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Florence, Italy: Italian Desserts- What to Order at the Pastry Shop
Intrigue, passion, and betrayal in 15th century Florence
Sfogliatelle and Baba'
Brutti e Buoni
Dedicated to all of you with a sweet tooth!
While Italy is known mostly for its pasta, pizza, soups, and scrumptious main dishes, I wanted to dedicate a hub to its desserts. Of course, EVERYONE knows about gelato and Sicilian cannoli, but what about some of the other traditional sweets?
My favorite are the petite and pretty "mignone" that pack a lot of flavor into one delicious bite (OK, maybe two bites). These delightful little pastries are usually assorted on a pastry tray, wrapped in paper and tied with ribbons. If you get invited to somebody's house for a big Sunday lunch or a nice dinner, show up with a good bottle of wine and a tray of mignone and you are "in" with mamma.
Since I love history, I tend to like old recipes. Panforte is like a rich fruitcake full of nuts, dried fruits, sometimes even chocolate. The original recipe originated in Siena around the middle ages when lack of refrigeration inspired people to create foods that would last a long time. Don't think this is your typical industrialized canned fruitcake that gets passed around on Christmas...it is much, much better.
Sfogliatelle is sometimes known as "lobster tail" pastry because of its appearance. Traditionally filled with a ricotta based filling, it is sometimes made with chantilly or even filled with Nutella. The secret to good sfogliatelle is that the layers of pastry should be light, delicate and crispy when you bite into it. The soft, creamy center is the perfect compliment to its texture.
Baba' originated in the south of Italy, but can be found in many pasticcerias throughout the country due to its popularity. Simple golden cake soaked with rum and full of deliciousness!
Brutti e Buoni (Ugly and Good) are very crispy cookies made of meringue and crushed nuts. Since no flour is involved, it's the perfect sweet for anyone who is watching their carb intake (although in Europe, we don't follow any of those diet trends). Very tasty and light.
There are too many others to mention, but hopefully, I have given you a good variety to look for when you come visit Italy. Thank you for reading!
C. De Melo
Author & Artist