Italian Cannoncini alla crema: creamy and flaky at the same time is possible!

The Cannoncini alla Crema is a typical Piedmontese sweet, incredibly popular in several Northern and Central Italian regions. Entering into an Italian pastry shop is easy to find Cannoncini filled with different pastry creams, but the most popular filling is for sure the Vanilla Pastry Cream.

Since I’ve started my ITALIANGOODNESS HOME BAKERY there’s not a day that goes by without a customer asking me if I can make CANNOLI which behind any reasonable doubt are for sure the most popular Italian dessert in the world. Cannoli are typical Sicilian pastries made out of a fried cylindrical shortcrust shell filled with ricotta cheese cream and chocolate chips.

BUT, I was happy to introduce my customer to CANNONCINI  ALLA CREMA which , again, are typical from the Northern Italy (the area I come from) and are cones made with oven baked puff pastry and filled with chocolate cream or custard (crema pasticcera).

So today I am sharing with you the recipe to prepare CANNONCINI ALLA CREMA which, if you use store brought puff pastry, are truly super easy to make. You will need 20 stainless steel “Horn molds” and a “Sach a Poch” for the filling.  If instead you don’t feel comfortable in baking those yourself and you live in QC area (IOWA-ILLINOIS), contact my ITALIAN HOME BAKERY and order some fresh ones.


1 thaw puff pastry sheet

egg white

granulated sugar to dust

1/2 dose of my custard recipe:

3 egg yolks

25 gr. corn starch

250 ml. whole milk

1 lemon peel

80 gr. sugar


First of all prepare the custard by following this recipe, but with the quantities listed up here. Once ready, cover the surface with plastic wrap and let it chill in the refrigerator.

Then take the puff pastry sheet out of the freezer and while it thaw, butter and flour the stain steels cones: this apparently annoying procedure will allow your to pull out the cones from the pastry shells easily. Instead of butter you can spray those with butter spray. At this point the puff pastry should be soft enough to be rolled out in a 16” (40 cm) long sheet. Cut it in verticoal stripes 0.7” (2 cm) wide.

Now roll each strip around a cone, making sure to slightly overlap the pastry at each round.   Place neatly in a oven sheet lined with parchment paper, brush with egg white and dust with sugar.

Bake for 20 minutes at 390 F (200 C.).  Pull the cones out of the shells when still warm. Be very delicate because they break easily. Fill the Sac a Poch with the CREMA PASTICCERA (custard) and fill each shell to the edge.

Enjoy right away or keep it refrigerated  before serving.


TIPS: – These pastries have to be enjoyed fresh, they cannot be prepared ahead of time. The empty shells keep their crunchiness for a few days if stored  in a sealed container.

– Custard (crema pasticcera) is the most traditional filling, but they taste great even if filled with chocolate custard or hazelnut cream.


Please free to leave a comment and  maybe tag me on instagram #beautyandfourkids if you’ll give this recipe a try! AY SAFE and KEEP IN TOUCH!





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my ITALIAN desserts are available upon orders in the QUAD CITIES AREA.

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Strawberries mousse cake: delicate and sophisticated

Greetings everyone! I am so proud today to write about this phenomenal Strawberries mousse cake, which I learnt to make thanks to the extraordinary blog by the young amazing baker LUCAKE.IT . Luca reinvents all the classic pastries in a modern key, and honestly I truly admire his job!

Anyway strawberries season is getting closer, and actually here in MidWest you can already find fresh strawberries at a very good price, and considering that this cake is made 50% out of fresh strawberries I though I would finally give a try to a “mousse”, which is a kind of sweet that as always intimidated me a little because it requires the use of gelatin.

This cake is light and creamy, structured in alternated layers of  strawberries mousse, sponge cake and fresh strawberries. It is also absolutely scenic and ideal for birthdays or fancy dinners. Making it is not complicated, it just needs time, patience and precision (forget to try it if you don’t intend to use a kitchen scale) . And as always, if I made it, you can definitely make it as well!

INGREDIENTS for a 10″ SPRING FORM PAN  (20 servings)


8 oz. (225 gr.) egg whites

3 oz. (90 gr.) egg yolks

5.3 oz. (150 gr.) sugar

1.6 oz. (45 gr.) all purpose flour

1 oz. (30 gr.) potatoes or corn starch

2.6 oz. (75 gr.) vegetable oil (my favorite is coconut oil)

1 pinch sea salt

1 tsp. lemon extract


12 oz. (340 gr.) strawberries cut in small cubes

3.5 oz. (100 gr.) granulated sugar

1.4 oz. (40 gr.) water

0.4 oz. (12 gr.) gelatin leaves

13 oz. (375 gr.) heavy whipping cream


8.8 oz. (250 gr.) strawberries cut in small cubes

1.4 oz. (40 gr.) granulated sugar

0.3 oz. (10 gr.) water

0.2 oz. (6 gr.) gelatin leaves


12-13 small strawberries, washed and cut in half (for the decoration on the pan’s “edge”)

7 oz. (200 gr.) strawberries (cut in small cubes for the filling)

2 strawberries for the top of the cake.


