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Italian Easter

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Im having a bit of a nightmare trying to find a really yummy, really easy Italian buscuit recipe for Easter. I have found a few ideas here and there, but I was wondering if anyone could help me find something. I have Italian friends coming over for Easter and I would like to surprise them with something authentic. They come from the Tuscan region, but any Italian regional ideas would be great:D Cheers:D
post #2 of 21
Are biscuits = cookies? If they are, I do have some Italian cookie recipes that I can post.
post #3 of 21
Oh Pongo...Where are you???
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
post #4 of 21
Hi Lovesherfood!

The most common Italian Easter sweet is the Colomba, a Dove-shaped Easter cake which is very similar to the Panettone (except for the shape and the presence of almonds) and appears on most Italian tables for the Easter lunch...but I can't advise you to make it at home! The procedure is very complex and time consuming and the result will be hardly the same of the commercially available ones. So, also the Italians buy it in a cake shop...
Apart from the Colomba and the chocolate eggs, there are lots of regional easter sweets, but most of them are almost unknown out of their area of origin. They're usually round cakes, plain or filled with nuts or candies, which have on their surface whole eggs with their shells and other decorations.
The only traditional easter cake that is completely different from the others (and absolutely WONDERFUL! I LOVE it!), is the Pastiera Napoletana. Maybe you have already heard about it: it's made of shortcrust pastry filled with a cream of ricotta, eggs, candies and cooked grain. Making it at home is pretty easy (I've made it many times with good results, and I'm not a professional...) but you must find the grain already cooked, otherwise you'll waste a lot of time. In Italy you can find it canned, don't know about US...
Another common Easter cake (not so "traditional" though) is the Agnello Pasquale, a Lamb-shaped puff pastry cake filled with custard. You can make it at home, but the recipe is not so easy...

In any case, serving a homemade Italian Easter sweet is a very nice idea and your friends will really be surprised, since this is not a common habit and most Italians, as I said, buy already made sweets.

If you have time and a good practice in making cakes, you can try the Pastiera (if you can't find it, it's acceptable also without grain...) or the Agnello Pasquale. Otherwise you can try another, more basic cake...they're similar in most Italian regions and no doubt I can find also a Tuscan recipe for you if you like (I know only some recipes from other regions).

Let me know if I can help you with some recipes!

post #5 of 21
BTW...if with "biscuits" you mean cookies, I don't know any typical Italian Easter cookie...the smallest sweets I know are dove-shaped and have a single whole egg on. If you like I can look for some Easter cookie recipe, but consider that maybe your guests will believe that they're American!:D

post #6 of 21
OMG...I've realized where you live.
Canned cooked grain in NEW ZEALAND?:eek:
Better trying without it!

post #7 of 21
hi lovesherfood....

the first thing i thought of when you mentioned easter in italy were these crunchy little cookies i got in bologna.

i don't remember what they're called, and i think they're referred to differently in different regions, but they're really easy to make.

basically, they're just strips of dough that have been deep-fried and then dusted very heavily with powdered sugar.

i'm not sure about the recipe for the dough, but i think it's more or less the same as the dough you'd use to make cannoli.

if you can buy prepared won-ton skins at the grocery store, i even think you could use them and get sucessful results.
post #8 of 21
The cookies Elakin meant are the "Bugie" or "Lattughe" or "Sfrappole" (they have different regional names) and aren't an Easter but a Carnival sweet.
They're made with a very basic dough made with white wheat flour, sugar, water and pork fat (the Italian word for this fat is "strutto", I've found on the dictionary the word "lard" for it but suppose that this is "lardo"-solid pork fat-while "strutto" is previously melted lard). As Elakin said, they're usually deep-fried, although a lighter baked version can be made, and then covered with icing sugar.
Making them is pretty easy and I can post the recipe (I don't think that wonton wrappers are suitable for the Bugie...), although they're not an Easter sweet no doubt they will be appreciated by any Italian guest.

post #9 of 21
I suppose this will be a silly question but I'll try anyway. Can you reccomend a good pastry book on Italian desserts? That someone in the states might be able to buy through a big name source...?

