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Traditional Italian Christmas Desserts

No Italian Christmas would be complete without one or more traditional Christmas desserts.   Here are a few favorites.
Zuppa Inglese
Zuppa Inglese consists of layers of cake that are brushed wth a rum and jam mixture, alternately layered in a glass bowl with vanilla and chocolate pastry cream and topped with sweetened whipped cream and fruit.

Zuppa Inglese Recipe  >>
Struffoli
Pizzelle
Sicilian Christmas Fig Cake - Buccellato
Chestnut Tortelli
Baby Jesus' Pillows
Apostles' Fingers
Sweet Ricotta Crepes
Venetian
Layered Cookies
Grispelle
Christmas Doughnuts
Pandoro
Panettone
Parrozzo
Seasonal Biscotti
Befana Cake
A pizzelle is a traditional Italian waffle cookie that is made by placing batter into a pizzelle maker, which resembles a waffle iron.   The result is a thin golden-brown cookie, which has a crisp texture once it is cooled.

Pizzelle Recipes  >>
Struffoli is a traditional Neapolitan Christmas dessert made from small puffs of  citrus-flavored dough that are crunchy on the outside and soft inside.  The fried balls are dipped in honey and dusted with multi-colored candy sprinkles.
A fig and nut filled ring called a buccellato heralds Christmas in Sicily.  Buccellato is also given by godparents to their godchild and family on the christening day.

Fig Cake Recipe  >>
Chestnut Tortelli are made with a pastry dough that is filled with a mixture of ground chestnuts, rum, cinnamon,and chocolate. 

Chestnut Tortelli Recipe  >>
These crepes are flourless, light, and aromatic.  The filling is similar to a cannoli filling.

Apostles' Fingers Recipe  >>
These festively colored cookies are made with 3 layers of cake with  a rich almond flavor, separated by sweet apricot jam, and topped with chocolate icing.

Venetian Layered Cookies Recipe  >>
Grispelle are fried potato doughnuts which come from Calabria where they are a special Christmas treat. 
You can use white potatoes or sweet potatoes in this recipe.

Grispelle Recipe  >>
Pandoro or pan d’oro means ‘golden bread.’   It is a traditional Christmas cake from Verona that gets its name due to its pleasing yellow color.

Pandoro Recipe  >>
Panettone, the tall, cylindrical, fruit-filled sweet bread from Milan has become an essential part of the Christmas season.

Panettone Recipe >>
Parrozzo is a traditional Christmas cake from the Abruzzo region of Italy.  The classic dome-shaped almond cake is flavored with citrus zest and topped with a rich chocolate glaze.

Parrozzo Recipe  >>
Delight in the special flavors and aromas of the holiday season with our seasonal biscotti recipes ... pumpkin, cranberry, gingerbread, and chocolate-peppermint.

Seasonal Biscotti Recipes  >>
Befana Cake is traditionally made for the Feast of the Three Kings.  The cake is presented on a crown and whoever receives the slice with a bean is king (or queen) for the day.

Befana Cake Recipe  >>
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MOST POPULAR DESSERTS
Cannoli
Cookies
Cream Puffs
Gelato
Granita
Italian Cream Cake
Italian Rum Cake
Pasta Ciotti
Pizzelle
Sfogliatelle 
Tiramisu
Zabaglione
Zeppole

Natale, or Christmas, is a very special holiday throughout Italy and each region has its own traditional dishes.  Natale is one of the few occasions of the year in which ancestral traditions are revered above all else.  What will be eaten during the feast is a kind of ritual.  Very often each course is prepared more or less in the same way it has been for generations.  Mothers, sisters, aunts, and cousins get together to make these foods in assembly line fashion. These are the key ingredients that make these foods so special ... the togetherness, the stories and laughter, the reconnecting with and preserving of the past ... a time to celebrate. 
Panforte
( Panforte di Siena)
Panforte, or Siena Cake, is a traditional Italian Christmas dessert that is made with honey, nuts, chocolate, spices, and dried fruit.

Panforte Recipe  >>
Gubana
Cake from Fruili
Gubana is a spiral cake filled with a mixture of dried fruit, nuts, and spices. It is related to strudel, babka, and other Slavic, Czech, and Eastern European pastries.

Gubana Recipe  >>
Gingerbread Pizzelle
This is a traditional Italian pizzelle recipe with the warm winter spices of gingerbread added.

Gingerbread Pizzelle Recipe  >>
Italian Rainbow Cake
This tri-colored cake is inspired by the classic Italian rainbow cookies.  It looks and tastes like the cookies but this time it's a giant cake.

Italian Rainbow Cake Recipe  >>
Italian Cookie Recipes
A large selection of Italian cookie recipes for Christmas or any time of the year.

Italian Cookie Recipes  >>
Apostles' Fingers (Sweet Ricotta Crepes)
Befana Cake
Chestnut Tortelli (aka Baby Jesus' Pillows)
Grispelle - Italian Christmas Doughnuts
Buccellato - Sicilian Christmas Fig Cake
Pumpkin Biscotti
Pizzelle
Parrozzo - Chocolate Covered Almond Cake from Abruzzo
Panforte (Panforte di Siena)
Panettone - Traditional Italian Christmas Bread from Milan
Pandoro: The traditional Christmas bread from Verona
Gubana
BUON NATALE
Zuppa Inglese
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CAKE LIFTER
An authentic guide to the mouthwatering sweets of Southern Italy, including regional specialties that are virtually unknown in this country as well as variations on more popular desserts.
SOUTHERN ITALIAN DESSERTS
GIFTS FOR THE ITALIAN COOK
MINI BUFFETS
If you're short on space you can still entertain big by setting up mini buffets throughout your house.  Find 3 great locations in your house to serve each item on your menu.  Serve the turkey on a kitchen island, side dishes on a table in the living room, and the desserts on a rolling cart tucked into a corner.  This will keep guests moving from one place to the next and mingling with others along the way.
GREAT VALUE
If you frost cakes regularly you want to ensure that an extra-nice frosting job is done.  The advantage of having a revolving cake stand is that it gives you easy access to all sides of the cake for frosting.  The cake leveler insures perfectly even cake layers and the cake spatulas allow you to achieve super-smooth edges on both the crumb coat and final layer.
COOKIE BAKING TOOLS
Electric Mixer
Many of our cookie recipes begin with whisking the dry ingredients, then creaming the butter and sugar.  Creaming is the act of beating room temperature butter with sugar until pale and fluffy.  For this you will need an electric mixer. If you're an avid baker, we recommend using a stand mxer, as it blends more evenly and quickly than a hand mixer. Use the paddle attachment for creaming and the whisk for whipped cream or meringue.
Wire Racks
Also known as cooling racks, they allow air to circulate around baked cookies. They are also useful when decorating, as they allow excess icing or melted chocolate to drip off the cookies onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper for easy cleanup.  Choose a rectangular rack that will sit comfortably on your baking sheets.
Parchment Paper and
Silicone Baking Mats
Many cookie recipes recommend lining your baking sheets with parchemnt or silicone baking mats. Parchment is better for crisp-bottomed cookies such as Canestrelli but a mat is good for thin, delicate cookies such as Lace Cookies.  To clean a mat, simply wipe it with a damp sponge and dry it directly on the rack in a warm oven for a few minutes.
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