Make sure to weight the eggs white and yolks. The quantities must be accurate.    In a stand mixer (or with an electric mixer) mix until white and stiff the egg whites, sugar, pinch of salt and lemon extract. Then add the yolks and keep mixing for a few second until well incorporated. Sift in the flour and starch.

Hand mix gently the flour and starch from the bottom to the top to avoid the batter to become watery. Add the oil and keep hand-mixing gently.

Pour the batter in a 20”x14″ (45×37 cm) baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Try spreading the batter uniformly and bake (preheat the oven) in the middle rack at 375 F. (190 C.) for about 12-13 minutes. When you’ll take the cake out of the oven its surface must be still soft.

Get a clean kitchen cloth, drench it in water, squeeze it to get rid off the excess of water, take the sponge cake out of the oven and flip it onto the wet cloth. Peel off the parchment paper and cover the entire cake’s surface with plastic wrap. When completely cooled, cut two circle out of the sponge cake: a 10” one and a 8″ one.

NOW LET’s START TO BUILD THE CAKE!  Line the 10″ spring-form pan with parchment and arrange first the 10″ sponge disk, and then – around the pan’s edge – the “half strawberries”.

NOW START PREPARING THE MOUSSE: wet the gelatin leaves in some cold water for at least five minutes. In  medium size pot, add water, sugar and the 12 oz. (340 gr.) strawberries cut in cubes. Bring the mix to boil and cook at medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Don’t overcook because you need the mix to be very liquid. Blend the mix with an immersion blender.

Sieve the pulp with a thin strainer to get rid off the strawberries seeds. In a bowl weight 0.8 oz. (375 gr.) of strained pulp and in case you don’t have enough add water to reach that weight. If the pulp is still warm, squeeze the gelatin leaves and melt directly into the pulp, otherwise, warm up a few seconds the pulp in the microwave so it will be warm enough to melt the gelatin.

In a separate bowl whisk the heavy whipping cream until fluffy. Pour the warm pulp (mixed with gelatin) and stir gently from the bottom to the top with a spatula. Pour half of the mousse in the spring form pan, then add randomly half of the strawberries cubes (about 3.5 oz. or 100 gr.).

Place now in order the smaller sponge disk, the rest of the mousse, and the remaining strawberries cubes, making sure they disappear under it. Let the cake rest in the refrigerator at least 4 hours, so that the mouse will set.

GET READY TO PREPARE THE STRAWBERRIES GELATINE: Wet the gelatin leaves in cold water for at least 5 minutes. In a small pan add water, sugar, the strawberries cubes , bring it to boil and cook for 2-3 minutes. Blend the mix with an immersion blender and sieve the pulp with a strainer.

In a bowl weight 8 oz. (230 gr.) of strained pulp and in case you don’t have enough add water to reach that weight. Slightly warm up the pulp and melt in the gelatin previously well squeezed.

Let the strawberries gelatin cool down a little and then pour it on top of the gelatin mousse, making sure it covers evenly all the spots. Let the cake rest in the fridge for at least two more hours.  When the cake is well set, open the spring form pan, place the cake in a nice platter and decorated it with a few strawberries.

Your super fancy strawberries mousse cake is ready to be enjoy! You’ll leave your guests speechless!


TIPS:  -Don’t throw away the sponge cake leftovers: cut it in small pieces, dust with powdered sugar and let bake at 350 F. (180 C.) until golden. They will turn  in yummy crunchy cookies.

– Remember to use a spring-form pan otherwise it will be impossible to take the cake out of it.

– For the mousse and gelatin you can use fresh or frozen fruit. Strawberries can be substitute with mixed berries instead.

-If you are not confident in using gelatin leaves, you can use instead 1 and a 1/2 packs of gelatin powder.

– Since during strawberries season they are more flavored and usually less expensive, I would buy a big batch, wash them and cut them in cubes and keep it frozen until you decide to make this cake.

– The flavor of this strawberries mousse cake is absolutely delicate. The texture is velvety and refreshing. Anyone that likes fresh treats will fall in love with it!

I really hope you will like this recipe!

Please, Keep me posted if you’ll try it and don’t be shy to share your thoughts with me!

We need social interactions more than ever!




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Banana cream pie: my new favorite

Buongiorno ragazzi! Tutto bene? How are you?   Since I’ve started my Italian Home Bakery adventure, I’ve been requested to make many different Italian desserts, and that to me is absolutely as easy to satisfy as “as piece of cake” (LOL), but it has happened also that people asked me to make “crazy decorated cakes” (requested I declined because I don’t feel good enough in “crazy decorating” – LOL again), or, somebody asked me to bake some American Classic. Well, this last type of request if something I considered seriously, because I love baking, I love learning about other food cultures, and I absolutely love learning new attractive recipes.

