Desserts Recipes of Typical Florence Cooking

Tiramisù = Pick me up! 

This famous dessert is very easy to make and absolutely delicious! Before writing this recipe I had a look in internet. I found many recipes, there was somebody who wrote to prepare tiramisu with sherry and cocoa (horrible!!!) How may he think in Italy we have coconut palm? Anyway everybody may put in his own cake what one likes more, but please, don’t call it “Tiramisù”
Well for a good Tiramisù:

  • Coffee
  • Sugar (6 spoons)
  • Eggs (3)
  • Mascarpone cheese (250 grams)
  • Sponge bisquits (one box)
  • Bitter chocolat (powder or bar – bar is better)

Prepare a good strong Italian coffee if you have a moka coffee maker, use it (medium size)
Place the biscuits into a rectangular pie dish, pour the coffee on the biscuits, they must have all the same brown colour.
Now prepare the cream: you need two bowls; in the first one mix the yolks and the sugar with an electric whisk until the cream is well soft, add the mascarpone cheese and mix again.
In the second bowl whisk eggs-whites stiff.
Now add in the first bowl the egg whites but do not use the electric whisk anymore, use a fork and move it up and down to mix the cream with the eggs-white. Always when you mix the egg-white use this system, you’ll avoid the mixture go runny.
Spread this mixture over the biscuits. (you could do this twice, place bisquits again and spread more mixture) I prefer one single level.
Put the Tiramisù into the refrigerator, before serving, grate the chocolate bar over it.

Castagnaccio = Chestnut cake

  • Chestnuts flour (400 grams)
  • Raisins
  • Pine nuts
  • Sugar (2 spoons)
  • Rosemary
  • Olive oil
  • Water (1/2 lt)

Place the flour and the sugar into a bowl, mix slowly with the water so heat you get a soft not lumpy batter. Let it covered for about 30 minutes. Oil a rectangular baking tin and spread the batter (it must be not more than 2 cm high) sprinkle with pine nuts, raisins (got soaked) and some leaves of rosemary, at last with olive oil (2 spoons).
Bake for 20 minutes.

Schiacciata con l’uva = Flat savoury cake with grapes

  • Black grape (canaiolo) 1 kg.
  • Dough (500 grams)
  • Sugar (150 grams)
  • Olive oil

Knead the dough with your hands adding 4 spoons of olive oil and 50 grams of sugar. On a dredged with flour table, spread half of the dough and place it into a baking tin, place over it half grapes and 4 spoons of sugar. Cover all with the dough, place the remaining grapes and sugar, a little olive oil. Bake for 30 minutes

Schiacciata alla fiorentina = Flat savoury florentine cake

  • Flour (300 grams)
  • Sugar (150 grams)
  • Butter (100 grams)
  • One egg
  • a little milk
  • one orange
  • vanilla
  • baking powder
  • saffron
  • A little salt
  • icing sugar

Shake the egg and the sugar, add the melted butter, the vanilla, the baking powder, the orange juice and also the grated orange peel, half glass of milk and a very little salt. Mix very well and then add the flour. Grease a rectangular baking tin ( about 30 x 22 cm). Bake 30 minutes (180°). When the schiacciata is tepid sprinkle with icing sugar

Zuccotto fiorentino = Florentine zuccotto

This cake is an ancient cake it seems to be prepared the first time by the famous architect Bernardo Buontalenti (1536 – 1508)
You can buy it in pastry shops and you can also try this recipe:

  • Ready sponge cake (200 grams)
  • Whipped cream (250)
  • Ricotta (cottage cheese) 300 grams
  • One bar of bitter chocolate
  • Icy (confectioners’) sugar
  • Bitter cacao (powder) 30 grams
  • Liquors (mix)

Whip the cream in a bowl, add the sugar, the ricotta and mix well; divide the mixture into two parts, mince in little pieces the bitter chocolate bar and add it in one of the two parts (you can also add candied fruit). Into the second part mix the cacao powder.
Cut the sponge cake in rectangular slices (5 x 10 x 2 cm) and soak them with licors (strega, or sweet licors), line with the slices a mould for zuccotto or even a bowl, coat all with the black cream, in the centre put the white cream, cover all with more slices of soaked sponge cake. Keep into the refrigerator several hours. You can also us the freezer but you have to take out the cake one hour before eating.

Frittelle di riso / semolino = Rice / semolina fritters

In Florence we prepare these fancy cakes in winter, in carnival period and mainly on March 19h (St. Joseph, which here it is the dad’s day)

  • Rice (5 cups) (or semolina)
  • Milk (10 cups)
  • Sugar
  • Flour (2 or 3 spoons)
  • Eggs (3)
  • Peanut oil (1,500 lt)
  • Baking powder (one tea spoon)
  • Lemon peel

The day before or some hours before, in a pot boil the rice (the cheapest rice you find - easy to cook) or the semolina, the milk, 3 or 4 spoons of sugar and the lemon peel (without the white part). You’ll have a hard mixture take off the lemon peel. When this mixture is cold add the yolks, whisk egg whites and add them if necessary add also the flour. Mix all. Put the oil in a deep frying pan when it is frying, witth two tea spoons, place a little part of the mixture into the oil and fry them until they are brown. Dry the fritters on a paper. Put some common sugar into a little bowl, roll into the sugar the fritters and place them on a tray. They are good both warm and cold.

Cenci = Rags florentine cookies

These simple cookies have their name because they are very similar to old rags. In some villages they are also called: “bangs” and “nuns’ chats” In Tuscany we usually prepare these cookies in winter in carnival period.

  • Flour (300 grams)
  • Sugar (50 grams)
  • 2 eggs
  • Butter (30 grams)
  • Vin Santo or Brandy
  • Orange or lemon peel
  • Icing sugar
  • Oil

Mix and knead the flour, the eggs, the sugar, the butter e little glass of liqueur and one little spoon of grated orange peel. Knead accurately until you have a smooth pasty. Roll out the pasty in irregular pieces, lozenge etc.
Fry the pieces in very hot oil (I use peanut oil). Put the fried pieces on a paper and then in a plate, sprinkle with icing sugar.

Copate = Copate florentine biscuits

  • Honey (200 grams)
  • Sugar (200 grams)
  • Almonds (with no peel – 200 grams)
  • Shelled walnuts (50 grams)
  • 3 egg whites
  • Wafers

In a pot boil together the honey and the sugar, when they are boiling, ad slowly the stiff whisked egg whites and mix. Take off from the fire. Mince a little the almonds and the walnuts and mix all to the syrup. Place two spoons of the mixture between two wafers and press
The copate must be half centimetre high.

Fiorentini = Florentine biscuit

  • Almonds (with no peel – 300 grams)
  • Sugar (300 grams)
  • Cocoa powder (150 grams)
  • 4 egg whites

Mince the almonds and into a bowl mix them with the sugar and the cocoa powder, at last add the stiff whisked egg whites. Mix carefully. On a greasy hot plate place little heaps (two spoons each) of the mixture and bake for 15 minutes (180 °)

 

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