Recipes from Dolce


by Laura Zavan

80 easy and authentic Italian recipes for sweet treats, cakes and desserts

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This very old dessert is supposed to be Piedmontese in origin. Some recipes replace the cocoa powder in the filling with cinnamon or candied fruits. The famous Artusi, in his book La scienza in cucina e l’arte di mangiar bene (1891), replaces the amaretti with savoiardi (ladyfingers). Here, I give you my favourite version of this recipe.

20 minutes preparation time
20 minutes cooking time
Serves 6

6 large yellow peaches, just ripe
180 g (6½ oz) soft amaretti (see page 108)
1 egg yolk
1 heaped tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
30 g (1 oz) butter, plus extra, for greasing
200 ml (7 fl oz) Muscat wine, or 100 ml (3½ fl oz) dry (fine) Marsala diluted with 100 ml (3½ fl oz) water
2 tablespoons icing (confectioners') sugar, for dusting

Wash the peaches. Cut them in two without removing their skin, remove their stones and hollow them out just a little using a small spoon. Save the scooped-out flesh.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).

Combine the amaretti, egg yolk, cocoa powder and scooped-out peach flesh in a food processor and pulse until the mixture is smooth.

Grease a baking dish and arrange the peaches in it, cut side up. Fill each halved peach with 2 teaspoonfuls of stuffing and place a thin slice of butter
on each.

Sprinkle with the sweet wine and bake for 10 minutes. Spoon all of the cooking juices over the peaches and cook for a further 10 minutes.

Serve warm or cold, dusted with icing sugar.


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These ravioli are a speciality of the south of Italy, made for celebrations and Carnival. I have tasted several versions, from Sicily to Apulia. They are very decadent when deep-fried, but you can also bake them in the oven.

40 minutes preparation time
1 hour resting time
15 minutes cooking time
Makes about 20 small ravioli

For the pastry
250 g (9 oz/12⁄3 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
60 g (2¼ oz) sugar
1 pinch fine salt
50 g (1¾ oz) butter, softened
100 ml (3½ fl oz) water
1 egg white, whisked
For the filling
60 g (2¼ oz) dark chocolate
(60–70% cocoa)
250 g (9 oz) ricotta
40 g (1½ oz) sugar

1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) peanut oil, for deep-frying
2 tablespoons icing (confectioners’) sugar, for dusting

Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl, then incorporate the butter, cut into small pieces. Add water as you need it, a little at a time, and knead until you have a smooth and elastic dough. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest for 1 hour at room temperature.

For the filling, finely chop the chocolate with a knife. Push the ricotta through a sieve into a bowl and mix to make it smooth and creamy. Mix in the sugar and chocolate.

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a 3 mm (1⁄8 inch) thickness. Cut out circles 10–12 cm (4–4½ inches) in diameter. Place a tablespoonful of filling on one side of each circle, then close the ravioli, sealing the edges with the egg white.

In a large, heavy-based deep saucepan, heat the peanut oil to 180°C (350°F), or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil turns golden in 15 seconds. Fry 3–4 ravioli at a time for 2–3 minutes, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels dust with the icing sugar and serve immediately.

Variation with honey and almonds
A different filling can be made with 250 g (9 oz) ricotta, 40 g (1½ oz) honey, 30 g (1 oz) chopped almonds and the finely grated zest of 1 orange or 1 lemon (preferably unwaxed).


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Here is a variation on the mascarpone cream usually used in tiramisù — a light, rose-scented sabayon. Very girly! It’s made here with pretty Roses de Reims biscuits, a French biscuit coloured pink with cochineal, but ladyfingers are an ideal substitute.

20 minutes preparation time
10 minutes cooking time
2 hours refrigeration time
Makes 6 glasses

250 g (9 oz) mascarpone cheese
50 ml (1¾ fl oz) rose syrup
100 ml (3½ fl oz) thickened (whipping) cream
12 ladyfinger or savoiardi biscuits
100 ml (3½ fl oz) rosewater
200 g (7 oz) raspberries, to decorate

For the sabayon
3 egg yolks
50 g (1¾ oz) raw (demerara) sugar
100 ml (3½ fl oz) rosewater

To make the sabayon, beat the egg yolks in a large bowl with the sugar and rosewater. Place the bowl on top of a saucepan of simmering (not boiling) water, making sure the base of the bowl does not touch the water, and beat for about 10 minutes using an electric beater, until the mixture has a mousse-like consistency. Let the mixture cool, stirring from time to time.

Combine the mascarpone with the rose syrup, then gently fold the mixture into the sabayon. In a separate bowl, whip the cream and add it to the
sabayon mixture.

Place 2 tablespoons of sabayon cream in each serving glass. Moisten the biscuits with the rosewater and place them on top (about 2 biscuits per glass). Cover with more sabayon cream.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Decorate with the raspberries before serving.


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