I have a couple (books on Italian baking) but I find conflicting info. on some items and would love a book that I can trust all the way through.
"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
post #10 of 21
There's always Nick Malgieri's Great Italian Desserts.
When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.

- Desiderius Erasmus
When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.

- Desiderius Erasmus
post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 

Cheers very much peoples

Thank you all very much for your brilliant suggestions:D It seems I have confused a few of you about where I'm from and what a biscuit is tee hee. Yip its a cookie alright! Don't know why we call them biscuits but we do:confused:

Anyway we can get cooked canned grain for the Pasiera Napoletana, I found it at a Mediteranian food wharehouse and have had a go at it already. VERY YUMMY thanks Pongi;) I think this will be the one I stick with but keep the ideas rollin in Cheers.
post #12 of 21
Canned grain in New Zealand? WOW! We are really global!:)
Lovesherfood, of course you have already got a Pastiera recipe...but, in any case, this is my favourite one:


Ingredients (serve 12)

For the shortcrust pastry:
-10 oz white wheat flour
-5 oz butter
-5 oz sugar
-3 egg yolks
-a pinch of salt

For the filling:
-18 oz Ricotta cheese
-1 can cooked Pastiera grain
-7 oz sugar
-3 oz candied orange and/or cedar peel
-5 large eggs
-1 tsp orange blossom water
-ground cinnamon
-grated peel of 1 lemon
-butter for the mould

-Make the shortcrust pastry and keep it aside for 30 mins.
-Process the canned grain according to the package directions (I must heat mine with some milk and then cool it down)
-Push the Ricotta through a sieve, mix it in a bowl with the sugar, cinnamon, grated lemon peel and orange water. Work with a spoon until creamy. Add the candies, cut in small cubes. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well.
-Finally, add the cooked grain and the whisked egg whites, mixing very carefully.
-Butter a round 12 inch mould. Divide the shortcrust pastry in two pieces, one a half of the other. Roll up the larger piece and cover completely the mould.
-Pour the filling into the mould and level it with a knife. With the remaining pastry, make some stripes and put them on the surface of the cake to make lozenges.
-Bake at 350° for 70-80 mins or until golden on top. Cool it down and keep it aside at least for 1 day. Sprinkle with icing sugar before serving.

Some more advices:
-Although it's time consuming, don't forget to push the Ricotta through a sieve, otherwise the filling will not result smooth enough.
-I hope you can easily find Orange Blossom water, because it's the ingredient which gives to the Pastiera its special taste. The different brands have different dilutions of the extract, so my dose is only indicative and you'll have to adjust it according to your taste and the brand you've bought.
-Don't serve the Pastiera when it's just done! The more it's kept aside (up to 2-3 days) the better it becomes...
-If you can't put it out of shape without breaking it, don't worry! Neapolitans usually serve it directly into its mould (called "Ruoto").

More recipes are coming!

Happy Easter,

post #13 of 21

I still remember this Easter in Rome and the Ortodox Church of Saint Andrew (Andreas)

Ahh Roma. If Athens is the glorious city, Roma is the eternal indeed...

Pongi I think that you should start a thread about Easter recipes and culinary tradition of your country. What do you think ? I will do the same for Greece because for us, Easter is the most important celebration.


Easter is coming!!! Spring is coming!!!

PS I have counted 34 different types of bread that we make in Greece during Easter.
Aren't we nuts about bread????:cool:
"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
post #14 of 21


I want to go live in Greece where someone will make me 34 different types of bread!

Of course, I could only sit and look at them....far, far too many carbs. Maybe I could sniff them and fondle them a little.

