Tag Archives: dessert

Biscotti (including tozzetti, cantucci)

25 Jan


There are many ways to make biscotti. The defining characteristic is that they are cooked twice (bis = twice; cotti = cooked), first baked in a loaf, slices of which are then gently toasted to dry.

They go by various names, and with many variations, in different parts of Italy. The almond and lemon ones here are similar to the tozzetti or cantucci dunked into Vin Santo, especially in central Italy. Some of my favourite biscotti are lightly flavoured with anise, though I haven’t tried to make these (yet). For tozzetti, cut the slices thicker than what you see here, up to 1cm thick.

Here I give the recipe for two different flavours – almond- lemon or hazelnut-chocolate. The almond variety are best suited to dunking in Vin Santo, or with a cup of tea, while the the hazelnut and chocolate go better with coffee or darker liqueurs. For special occasions I like to make a batch of each.

I will occasionally bring these to meetings when it’s my turn to bring the snacks.

You get a clearer sense of how to make biscotti with the visuals, I think, so this recipe has an unusually high number of pictures. The specifics of getting the skin off hazelnuts, and the shaping and cutting of the pastries is better conveyed in photography than in verbal description.


Continue reading


Cassata – Italian ice-cream cake

14 Apr

My family was not big on desserts. Even at the big annual feasts like Easter, Christmas, or New Year, dessert would usually be a small bowl of (home) tinned peaches with a scoop of ice-cream – or perhaps a trifle brought by one of the Anglo-Australian in-laws.

To my mind (or perhaps it’s to my sweet tooth), there are certain occasions that call for something more elaborate, more celebratory. It comes, no doubt, from the Anglo-Australian influence. This Easter (just two weeks ago), I decided to add something to the gnocchi and rabbit (rabbit recipe forthcoming) that have become a bit of a tradition in our home. I remembered, during my three months in Italy as a ten year old, that I became a little obsessed with individual serves of an Italian ice-cream cake called cassata that the local shop sold. Every few years my thoughts will return to cassata, and I’ll vaguely wonder where I might get one before being distracted by my life. This year, I decided to make one. The results were remarkably good, so I’m sharing the recipe.


Continue reading