The Banana cream Pie recipe I am sharing with you today is the result of a request I got from a customer, which – of course – is a Banana cream Pie expert (and addicted) and according to whom (now I am bragging), my Banana cream Pie is the “best he ever had”.    How did I find this recipe? I researched online different banana cream pie recipes and picked the one more attractive to me (from the blog “The taste of Home“), and then, I personalized it a bit with my “Italian experience and background“. For those who are not familiar with this pie it will be enough to know that Is a pastry crust filled with fresh bananas and custard, and abundantly covered in heavy whipped cream.

Before starting, I warn you that making the custard is a bit tricky and if you don’t follow religiously the directions, it will turn out watery or bad tasting. Also, the recipe for the home made short crust pastry that follows is Italian and is the one I usually prepare for other fruit pastry pies.


for the custard – per la creama

2 large beaten eggs – 2 uova grandi sbattute

1/4 cup corn starch – 30 gr. amido di mais

1 cup granulated sugar – 200 gr. zucchero

3 cups milk – 750 gr. latte intero

3 tbs. unsalted butter – 40 gr. burro non salato

sea salt – sale

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract –  1 cucchiaino e mezzo aroma alla vaniglia

2-3 large firm bananas – 2-3 banana sode

  for the short crust pastry per la crostata

2 yolks – tuorli

unsalted butter – 150 gr. burro freddo

all purpose flour – 250 gr.  farina 00

granulated sugar – 100 gr. zucchero a velo

vanilla extract – aroma alla vaniglia

For decorating:

Heavy whipping cream to taste

Optional: some crumbled Amaretti cookies (Italian variation)


Since custard and crust will need time to chill in the refrigerator at first, and to cool off after the cooking/baking, the more efficient method to prepare this cake should be: prepare the crust pie dough and let it chill in the refrigerator, in the mean time prepare the custard and while the custard cools off, cook the pie crust.

THE CRUST: In a food processor combine flour, sugar, vanilla extract and cold butter cubes and mix until crumbly. Then add the yolks and keep mixing until yolks are absorbed. Move the dough to a clean surface, give it a rectangular shape, cover in plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes (the time you’ll need to prepare the custard).

THE CUSTARD:  In a large sauce pan combine sugar, corn starch, salt and milk. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until bubbly and thickened.  Reduce heat and cook for 2 more minutes and keep stirring.

Remove from heat, take about 1 cup of hot filling into the beaten eggs and stir very well.  Return to the pan and bring all together to a gentle boil. Cook for 2 minutes stirring.

Remove the cream from the heat. Stir inn butter and vanilla flavor until completely dissolved. Press plastic wrap onto surface and refrigerate at least 30 minutes (the time you’ll need to bake the crust ).

BACK TO THE CRUST: roll out the dough in a clean surface and then into a 9” pie pan. Apply some holes with the tip of a fork and bake “blind” (loosely covered with parchment and filled with baking beans) at 340 F. (170 C.) for 15 minutes, and then another 15 minutes without anything on top.   Let the crust cooling off.

Once the crust is cooled, arrange a layer of banana’s slices, than half of the cold custard, than another layer of banana’s slices and the rest of the custard.

Decorate with whipping cream and bananas’ slices and – optional – with crumbled Amaretti cookies.

Leave the cake in the refrigerator at least 6 hours (or overnight) before serving it. Serve it (and keep it) refrigerated.



Tips: I have to confess, before tasting this pie I was very skeptical about it. The idea of bananas in a short crust didn’t appeal me that much. It took me just one bite, to change completely my mind!

– if you are afraid the bananas on top of the cake my turn dark, brush them with some lemon juice;

– Just for your info, this custard recipe is Gluten Free… you can eat it also like that, and it’s absolutely delicious anyway.

– The only way to make custard I knew before trying this pie was the “Italian custard” (crema pasticcera). The two fillings have a similar way to be prepared but the first tastes more as a pudding when the second, instead, is more like a cream and it’s definitely not gluten free.

– I am almost ashamed to admit it, considering all the scrumptious desserts we have in Italy, but this Banana Cream Pie has become my new favorite,  or, at least, ONE of MY FAVORITES.

– So, last tip, give this recipe a try. It’s really worth it!

Do you like banana cream  pie? which one is your favorite?

I dare you: try this recipe, and It will became your favorite!


I really hope you liked my recipe this week, and if you did,

please  share it, like it, and support my blog!

And if you haven’t done it yet, don’t forget to subscribe: it’s completely free and you will receive my

(almost) weekly recipe directly at your email address!





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my ITALIAN desserts are available upon orders in the QUAD CITIES AREA.

Check out my HOME BAKERY PAGE to learn more!   


Puff pastry and apples roses: what a cute and yummy recipe!

