Italian Pumpkin Flowers Fritters: at the Pumpkin Patch don’t forget to pick up those flowers too!!!

Last week I went to a field trip to the Pride of the Wapsy Pumping Patch with my preschooler, and , fun thing, while the children (mine included) where walking trough the field to find the perfect pumpkin I was picking those beautiful “male” pumpkin flowers that made the patch yellow and bright!   Few minutes before, indeed, the farmer was explaining us how the “female” flowers fall from the pumpkin when it grows meanwhile the “male” ones – which are not attached to any fruit – keep blossoming during the season.

Well, long story short, in Italy those flowers (and the zucchini flowers) are very well known as a delightful ingredients for amazing fritters. When the farmer told me to help myself, I harvested a bag of those, took them home, and prepared this very popular Italian recipe, which is also a very common finger food you can find at wedding’s buffets, and fancy a pumpkin flower fritter looks like

Super easy, just three ingredients (plus the peanut oil for frying) and get ready to try this deliciousness!!! Just to be clear, this is my family recipe, but I know for sure other Italians may tell you that the batter needs also eggs, or baking soda, or freezing water. Nothing to say about those other recipes: to me, my mom’s one works perfectly. The flowers will taste crispy and tasty, they won’t absorb too much oil, and be perfect for an “alternative” snack or as a finger food appetizer.  One last thing, depending on your preferences, you can drizzle the flowers either with sugar (if you are more for sweet treats) or sea salt (if you are more a “savory food” lover), and in this latest case, you can also decide – before to immerge the flowers in the batter – to stuff it with Provolone or Asiago cheese, to make it even more appealing!


7 oz. (100 gr). all purpose flour

7 oz. (200 ml.) beer (any kind works but better a blond one)

peanut oil for deep frying


When you pick up and bag your flowers it may be that during the ride home some bugs come out. Don’t freak out, it’s quite common finding bugs in flowers. Once home, just was the flowers well but delicately,  pat them dry and take away the stems and pistils.

Prepare the batter by hand whisking the flour and beer, and let the batter resting in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.  In a medium sized pot, pour enough peanut oil to fry the flowers, and bring it at 350-350 F.  (170-180 Celsius).

Meantime take a flower at a  time and deep into the batter making sure is well covered all around. Once the oil reaches the right temperature, fry the flowers (not more than two-three at a  time to not bring the oil temperature down) for about a minute for side, then using a holed ladle,  take them out into a plate covered in paper towel (to absorb any oil in excess).

Sprinkle with sea salt or sugar (depending if you’d prefer a savory or sweet treat) and serve still warm. YUMMMMM!This is how a pumping flower fritter looks like


TIPS: – Ideal would be frying the flowers the same day you picked them up. But If you don’t, seal them in a container and keep them refrigerated until it’s time to fry them.

– Even if they look withered when you pick them up, they will taste great anyway. Just be carful they don’t are rot (black and bad smelling).

– these flowers are delicious even in risotto or noodles, and they match perfectly with squash (of course!), cheese and other vegetables.

– When I prepare this batter, if I don’t have pumpkin flowers, I fry sliced zucchini, or sage leaves, or broccoli and carrots, and they all turn out amazing!

Have you ever tried pumpkin flower fritters? What do you think about it?   

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Pizzette (small pizzas): my way to use fresh bread leftovers.

I guess not every family buys fresh bread daily, but as authentic Italian, my family does. If not every day, we buy fresh bread every other day, and even if we are huge bread eaters, sometimes I have bread leftovers. Who follows me knows I hate wasting food (and I would add  “I hate wasting in general”) so when the leftover bread gets very hard I make homemade breadcrumbs out of it, but if the bread is still “halfway”, I mean, not soft anymore to be enjoyed just like that, nor hard enough to be crumbled, I use it to make a mouthwatering, fun, fast, easy “pizza like” meal that my kiddos love, that is super cheap, and that can fix an unplanned meal. If you’ll try this recipe you will be amazed by how close the taste of this “dressed bread” will be “pizza like”!    Do not be mad at me if I don’t give you precise quantities of ingredients, because you will need mozzarella cheese (and every other cheese you may like to add to your “pizzetta”) and tomatoes sauce enough to dress all your bread slices, virgin olive oil enough to enrich the sauce, and herbs to taste. In my directions I will skip the herbs because my daughters won’t eat the “pizzette” if they see tiny herbs pieces, but in my opinion  a little bit of basil and oregano gives just the perfect touch!


baked bread, a couple of days old, cut in half inch thick slices

tomatoes sauce

mozzarella cheese cut in cubes

grated parmesan

dried or fresh oregano to taste

dried or fresh basil to taste

sea salt to taste

olive oil to taste


Reheat the oven at 365 F.   In a bowl, mix a can of tomatoes sauce with sea salt, virgin olive oil, basil and oregano. Set Aside. Place the bread slices in an oven sheet (lined with parchment paper) and toast each sides of the slices for few minutes.