I really love bread.
post #15 of 21
He he he Nancy

These are only for Easter , wait to see what I am going to prepare to your wedding!!! And to Kyle's of course.Not to mention what I will do in Kokkopuff's marriage.
Around 50 different breads

You know as grandmothers say..." To your wedding, I will bring the water with the strainer" :p

Did you read that Kyle and Kokopuffs??

ok! You may kill me now

"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
post #16 of 21
Athenaeus...you are invited as of now to my wedding. Start baking!!!

Now, if I can only find a groom.

post #17 of 21
As for italian pastry cookbooks...sorry but I can't help you so much as I usually don't read italian cookbooks written in English;)
I have checked on Amazon if there is something I know and can recommend, but the books I have found are all addressed to non-italian people and completely unknown to me :(
I have also looked online for the best (on my knowledge) italian regional cookbook, a real bible:
LA CUCINA REGIONALE ITALIANA, by Anna Bosetti della Salda,
but there has been nothing to do, and in any case probably there are no English translations of this book although it had many reprints in Italian. It's a pity since it's very complete and accurate, and contains the recipes of almost all the traditional italian desserts.

Another tip: if you don't know it already, check the site of the first (and best, so far) Italian cooking magazine, LA CUCINA ITALIANA, www.cucinait.com
there are many recipes and info, and also has two English speaking people sections.


As for other recipes...
post #18 of 21
...I must be demented!
I was totally forgetting that I KNOW a traditional cookie that is made here in Genoa during the Easter time... not just at Easter, but during Lent. Maybe this is the reason why I didn't consider them...they're supposed to be eaten to do penance as they're completely non-fat. The truth is, however, that they're absolutely yummy :)
This recipe is very ancient, and many years ago was diffused in all the Genovese families. Now, only some traditional and renowned pastry shops in town make those sweets and, of course, keep jealously their recipe! This is the one I have got.

QUAREXIMALI (Lent cookies)

Ingredients (serve 4)
10 oz almonds, shelled and peeled
6 oz white sugar
2 medium size egg whites
1/2 tbsp white wheat flour
Orange Blossom water
butter for the baking dish

Grind in the mortar (or in a food processor) the almonds with the sugar to a smooth paste. Slightly beat the egg whites and add them to the paste. Add also the flour and Orange blossom water. Work until very smooth. Roll up this dough until 1 cm thick. Cut into the traditional shapes:
The size must be about 2 inches.

It's difficult to explain how they look and I haven't got a picture to attach here...they're usually decorated as follows:
-The rings with "finocchietti" (sugared anise seeds) or "granella di zucchero colorata" (colored sugar grains), don't know the correct translation but maybe you'll understand...
-The disks with colored sugar icing
-The lozenges are coupled two by two with some apricot jam.

Afterwards they're put on a buttered baking dish and slightly dried in the oven at 350° for few minutes...just the time to make them solid as they must remain soft inside.

The recipe seems very easy, but, like most "easy" things, it's difficult to get the best results. I must admit that I'm still trying...

Anyway, this is a curiosity and also an "historical" recipe, to celebrate our new board!:)

As for the "Easter in Italy" thread...thanks for the advice Athenaeus, and hope I'll have time enough during the next days!

post #19 of 21

Look on "The Book Shelf"

Just posted something about Italian Regional Cooking by Ada Boni, which fits the bill for a real Italian cookbook in English.
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
post #20 of 21
I did another online search and YEAH! I've found the book I mentioned above:) although unfortunately available only in Italian:(
For the reference please check Suzanne's "Italian" thread in the Book shelf board...

post #21 of 21
Hello Lovesherfood, All these replies sound wonderful, and I've made many of these recipes for year's, but my advise to you is: whenever I entertain family from Italy, I always rely on a simply American dessert like apple pie. The reason is that Italian visitors can enjoy Italian recipes at home in Italy and they love to try all things American, so give them a real treat like a jelly roll with a dusting of powdered sugar or a fruit pie with ice cream. They'll love it and you'll be glad to hear the applause. Best wishes,
Contessa Cannoli
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