Favorite Italian Christmas Treats: from my friends in Italy

Tiramisu - Mascarpone Cheese dessert

A  new addition to “Italian Treats” from

Monica in Venice, Italy

This is my favorite Xmas recipe – it is not pretty Xmassy but it is what we always have for Xmas in our family every year since the 80s!   Monica is a professional food expert:  tours, classes and an upcoming book


Tiramisu (Mascarpone cheesecake dessert)

This is the authentic recipe for Tiramisu, originating from Treviso –
you will notice there is no rum or marsala or any other sort of liqueur.
But you can vary the recipe as you please, adding Amaretto or Bailey’s, or any other liqueur.
Tiramisu – Mascarpone Cheese dessert


400 gr. Savoiardi (sponge fingers)
eggs, separated
4 spoons of sugar
1 big pot of strong coffee, preferably espresso
500 gr. Mascarpone cheese
pinch of salt
cocoa powder

a square serving dish with high sides

Prepare the coffee and let it cool down. Separate the yolks from the whites.
In clean bowl whisk with an electric whisker or a hand whisk the yolks with the sugar until light and pale.
 Add the mascarpone cheese  mix still using the whisk

In another clean bowl whisk the whites with a pinch of salt until stiff.
Gently fold the whites into the mixture of Mascarpone using a metal spoon, do not stir, just gently fold in.

Now start to assemble the dessert. Place a couple of spoon full of the Mascarpone cream on the bottom of your serving dish and spread it well (this will make it easier to remove the slices of Tiramisu when cooled)
Dip very quickly each savoiardo biscuit in the coffee, but not too long – if you dip it too long it will get soggy, if you deep it too little it will be too dry.
Place the savoiardi next to each other, tightly packed and cover all the base of the dessert dish. Now place half the mixture on top and spread it well.
Cover with another layer of soaked savoiardi and cover with the remaining cream. cover with cling film.
Place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
Just before serving sprinkle with cocoa powder
Enjoy!    http://www.cookinvenice.com/cooking-classes/  
Monica Cesarato is a food blogger and culinary guide from Venice, organizing Cicchetti Food Tours and cooking lessons as Cook In Venice. Her articles have been published in La Gazzetta Italiana as well as many travel and food blogs and she recently appeared in the Venice episode of Alex Polizzi’s Secret Italy. Monica is currently writing a book about Cicchetti with the historic cook of Osteria La Vedova, one of the oldest bàcaros in Venice




Olga shared this from Sorrento, Italy

I Roccocò:  an Italian Christmas Treat

 Olga Stinga shared a treat her aunt made every year and the history of the Roccoco

“”My aunt was used to make them on the 14th of December (here we celebrate Sant’Agnello, the saint patron of the village named Sant’Agnello) , 10 days prior to the Christmas Eve.”

‘These cakes typical of the Neapolitan Christmas tradition (whose origin dates back to 1320, through the work of the nuns of the Convent of the Real Mary Magdalene) take their name from the French word “rocaille”, because of their shape and baroque round.

In Caserta and other areas of Campania Region, the Roccocò have an S shape, with a curl at each end that recalls the typical decorations of Rococo style. In Sorrento, instead, we make them with the shape of donuts crushed the average size of 10 cm.

I share the recipe for My Aunt Melina, my favorite aunt, who instilled me with the passion for cakes.’

The preparation of Roccocò is not difficult: they have a base of almonds, flour, sugar and Pisto, that ‘their smell and the color characteristic. The Pisto is a mix of spices, made up of cinnamon, cloves, coriander, star anise and nutmeg, which serves to help the soaring Roccocò. It can be found in pharmacies, shops for sweets and, in Naples, even in supermarkets.


Ingredients:    500 g flour
                       500 g sugar
                       300 g almonds
                        2 gr Ammonia cake
                        12 grams of Pisto (spice)
                        150 g of water
                           50 gr Candied
                           1orange peel
                           1 lemon peel
                           1 egg for brushing (the tops)

How to prepare Roccocò

Mix sugar, the peel of 1 lemon and the peel of 1 orange

Add all the ingredients, except the egg (because it only serves the purpose for brushing) and mix them with the mixer
Add the almonds and, if necessary, a little water and candied fruit.
Cut the dough and put them on the table.
With the knife divide the dough into pieces and form the Roccocò shaped donut.
Brush the Roccocò with the egg, put them on a baking sheet and bake 180 ° 20-30 min.

My tips

If you can not find the Pisto, you can prepare a dose blending together 12 cloves, chopped half a nutmeg, grated rind of 1 orange and 1 lemon, half a stick of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder.

Typically Roccocò are eaten quite hard, in fact, make a typical noise “scrocchiarello” when you bite into. For those who prefer softer, just cook them a few minutes less.

Finally, I suggest you try these cookies by spraying in Champagne, in Chocolate Liqueur, in the Cream of Limoncello, in Marsala or liquor you prefer;-) 




Isabell Salesny, co owner of Casa Italy in Rome contributes:

For a busy Christmas with never-ending to do lists, here is a delicious treat that does not need to be baked


Rumkugeln (Rum balls)



2 egg whites

1 cup icing sugar

grated dark chocolate



Mix egg whites, icing sugar and grated chocolate. If you wish, add rum. Keep the “dough” in the fridge for 1h. Make tiny balls.

Wrap a few balls in sparkling Christmas wrapping paper for a marvelous Christmas feeling.

Rachel Vermiglio Smith Mason  in Florence shared her favorite treat:
Ricciarelli (Sienese Almond Cookies)

2 cups blanched ground almonds
2 large egg whites
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups powdered sugar
3 drops almond extract
Extra powdered sugar for rolling in 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Prepared almond “flour” or “meal” is available online from Bob’s Red Mill and Whole Food Market. If you grind your own almonds, I recommend a Swiss nut grinder, and there is one by Zylos that’s fabulous. 

Combine the almond “flour” with the baking powder, powdered sugar, and flour. Beat the egg whites until stiff and mix into the almond mixture. Add the almond extract and blend until you have a soft paste. 

Place some powdered sugar on a clean, dry surface. Form one tablespoon of dough into a small ball, roll in the sugar, and then form the traditional diamond shape, flattening the cookie with the palm of your hand. 

Place the cookies on a baking sheet covered with baking paper. Bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly golden. 

Ricciarelli are fabulous with tiny cubes of candied orange peel rolled into them and then dipped in chocolate.

Makes about 16 cookies.

Recipe for Ricciarelli found on the Divina Cucina blog.


Published by Lee Laurino

A traveler not a tourist, searching for experiences not in travel books. Solo traveler who travels as long and far as possible sharing photos of the people and places I discover

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