Ciao a tutti! I felt so guilty last week when I published that (apparently) complicated and extra wordy post about macarons that today I decided to share with you a recipe that is easy and fast but not traditionally Italian.  Besides, it’s super popular and mostly absolutely appropriate for this period of the year where we are about to say goodbye to summer and welcome fall.    I am talking about these super cute roses made with puff pastry and apples, that I’ve wanted to try in a long time and that only yesterday I decided to experiment. There are tons of tutorial and recipes on Pinterest I’ve read as inspiration, and I came out with my own, which I am sharing with you in few minutes.

These absolutely adorable and tasty roses can be prepared with any kind of apples but those with red skin would work better as for the esthetic effect. For 6 pieces you will need only a bunch of


1 puff pastry sheet

2 apples

1 lemon juice

2 tbs. water

cinnamon to taste

apricot preserve

They are so easy to prepare that you will want to give it a try asap!


If you are using frozen puff pastry, make sure to take it out of the freezer and store in the refrigerator at least 2 hours before.

Wash the apples, take away the stem and core, and cut in very thin slices (thin because otherwise it will be impossible to shape them).

Place the apple slices in a bowl with 2 tbs. of sugar (even the brown one works very well), the lemon juice and a couple of tbs. of water and microwave for about 2 minutes.  Once microwaved, drain the apples in a strainer to get rid off all the extra juice.

Take the puff pastry out of the refrigerator, roll it out on a parchment paper sheet and cut it in six stripes about 2″ wide (5 cm.). Microwave for about 1 minute a bowl of apricot preserve.

At this point,  brush one puff pastry stipe with  the melted apricot preserve and arrange the apples on one side of the stripe, making sure each apple slices overlaps the other. Dust with cinnamon to taste (optional). Fold the stripe to “wrap” the apples. Roll up the stripe to shape it as a rose, making sure to let it a bit loose so it will have room enough to raise once in the oven.

Arrange the rose in a oven sheet lined with parchment paper.  Repeat for each puff pastry stripe left. Dust with sugar.

Bake for about 40 minutes at 400 F (200 C.) in the oven middle rack.

Dust with powdered sugar and enjoy still warm…. YUMMMMMMMM! So delicious!!!


Tips: – These roses are delicious even the day after, but be careful: if you microwave to get them warm again the puff pastry will get chewy and lose its crispiness.

– My daughters had lot of fun helping me preparing these roses: they had no issues at arraging the apples and rolling the pastry.

– My family is not very fond of cinnamon, so I made only two out of six roses with cinnamon: I tell you, those with the spice were ten times better!

– Usually puff pastry sheets are sold in couples, so when you approach this recipe, be sure to have four apples instead of only two.

– Since Fall is approaching and you may be considering to pick up apples at an apple orchard soon, save this other apple desserts recipes… they may come handy soon:

 Tell me the truth, this is not the first time you have seen these apple roses around…

Tell me the truth, have you ever given this recipe a try?

I am very curious to know your thought about this recipe, and eventually your opinion about it!

I really hope you liked my recipe this week, and if you did, please  share it, like it, and support my blog!

And if you haven’t done it yet, don’t forget to subscribe: it’s completely free and you will receive my

(almost) weekly recipe directly at your email address!




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my ITALIAN desserts are available upon orders in the QUAD CITIES AREA.

Check out my HOME BAKERY PAGE to learn more!   



Macarons for beginners: the ultimate foolproof recipe

Hello there! Lately I’ve often started my posts apologizing to my readers for not being persistent in posting, and this week (beside the first apology) I also have to apologize for posting about a dessert which is not Italian at all, but that recently got so popular (and so delicious) that I couldn’t help but learn how to prepare it.   Actually this is not the first time I share an “International recipe”.. do you remember the “Lapponian salad“? or the “Jalapenos popper deep“?  and my “cheesecake“? and the “cornflakes and raisins cookies“?

Anyway, I’ve learnt making macarons by experimenting recipes I found online, and the best one, and simplest and most effective is the one shared by Simona Mirto in the Italian website : if you fluently speak Italian I warmly suggest you to follow her recipe, which is very detailed and well explained.. for the English version keep reading and be ready to feel like a French chef!

Just before starting, I have a few ESSENTIAL suggestions:

  1. Macarons require patient, calmness and precision. If you are mostly for quick result with minor effort, it may be not the most appropriate recipe to try;
  2. Macarons are about exact proportions between ingredients, so this time I cannot convert the ingredients in cups and teaspoons because they are too much approximate: get a kitchen scale before starting!
  3. Even if this recipe works (I promise), it may take you a few attempts before getting the right result because you will need to figure out which is the best time and temperature to bake the macarons in your own oven.
  4. Sorry if I am not posting the pictures step by step, but if you need a “visual” guide for the method, just visit and you will find a question to all your answers!
  5. The egg whites should be a few days “old” and must be at room temperature for at least a couple of hours before starting;
  6. Even though most macarons recipes use cream of tartar as main ingredient to make the batter a little more stable, I don’t use it because in my opinion it slightly alters the consistency of the macarons’ shells.
  7. Macarons could be made in different colors and different fillings. My family likes any colors but is particularly picky about the filling: the only one allowed is the white chocolate ganache, and this is the filling type I would prepare if I’d be you!
  8. Macarons don’t require a lot of time to be prepared but, especially on humid day, the “croutage” may take up to an hour or so and  as I previous said (see #1), when you prepare macarons pick a day you’ll have enough time for  your cooking project !


