Best Desserts In Rome: 7 Sweet Spots Not to Be Missed
Dessert-lovers in search of a gastronomic heaven will find their slice of paradise in Rome . Home to not just savory goodness from pasta and pizza, but also a myriad of best desserts that will surely leave the inner sweet tooth satisfied.
There is an incredible array of best dessert places, pastry shops, and bakeries in Rome that will definitely excite enthusiastic foodies keen on embarking on an Italian sweet treats culinary exploration, leaving them spoilt for choice.
No one wants to complain about having too many desserts, but there are only so many sweet treats that someone can stomach. You will have no regrets when you feast on the best, so be sure to make a stopover at these seven spots offering some of the best desserts in Rome.
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1. Pastiera Napoletana
Originating from Naples, the pastiera Napoletana is an Italian tart made with eggs, boiled wheat and ricotta cheese. The crisp pastry of this dessert hides a soft stuffing in a shade of golden yellow. Classic versions of the pastiera Napoletana are flavored with cinnamon and orange flower water, while modern twists to the original version incorporate unique flavors.
Try it: Savour this dessert in the most authentic way with BonAppetour’s Italian host, Simona – a slice is sure to leave you yearning for more! As a home chef, she enjoys whipping up regional Italian dishes and taking her guests on a culinary journey to Napoli.
Find out what is Simona up to in her own kitchen now: Pastiera Napoletana with Host Simona
Mmm… the tiramisu . We could go on forever about this delicate dessert that one can never get enough of – how its soft creaminess melts in your mouth, and how the hint of liqueur adds a kick to its rich coffee flavor.The cake, made from ladyfinger biscuits dipped in coffee, is layered with a filling made of eggs, sugar, and mascarpone cheese. It is definitely a crowd pleaser!
Try it: We are quite sure that you do not just want to hear all about how good this dessert tastes – Learn the recipe and try it for yourself when you dine with our host Francesca in Rome! Apart from desserts, she loves hosting and preparing traditional Italian meals for her guests. She believes that the wide variety of Italian food reflects her country’s cultures, dialects and heritage, which she is so passionate about.
Find out what is Francesca up to in her own kitchen now: Tiramisu with host Francesca
3. Sweet Salami with Hazelnut Cream
A glance at this dessert from afar, and one might be fooled into thinking that this log-shaped treat is a smoked meat meant to be served alongside a platter of savory cheeses. Peer closely, and you will find that slices of this dessert are colored in a deep, chocolate-brown hue, and studded with light brown flecks. Rome travelers who do not want to miss out on this.
Try it: Sample this intriguing treat will have your sugar cravings satisfied at a sumptuous dinner with our BonAppetour host, Alessandro ! Experienced as a host, he is known to whip up a wide variety of dishes and desserts that will satisfy everyone’s craving. Did we mention that he serves wine at his dinners too?
Find out what is Alessandro up to in his own kitchen now: Sweet Salami with Hazelnut Cream at Alessandro’s
Rome travelers with a love for icy treats must not miss out on making a stop by Fata Morgana . Located in the neighborhood of Salario-Trieste, vacation makers will find the store situated along a street from the popular Villa Ada park.
Gelato lovers who are adamant about sticking to traditional flavors will not be disappointed with the classic choices available at Fata Morgana, for you cannot go wrong with chocolate or pistachio and cream. Those with an adventurous palate will be keen to try a range of exotic flavors, such as a refreshing mojito mint and lime, tart blueberry cheesecake and intriguing-sounding rice pudding gelato.
Gelato from Fata Morgana does not only taste good – it is also made with wholesome ingredients. No colorings, gluten or chemicals are used in making its selection of top-quality gelatos.
Find out more now: Gelato at Fata Morgana
5. Ricotta Cannoli
Looking for a dessert to complete your meal? Everyone in Rome has to try this traditional Sicilian pastry dessert – Cannoli. The tube-shaped shells of the cannoli are made from frying pastry dough, before being filled with a sweet ricotta cream. The Ricotta Cannoli at I Dolci di Nonna Vincenza has proven to be a huge hit with locals and travelers. It is not overly sweet and the crisps of the pastry complement the dessert just nicely. Made in bite-sized portions, one is never enough.
Nestled in the corner by the road, the store is located at a perfect spot for anyone looking for a small snack while traveling around. So, be sure to make this place one of your must-try stops.
Find out more now: Ricotta Cannoli at I Dolci di Nonna Vincenza
6. Torta Caprese
Chocoholics will find their slice of paradise at Said . Located in the San Lorenzo district of Rome, this chocolate bar has a longstanding history. Starting out as a chocolate factory dating back to 1923, Said has not stopped producing a fine selection of decadent treats ever since.
Be sure not to miss out on savoring a slice of delicious Torta Caprese , a rich cake made from chocolate and almonds. Do leave some space in your dessert stomach to savor the variety of truffles and torrones sold at the store.
