Buon Natale a tutti. Italian desserts
Ciao a tutti. I want to share with you some of the names of Italian holiday dishes/desserts. Please share some dishes/desserts from your culture as well, I would love to read them.
Being Italian American, I had the luxury of growing up with recipes from the old country, along with Italian American recipes (some things were harder to find over here when those Italians first arrived, so they improvised, i.e. garlic bread, the use of butter instead of olive oil. Plus they made more money. tenant farming was harsh over there). Long ago, in some regions, meat was consumed barely a handful of times a year over in the motherland, so when they started making a lot of money here... a big change happened.
Onto some holiday dishes. We have many many fish dishes. Baccalà - a dried cod you soak for 3 days, changing the water everyday. There are hundreds of different Baccalà dishes, which we eat around Christmas time, and year round. Another Christmas eve dish is sawdust pasta, no it is not sawdust, it's breadcrumbs =) Called pasta ca' muddica. Anchovies are cooked in olive oil(or you can skip them) and heat up the breadcrumbs in the same oil. Throw that on some pasta and bingo.. a meatless dish. We also have sawdust pasta for San Giuseppe, on march 19th.
Struffoli, a Neapolitan classic. Little dough-balls are fried, covered in honey and sprinkles. Torrone, I've had this many different ways. From a chocolate version, to a nougat, to an almond brittle. All varieties have either almonds, Hazelnuts or pistachio. Next we have mostaccioli, a special cookie, a chocolate glazed one. Next, sfingi or zeppole. 2 different ways. 1 . drop the dough in oil, cook it, and then cover it in sugar or powdered sugar. The other way is to pipe the dough in a circular motion on parchment paper, fry it, or put it in the oven - al forno. Next, make a lemon flavored custard to put in the middle of it, add some on top (you don't always have to do this), and top with a cherry (Amarena or maraschino) coat with powered sugar. These are made on San Giuseppe, but we eat them year round. Here is a picture
More desserts. Bomboloni, Italian doughnuts filled with that lemon cream I just mentioned, or filled with Nutella. A popular holiday Italian cookie in NY and NJ.. Anginetti (has many names though Anise cookies, Anisette, Italian cookies, wedding cookies, love knot). So they are made with anise extract, or anisette liquor, or lemon extract, limoncello liquor, I've seen some OJ used as well. The origins of these cookies are unknown to me (I just know every single southern Italian family I've met makes them). My family uses anise. I think they might spawn from tarallucci cookies? So Anginetti come round, in a knot, a twist, or an S shape. here have a look
We also have ricotta cookies, a flatter cookie compared to anginetti. No holiday is complete without Panettone, a sweet bread with raisins and candied fruit. Speaking of sweet bread, we have another sweet bread we make on Easter time, it has hard boiled eggs sitting on top.
Tiramisu, and cannoli are world famous, so no need to explain those =)
Cassata Siciliana, Cassata Napoletana - a yummy cake that comes in different shapes, sometimes even rolled. Topped with candied fruit, filled with cannoli filling.
Panna cotta https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panna_cotta
And there you have it. I can go on, and on, so I'll stop here. As you can see.. I mostly focused on the desserts =)
Every region has their own thing, own way of making something. Even families from the same region make things different, and will sometimes argue on who made it right and who made it wrong. We are a funny bunch =D
Have a happy holidays everybody. Ciao
At moment in Italy (Especially in northern Italy) the Christmas and festive challenge is between panettone and Pandoro:
Reading in Italian is always a good workout.