100 gr. eggs white

150 gr. finely grounded almond flour

200 gr. powdered sugar

25 gr. granulated sugar

food coloring (optional)


150  gr. good quality white chocolate

100 gr. whipping cream


Before starting: using a food processor, grind the almond flour and the powdered sugar together. The secret is activating the food processor just for few seconds, to mix evenly the two ingredients and make the flour even thinner than before. Just few seconds are enough. If you mix the flour too much it may “sweat” and later, it may ruin  the consistency of the batter.   I CONFESS: the first time I tried making macarons I skipped this step. Result: the batter was too thick and crumbly and it didn’t rise while cooking!     And HOLD ON!!!! You are not done yet with the “preparing phase“: it’s now time to sift the flour and sugar with a thin strainer, making sure to get rid off any possible little crumble or lump.

Preparing the macarons batter: At this point you can start whipping the egg whites in a standing mixer, adding the granulated sugar a little bit a time, let’s say in at least three rounds.   Once the whites are firm, stiff and fluffy, sift half of the sugar/flour into the whites and start stirring with a spatula, very gently, from the bottom to the top. Once the dry ingredients are well incorporated it is time to add the food coloring (PS. you can also make white macarons and avoid any food coloring). The food coloring that worked the best for me is the powdered ones, but also the gel ones are fine. Avoid those liquid because they would alter the consistency of the batter. Stir always gently from the bottom to the top to avoid the batter becoming too watery.   Now you can add the remaining flour/sugar mix (always sifting) and keep mixing until you get a perfect and even batter. Just so you can  understand when to stop stirring, the batter should be soft enough to fall from the spatula like a satin tape. If it takes too much for the batter to fall from the spatula it means it is too thick and you have to keep stirring.   When the batter looks ready, keep it aside  for a few minutes. It’s time to prepare your baking dish!

I know on the market they sell silicon baking sheets that are already marked with the macarons’ shape. I don’t own one, so with a pencil I draw 4 cm (1.5″) sized circles making sure each one diverts from another for about 2 cm (0.8″) .   Once done, I flip the parchment upside down (so the grey of the pencil doesn’t stain the macarons’ shells) and line my baking sheets.

Now that the baking sheets are ready, move the batter into a Sac a’ Poche with a 1 cm round decorating tip.  Fill each circle of your baking sheet with the batter making sure to stay a little far from the edges because the batter will loose up a bit.  Keep doing it until all the batter is gone.

THIS IS THE PART WHERE YOU NEED TO BE PATIENT: the macaroons need to “dry” enough so when you touch them your finger doesn’t stick to it (c.d. croutage).  In a dry sunny day the “croutage” would take about 30 minutes. During humid days it may take even an hour or more. But do not worry, your macarons will not get ruined if you wait too much to bake them, but they for sure not turn out if you don’t wait enough time! So take your time and wait before starting baking!


After the “drying time” (or coutage) the surface of your macarons should be hard enough that if you touch them, your fingers don’t stick to them…         Pre-Heat your oven at 290 F. and let your macarons bake around 14 minutes. Beware: cooking time changes from recipe to recipe and sometimes it depends on the “color” you pick. Avoiding the cream of tartar extends the baking time  so – with my oven, and my recipe – the macarons starts forming their famous “collar” around minute #8th and are ready to be taken out of the oven at minute #14th.

Once baked let your macarons cooling off before taking it away from the baking sheet and remember to use a knife blade to help you during the process. Be careful: the macarons are very delicate and if you don’t use gentleness you may crush the macarons’ shells.


While your Macarons cool off, you can prepare the white chocolate ganache (which will be one of my next posts).  For the best result put your ganache in a cake decorator or a sack a posh, fill half of your macarons shells (handling those with gentleness) and cover those with the other halves. YOU ARE DONE!!!

I Know, it sounds (and it probably is) a time consuming job, but when you’ll see your macarons’ shells forming their famous “collar” while cooking you will feel the power of the success!!! And when you’ll enjoy these little bites of deliciousness, you could not ever live without 😉


Curiosities: – Macaroon and Macaron are two completely diffent kids of French cookies. Both are delicious but are entirely different from each other: a macaroon is coconut based whereas macaron is meringue based.  Macarons range in color and flavors while macaroons are limited in variety. SO when you talk about Macaron, watch out for your spelling!!!

– Macarons are gluten free gourmet cookies so they can come very handy whenever you have guests that are on a gluten free regimen but still like to enjoy delicious treats!

