What’s the perfect sweet treat to follow up a delicious Italian dinner?
If your thoughts jump to tiramisu or gelato, you’re not alone.
Perhaps the most popular Italian desserts served in most American Italian restaurants—and perhaps the most delicious!—gelato and tiramisu lead in even the number of recipes posted online for “real” Italian desserts. Following in a close second place are biscotti and panna cotta.
But there are plenty of other sweet treats that have been giving Italians an after-dinner pick-me-up for years. To give you a taste and get your mouth watering, here are the 10 you should try next.
This Sicilian pastry means “little tubes,” referring to the flaky, fried tubes of pastry dough which are then filled with creams. Most often containing ricotta or mascarpone, the cream is sweet and sometimes has things like cherries, chocolate, pistachios, or candied orange peels added for extra flavor and texture.
2. Torta Caprese
This dense cake mad of chocolate and ground almonds or walnuts is often found on American restaurant menus disguised as a flourless chocolate tart. The traditional Italian version is made with just three ingredients—the ground nuts, chocolate, and egg whites—and is often covered with a dusting of powdered sugar for decoration.
These shell-shaped pastries are delicate and crusty, thanks to the many layers of stacked pastry dough that constitute them. They are often stuffed with fillings such as marzipan, candied lemon peels, or flavored ricotta.
Zeppole are Italian doughnuts. These deep-fried fritter balls are usually topped with powdered sugar. Sometimes they are filled with jellies, creams, or custards.
5. Lingue di Gato
Literally meaning “cat tongue,” these cookies are long and slightly rounded—just like cat’s tongue. Made of what is essentially a butter cookie dough, they are served up plain or dipped in chocolate.
If gelato is Italy’s ice cream, then granita is its sorbet. This partly frozen dessert is made of sugar, water, and flavorings, skipping the addition of dairy. It has a coarse texture thanks to the ice being scraped or shaved before the water and flavoring are added.
Basically an Italian tart or pie, crostata is usually topped with fruit. The tart is thinner than an American pie, with thick chunks of bubbling fruit on the inside.
There are also savory crostata, but usually they are filled with apricots, berries, cherries, or stone fruits such as nectarines or peaches. It is important to note that the earliest crostatas seem to have been baked in Naples, just like Neapolitan pizza.
Semifreddo literally means “partially frozen.” A semifreddo can be an ice cream cake or a partly frozen custard. It is usually made with equal parts ice cream and whipped cream, and might or might not have a crust.
9. Pasta ciotti
These personal-sized custard tarts are filled with cream, custard, or chocolate. They are usually no larger than 3-inches in size, which means you can eat one or more than one!
Pizzelle are like Italian waffles, but they are also cookies. Made in a decorative press, they can be soft or crisp. They are typically flavored with anise, but can also be made with lemon or vanilla flavoring.
This is by no means an all-inclusive list, but it should get your sweet tooth going. Then head down to Vero Amore for some classic favorites, such as our homemade panna cotta, our delightful canollis, our tried-and-true tiramisu, or some of our seasonal gelato.