If ever someone mentions Italian desserts to you, you first think of the most famous Tiramisu. A dessert that has crossed the Italian borders and traveled the whole world, it has been upgraded, there have been changes in the ingredients, there are some which are vegans or egg-less ones as well. Tiramisu can be said to be taken for granted on the part of the Italian dessert that people love. However, there are more than Tiramisu in the Italian dessert world. It is rare that you will get a restaurant that serves a wide range of Italian desserts, even for the ‘authentic Italian restaurants,’ for them serving only Gelato and Tiramisu is Italian enough!
Well, to take you down further in the Italian dessert paradise, I present you with some lesser-known Italian desserts. Some of which you might not have known until now. So let’s hop onto an Italian ferry and travel the world of desserts!
Zabaione – Also written as Zabaglione, this classic Zabaione is made with only three ingredients to reach to a fluffy, light dessert that is often served with something else on the side. Zabaione goes well with poached pear, vanilla cake or biscuits, caramelized figs, roasted plums or peaches, or even macerated cherries. This dessert is often served with a generous glass of whatever sweet alcoholic beverage was used to create this dish. Limoncello, cognac, Marsala, or Moscato D’Asti are the beverages that are mostly used. Preparing Zabaione requires that you have your whisking muscles ready!
Sfogliatelle – According to its legend, Sfogliatelle was originated in a convent around Naples, well, which convent is a hot topic for debate in any Italian restaurant. It is said to be made by a nun who used the leftover semolina and added candied fruits, sugar, and ricotta. She wrapped it into a puff pastry and shaped it to resemble a monk’s hood and popped it into the oven. People who live in villages have been eating various versions of Sfogliatelle for breakfast since then. The best way to eat this dessert is pipping hot as you can enjoy the crunchiness of the outer pastry with the smoothness of the fragrant inner filling.
Italian Ricotta Cake – This cake is made with ricotta cheese, so basically, this is a cheesecake. The light citrus cheesecakes are quite common across Italy, where they are with ricotta instead of cream cheese. Italian ricotta cake is baked with a light pastry crust as it balances out the creamy filling with some crumbly crust.
Sbrisolona – Also known as Almond polenta shortbread tart, this big round crumbly treat is eaten more like a large cookie or biscuit. It is often made in advance and kept on hand to have with your next cup of tea or coffee. It is also served as a breakfast treat in Italy as well as an afternoon pick-me-up! I do recommend this dessert!
Bomboloni – This is an Italian filled doughnut and is often eaten as a snack and dessert. Etymologically related to bomba (bomb), this pastry is also called bomba in some other regions of Italy. Primarily connected to Tuscany, this dessert is traditional to the other regions of Italy, with some variations on the recipe. It is often filled with strawberry jam, whipped cream, or jelly. This small pastry tastes more explosive in the mouth than it actually looks.
Pandoro – Often associated with Christmas, this dessert is originally from Verona in Northern Italy. A bread dessert hybrid, it is stuffed with orange, lemon, raisins, and other dried fruits. It is different from panettone, pandoro is more a fashionable star shape that has icing sugar sprinkled on top to reference the winter season.
Zeppole – Typically derived from the Italian cuisine, especially from Rome and Naples, this dessert can be found in other regions as well as in other countries. Zeppole is a deep-fried dough and sprinkled with icing sugar while giving off a flavor and texture that reminds you of a doughnut. Zeppole is often filled with cream or chocolate, making them even more delicious. Its consistency ranges from light and puffy to a bread and pasta-like. On Saint Joseph’s Day, this dessert is eaten.
Semifreddo – What is Italian dessert without gelato? Unthinkable is it! Well, Italian loves their gelato, and this dessert is one that you should not miss at all. This frozen dessert has a layer of cake at the bottom, and topped with a layer of chilled whipped cream. Semifreddo has a similar texture to that of a mousse. It is often called an ice cream cake.
Cassata – A traditional sweet from Sicily, Italy, this dessert consists of a round sponge cake that is moistened with fruit juices or liqueur and layered with ricotta cheese and candied fruit. Cassata is originated from Palermo, Sicily. Be prepared to have a heavenly taste when eating this delectable dessert.
Well, if all these desserts made you crave about getting the best Italian sweet treats, then head to Red Carpet Restaurant. They are based in Miami, FL, and soon are opening on 69 East Flagler Street, Miami, FL. You will be amazed by the wide range of flavorful dishes they have.