Have you ever made Macarons? What’s your favorite recipe? Did you find any of my suggestions helpful? Do you have any secret tricks to prepare perfect Macarons?   What’s your favorite Macarons filling?

Please feel free to share your thoughts by leaving a comment! I love exchanging recipes and tips with you!

I really hope you liked my recipe this week, and if you did, please  share it, like it, and support my blog!

And if you haven’t done it yet, don’t forget to subscribe: it’s completely free and you will receive my (almost) weekly recipe directly at your email address!





on FB: Italiangoodness – A taste of Italy on your table every day

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on PINTEREST: Italiangoodness, Italian recipes and more!




my ITALIAN desserts are available upon orders in the QUAD CITIES AREA.

Check out my HOME BAKERY PAGE to learn more!   





Summery fast and easy tomatoes salad: ready in five minutes!

Hi everyone! Yes! It’s still summer and during my five weeks in Italy I suffered the heat a lot! Oh Lord, it seems impossible that even your appetite can be jeopardize by the extremely high temperatures!

Of course Italians have their ways to make you hungry even if you are hot 😉 and this salad is the perfect example of a light meal full of taste and vitamins and at the same time very refreshing: in other words, perfect as a light lunch or side dish. Not to mention that it’s so colorful and bright that it will light up your table and be perfect also as appetizer or side dish during a cook out!     Grab some tomatoes, capers, green olives, red onions, fresh basil and Italian dressing, and your colorful salad is ready!   For this recipe you don’t need quantities… just fill your plate with sliced tomatoes (better if the heirloom kind)  as much as you want and decorate it with the other ingredients… I hope you will like it as much as I do!


 ripe heirloom tomatoes

green olives (deprived of their water)

capers (deprived of their water)

fresh basil

sea salt to taste

olive oil to taste

a sprinkle of red wine vinegar

finely sliced red onion

optional: black pepper to taste


Wash the tomatoes, take away the stem and slice them  1/4″  thick.

Arrange the tomatoes nicely in a dish, and spread on top the red onions first, then the capers, green olives, and basil.

Dust with a pinch of sea salt (and black pepper if you’d like), sprinkle with red wine vinegar, “give it a round” of extravergin olive oil and serve it!

It’s impressive how such a simple dish it’s so delicious!


TIPS: – If you don’t like the idea of a vegetarian salad, you can pair this dish with hard boiled eggs or tuna in olive oil… it would turn even better!

– This salad can be prepared all year long but of course it’s better if made during the tomatoes season… seasonal produce always have a better taste!

How about you? Do you have a favorite summer salad that you like to enjoy in the most hot days? Please, feel free to let me know you thoughts by leaving a comment… I really enjoy learning others tastes and recipes! 

I really hope you liked my recipe this week, and if you did, please  share it, like it, and support my blog! And if you haven’t done it yet, don’t forget to subscribe: it’s completely free and you will receive my (almost) weekly recipe directly at your email address!





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Mimosa Cake: a lemony resemblance of a beautiful flower

Every year on March 8th it’s International Women’s Day, a celebration to commemorate various episodes in the modern history where women have tried to remark their rights and the social and political struggles that women have faced for centuries.  Many countries in Europe recognize this celebration and so does Italy.  In Italy on this special day, it is custom of giving a mimosa flower to every woman. This habit can be traced back to around 1946. The flowers were intended to be given as a sign of respect and a contrast to the red roses on Valentine’s day.

The recipe I am sharing today is about a cake that would resemble this beautiful bright yellow flower with a lovely scent, which is indeed mostly prepared on March 8th to celebrate Women Day. Since I didn’t have a recipe of my own, I surfed around and through many I picked the one proposed by “Trattoria da Martina” (you should check her food blog, it’s amazing!), and as usual, I translated it in English (well, my English 🙂 ) and converted the quantities  with the Imperial System just for you!

This cake is absolutely heaven, the consistency is very light considering that the base is a simple sponge cake, flavored with lemon and filled with Chantilly cream.

INGREDIENTS for 9” springform pan

For the sponge cake

2/3 cup (140 gr.) sugar

4 large eggs (at room temperature)

1 cup (8 oz. or 140 gr.) 00 flour*

1 grated lemon zest

For the Chantilly cream

4 egg yolks

4 oz. (or 1/2 cup or120 gr.) sugar

1/3 cup (or 60 gr.) flour

14 oz. (or 1 1/3 cup or 400 ml.) whole milk

1 grated lemon zest

8 oz. (or 1 cup or 250 ml.) whipping cream

For the Syrup

4 oz. (1/2 cup or 100 gr.) water

2 oz. (1/4 cup or 50 gr.) sugar

a lemon zest (just the yellow part)


MAKE THE SPONGE By using an electric whip (or, even better, by using a stand mixer), whip the eggs with the sugar for about 15-20 minutes. When the batter looks almost white, and stiff and fluffy, start to add the flour sifted in three times, and stir gently from the bottom to the top to avoid the batter to become liquid. Add the lemon zest and transfer the batter in a 9” springform pan previously lined with parchment. Bake for 30 minutes at 360 F. (180 C.) and once baked, let it cool off out of the springform pan and upside down.

