a metal cannoli tube, which is then fried, coated with sugar and filled with a delicious sweetened ricotta filling.
Cartocci Recipe >>
FIORI DI SICILIA
This extract is a pleasant combination of citrus and vanilla that adds a delightful aroma and subtle flavor to your baked goods, drinks and more.Use about ½ teaspoon in a typical recipe for cookies, pound cake, pie, meringues, or sweet bread.
A GREAT PASTRY BOARD
This pastry board comes with front lip and backsplash to protect your countertops while it stays in place.
This zeppole recipe combines the flavors and ingredients of a traditional cannoli, (orange, Marsala, chopped pistachios and miniature chocolate chips) in a fried dough treat ... almost giving you two desserts in one.
Cannoli Zeppole Recipe >>
SOUTHERN ITALIAN DESSERTS
Make gelato, ice cream, frozen yogurt, sorbet, or frozen drinks in about 20 minutes; salt and ice are not needed.