Cut the mozzarella in small cubes. The smaller are the cubes, the fastest they will melt. I like to add to the mozzarella also asiago cheese cubes. Take the toasted bread out of the oven and spread the slices with the tomatoes sauce mix.

Then, arrange neatly the cheese cubes on the bread slices, and dust with parmesan.

Bake in the middle rack at 365 F. for about  20 minutes or until the cheese is completely melted.

If you prefer, cut the slices in smaller pieces before serving. 

Serve still hot. 

Easy right????


TIPS: – My family love this recipe so much that sometimes I buy extra fresh bread on purpose, to have some left for making pizzette.

– Like regular pizza, you can dress the “pizzette” as you like by adding different toppings.

– I would discourage to bake the “pizzette” ahead of time: they are amazing if eaten still warm.

– As I told you, this pizzette taste a lot like real pizza: but think about how much you can save by making these instead of buying a pizza!!!

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Much thanks,



ITALIAN MERINGUES: what a cloud should taste like if we could give it a bite!


Did you know that, in Italy, the dessert which you call “meringues” are instead called Spumiglie?

Meringues,” to us Italians, are those Spumiglie stuffed with whipped cream (as you see in the picture) … a seriously delicious dessert

that you can make at home with no special tools

but a good oven… and lot of patience.

When, some time ago, I offered this dessert to one of my American friends, she told me that to her my meringues are like biting into a cloud!

And I loved this comparison because it very much fits:

they are white, and fluffy, but crunchy at the same time…. a pleasure that will met in your mouth.

Just a warning: most of the time I tell you that a recipe is easy, but this time I should warn you that even if the instructions are pretty easy to follow, the result can depend on the power of your oven and the respect of the ingredient’s quantities, and it may take more than one try before you obtain the desired result!

This dessert is the perfect present to bring along for a dinner invitation, as well as a unique and fancy offering when you host a party.


200 gr. cold egg whites (usually 6 or 7 cold eggs whites)

2 cups sugar

1 tsp lemon extract

1 box heavy whipping cream (for the filling)



An electric mixer and a container perfectly clean and free of any oils,

(I usually use a large glass jar about 9 inches diameter 15-16 inches tall (to help the whites to whip better),

but if you own a stand mixer that works perfectly)

A cake decorator


Preheat your oven at 260-270 degrees F.

Beat the egg whites inside the container until they are almost completely foamy and look glossy.

Sift in 3/4 cup of sugar and continue beating until stiff (you should obtain a compound shiny and fluffy).

Gently add the remaining 1 and 1/4 cups of sugar, stirring with a hand-whisk, plus the teaspoon of lemon extract. Be very careful not to deflate the mixture.

On a baking sheet (or two) covered with baking paper, use the cake decorator to make tufts of the mixture about 1 inch big,

being careful to maintain a certain distance from each other because during cooking they will raise.


Place the baking sheet on the middle rack of the preheated oven (260-270 degrees F) for 30-40 minutes.


Then take them out of the oven and quickly flip the Spumiglie, puncture the flat side of each one with the tip of your finger,

and put them back in the oven for another half hour, to let them cook also on the opposite side.

At this point you have got about 50 Spumiglie (but obviously the number depends on the size you have made them).


Now, whip the whipping cream, and with the help of a teaspoon pat the cream inside each Spumiglia (thanks to the hole you created before),

and then attach them in pairs to obtain MERINGUES!


Keep the meringues in the refrigerator, and take them out just before you serve (or eat) them!

You won’t believe how good this dessert is, and once you’ve made it, I’m sure you will repeat the recipe very often!!!




– If well-cooked, the Spumiglie can be stored in a tin can or glass jar for up to a month.  Of course, once stuffed with whipped cream, it’s advisable to consume them within a day or two.  So I recommend to stuff the Spumiglie only in   the desired amount and store the extras for later (perhaps for making a delicious MERINGATA).

– You’ll know if your Spumiglie turned out or not when, chewing them, they should not be chewy inside, but crispy and fragrant.

– When my mother makes Spumiglie, she turns on the oven in the convection function, lets them cook for the first 5 minute with the oven door closed, and for the rest of the time with the oven door cracked opened. I’m telling you this because I really hope you will not be discouraged if, the first time you attempt this recipe, it doesn’t result as expected! The secret to perfect meringues is that they have to cook slowly, so they become crunchy also in the inside.