While the sponge cake cools off, prepare THE CHANTILLY CREAM and SUGAR SYRUP.

First make a custard by following these directions, but with the quantities listed above. Let the custard cooling off and in the meanwhile prepare the sugar syrup by boiling for five minutes the water with the sugar and lemon zest.   Once the custard is completely cooled off whip the whipping cream, set aside about 2 oz. (50 gr.) of it for later, and mix the rest gently with the custard.

A this point also the Syrup should be cooled enough to start arranging the cake.


With  a serrate knife, take away the “dark” crust of the sponge cake, both from the side and top. Divide the sponge cake in three layers (or two if your sponge cake didn’t raise as you wanted)  keeping the bottom one a little thicker than the other twos (or one).  Dig the bottom layer of the sponge (don’t trough away the crumbs!) but keep about 0.2” (1/2 cm) of the sponge along the circumference (this will work as a container for the cream you are about to spread).  Soak the sponge with the sugar syrup (take away the zest) and then spread a super thin layer of whipped cream, and then fill the gap with Chantilly cream.

Cover with the second sponge disk, and repeat: first wet the sponge with syrup, then spread a thin layer of whipping cream and finally the Chantilly. Close the cake with the last layer. Soak it with syrup** and use all the left Chantilly (mixed with any possible whipped cream leftover) to cover evenly the entire cake.

Last, and after having finely crumbled the cake crumbs (by hand!), attach all the crumbs to the top layer and sides of the cake and decorate the Mimosa Cake with few mint leaves and a strawberry.


TIPS: *here in Mid west I’ve looked everywhere for 00 flour but with no succes. 00 flour is a “weak flour” with a very low percentage of protein. If you use the ALL PURPOSE flour to make the sponge cake, it may happen that it would not raise properly. In this case I would suggest you to add 3 tsp. of baking powder to the batter when adding the sifted flour.

** When I made this cake I followed precisely the quantities indicated, but once I got to the last layer of the cake, my sugar syrup wasn’t enough to soak all of it. I added a little bit of milk to my syrup: the sponge turned out perfectly soaked and the taste of milk was imperceptible.

– This cake is much more easier to make than to be explained 🙂 so don’t hesitate to try to make it the same day you are wishing to eat it!

– Considering the uses of whipped cream and custard this cake would last no more than two day in the refrigerator.

– The color of my Mimosas cake wasn’t exactly as bright as the real flower. I didn’t like the idea of using food coloring to get a more decisive yellow, and the eggs I  brought at the store (even if organic) had that light shade of yellow. So, in case you want to obtain a brighter yellow color, consider adding food coloring, or use eggs with extra yellow yolks.

– Before to post the recipe, and very close to International Women day I asked my husband to buy me a mimosa flower (it would have been cool putting the flower near my cake in the picture to show the similarity). However, apparently in Iowa the only Mimosa known is the Cocktail (Lol!).

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this recipe, I hope it was worth it! 

Be honest, did you know that Mimosa is a flower (and a tree) other than a Cocktail? 

Happy Women Day to every women all around the word, on March 8th and everyday!

 Talk to you soon



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Steamed apples and vanilla ice-cream: can this appealing dessert being actually so basic?

For some reason when people think about scrumptious desserts it comes to their mind something rich, fatty, complicated to make and high in calories.  Well, this equation is not always true, but I would lie if I’d said that I wasn’t skeptical to publish this recipe because it is so simple that somehow it made me feel ashamed of posting it.    But I have to tell you: when I made this “as easy as it looks” dessert,  people loved it and always asked for a second serving!   Plus, in this period of the year when many of us like going to apple orchards for harvesting apples, this recipe could come very handy and absolutely healthier than many other sweet choices:  by steaming apple cubes, you maintain all the good nutrients of the fruit.  Serving steamed apples still very warm with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream and a dust of powdered cinnamon it’s absolutely delicious and the contrast between hot/cold make this dessert very appealing and particular, and served in a cute glass makes it even fancy!
Who doesn’t have vanilla ice-cream in the freezer? Who (at least in Mid-West) doesn’t like cinnamon? Who doesn’t love the idea of an easy, fast, low fat and calories dessert that can comfort ourselves when summer comes to the end?

INGREDIENTS per person

1 apple peeled and cut in cubes

1 scoop of vanilla icecream

powdered cinnamon

optional: a tea spoon of peach preserve

(I am not a big fan of super sweet desserts so I usually don’t add extra sugar to the apple cubes, but if you think you would prefer a sweeter taste, just add to the recipe a tsp. of peach preserve per servings)

In a stainless steel pot, pour just half an inch or so of water (and the peach preserve). To steam  the apples, in my pot, I put the lid on, let the water reach the boiling point, then move the pot to low heat and let the apple cubes steam for about 20 minutes. Be careful not to overcook it: the cubes should become tender but keep the shape – not become mush.

Then arrange the apple cubes in  cup (or a fancy glass), with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream and  dust with powdered cinnamon.

Serve it before the apple cubes cool off.. the goal is to make your guests enjoying the hot/cold taste experience! 

YUMMMMMMM!  And so easy!


Tips: – If you have guests for dinner, I would suggest to start cooking the apple cubes while you are serving the last course, so they will be ready at the perfect time;
– To make the dessert lighter you can use low fat vanilla ice-cream;
– I tried to puree the apple before serving but honestly the result wasn’t better in appearance or taste.

Did you like this recipe? Do you think it is too basic for being posted? 

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Mascarpone cheese semifreddo

I don’t know how it could have happened, but January 2018 has already come to an end! And while, in Italy, they are busy celebrating Carnevale (you should see Venice in these days, full of people in beautiful costumes parading thorough the fascinating alleys called “Calle”), in the USA, we are busy getting ready for a most anticipated holiday- the day of love (and friendship between children)- Valentine’s Day! In the past, I’ve shared with you many different dessert ideas to surprise partner (take a look to “semifreddo al torrone” or to the delicious and easy to be made “Nutella semifreddo“), and even ideas to prepare “themed” snacks for the kids (such as the festive “chocolate rice crispy hearts“). This year I have for you another great dessert recipe- ideal for someone who has little time to cook, but wants to impress their “better half”: this “Semifreddo al Mascarpone“. For those who are not familiar with the term “Semifreddo,” Italians use this word to refer to any kind of dessert that falls halfway between mousse and ice cream, with the consistency of a frozen mousse, and the flavor of ice cream. It’s much lighter than ice cream and melts on your tongue very quickly, giving the impression you just ate the lightest dessert imaginable.  So the object of my post today is a creamy and fancy dessert, where mascarpone cheese is softened and mixed with powdered sugar, and served with a thin layer of Nutella, in a “cookie box” made out of Pavesini Italian Biscotti drenched in milk and espresso coffee.  The recipe does’t belong to any particular Italian tradition, and has been found (tried and translated for you) on Pinterest, at this website. The only difficulties of this dessert is providing the ingredients, but Mascarpone cheese is sold practically in every American grocery store and you can easily order Pavesini Biscotti online here (just to be precise, I am not earning a penny for your possible purchase!).

You will need five of those small Pavesini packs  (so you’ll need just one big pack).

When all the ingredients will be collected, your fancy romantic scrumptious dessert will be ready in less than 20 minutes, and will need to rest in the freezer just one hour before serving…


2 packs Mascarpone cheese

7 oz. heavy whipping cream

3/4 cup powdered sugar, divided

5 packs Pavesini Italia Biscotti

Nutella to taste

1/2 cup milk mixed with 1/2 cup espresso coffee (at room temperature)


Coat the loaf pan with plastic paper so it will be much easier and less messy to extract the dessert from the pan once ready.  Whip the heavy whipping cream with 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar until stiff, and then set aside. In a different bowl, hand-whip the mascarpone cheese with the remaining powdered sugar.

Fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone mix. Stir gently so you do not cause the mixture to separate.

Place the mascarpone cream mixture in the refrigerator. Next, combine the espresso and milk in a shallow dish, and dredge the Pavesini Biscotti through it lightly. Then you can begin lining the loaf pan with the drenched biscotti. Arrange first the cookies flat on the bottom of the pan, and then on the four sides.

Pour half of the Mascarpone cream into the loaf pan, and then spread a layer of Nutella. (You can really use the amount of Nutella you prefer, but I would aim for about 5 or 6 Tbs.). Be careful to keep the Nutella well-separated from the cream, so the dessert will have a nice presentation, once cut.

Now cover with the remaining Mascarpone cream and finish with a last layer of drenched Pavesini.  Close up the loaf in the plastic paper and put in the freezer for not more than two hours.

I would suggest taking the dessert out of the freezer, and flipping it onto a pretty serving dish or tray, and decorating it as you prefer- with a drizzle of dark cocoa or powdered sugar, surrounded with some piped whipped cream dollops. Then move it into the refrigerator as soon as you begin your romantic dinner, so by the time you’ll be ready for dessert, this will have the perfect “semifreddo” consistency. Or, just take it from the freezer at least one hour before serving it.

SO YUMMY!  If I was you, I would try this recipe out as soon as possible!!!


TIPS: – Pavesini cookies are ideal as a base for Tiramisu in place of the Lady Finger.. for the prefect Tiramisu recipe, just click here, and use Pavesini or Lady Finger, as you please!

– This “semifreddo” can absolutely been considered a “cheese cake”,  since is basically made just with cheese, and the quantity of sugar is so paltry that a cheese lover would absolutely lose its mind over this dessert!

I really hope you like this recipe, and please, if you do,

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Much thanks,