Find out more now: Torta Caprese at Said
We are not quite sure if we would call the cornetto a dessert. A popular breakfast item among the Italians, the cornetto is the Italian variation of a croissant. Compared to the french variety, the cornetto is less buttery and flaky and has a greater density. This simple and delicious treat comes in many forms – it may be dusted with a sprinkling of sugar, glazed with a sticky syrup, or stuffed with Nutella, pastry cream or marmalade.
Travelers in Rome in search of a lovely cornetto to kick start their mornings should make a stop by Caffè Barberini . Do not let the nondescript setting of the cafe fool you, for it serves up one of the best cornettos in the city. Be sure it enjoy this delight the Italian way – order a plain cornetto, and dunk it into your cappuccino. Yum.
Find out more now: Cornetto at Caffè Barberini
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Where to find the best dessert in Rome
BY Chloe Gale
Last updated . 18 February 2020
Italy is home to the some of the world’s most decadent foods – and dessert is no exception.
Creamy Italian gelato and classic cannoli are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Italian desserts available for your consumption…
Rome is a plethora of sweet
The below list sifts through the best nooks, hole-in-the-wall dessert bars and fine dining restaurants to experience the sweet side of Roma.
An Italian ice-cream, made of whole milk, sugar and egg yolks, paired with a wide range of flavours (think traditional, more than a few seasonal and even some experimental).
Gelateria Del Teatro
Gelateria Del Teatro is one of three gelaterias owned by Stefano and Silvia Marcotulli in Rome, and is home to (arguably) the best gelato in the city.
A heavenly hole in the wall
Featuring a delightful frontage of hanging pot plants and crates of produce visible through a glass window, and situated on a cobblestone street in true Roman fashion, this establishment is true to its heritage. This also extends to the flavours represented on the menu: including traditional cottage cheese gelato, with either sour cherries and butter crumble or almond and fig.
The ‘laboratory’ out the back of their main gelateria also offers a few inventive flavours. Try the ‘white chocolate and basil’ for a surprisingly delicious combo, the ‘Amalfi lemon’ made with organic lemons from the Amalfi coast or the ‘Grandma Cream’ boasting Italian caramel pine nuts.
Address: Via dei Coronari, 65/66
A stone’s throw from the Pantheon, and not too far from the Trevi Fountain, this gelateria is a convenient excuse to stop and reenergise before getting back into tourist mode.
Italian accents adorn the interiors, with marble floors, wooden panelling and chandeliers aplenty.
Italian architecture at its best
The main feature, however, is the gelato.
Creamy, cold and creative are the best words to describe it. And with flavours like yoghurt, whisky cream, walnut and coconut there is every reason to get yourself to Giolitti (maybe on the way to the Pantheon and on the way back?).
Address: Via degli Uffici del Vicario, 40, Rome
Other honourable mentions include Fatamorgana, Gelateria Fassi and the local favourite La Neviera.
A classic dessert made from savoiardi, or ladyfingers – biscuits doused in coffee (and sometimes also rum) – layered with mascarpone and fresh egg custard dusted with chocolate powder.
A classic Italian trattoria, Da Enzo serves a range of Italian delicacies. Try the fried artichoke and the fettuccini with pecorino cheese and pepper, but, whatever you do, save room for a tiramisu dessert.
One of Rome’s most charming dessert stops
Served, simply, in a curved glass, this tiramisu is void of the superfluous flair that often attracts tourists – but boy is it delicious. Creamy and sweet, with a hit of coffee and mascarpone that begs you to take another bite.
You have the option to share, but I wouldn’t suggest it.
Address: Via dei Vascellari, 29, Rome
Dedicated to the Italian delicacy, this is the best place in Rome for both traditional, and quirky, tiramisu desserts.
Zum is dedicated to the Italian delicacy
You cannot go past the original (with only a layer of hazelnuts deviating from the traditional recipe), but if you are feeling a little experimental try the pistachio-, strawberry- or rum-flavoured tiramisu.
Like us, these guys are obsessed with the dessert, to the point of a new creation – the tiramisu cookie.
You can eat in, at the stylish, bar-like establishment, or grab-and-go, savouring the flavour as you meander the old streets of Rome.
Address: Piazza del Teatro di Pompeo 20, 00186, Rome.
A crescent-shaped pastry, similar to the French croissant (but the Italians argue it’s better!).
Antico Forno Roscioli
This is your one-stop-shop for the humble cornetto. With a crisp pastry exterior, and the slightly sweet, slightly chewy middle, this is the best in Rome. You can have your cornetti plain, or filled with jam, cream or Nutella – best enjoyed between sips of a cappuccino before the morning rush.
Address: Via dei Chiavari, 34, Rome
Also try out the cornetti at Pasticceria Barberini, for an equally delicious breakfast.
A sweet, tube-shaped, pastry filled with sweet, creamy ricotta filling.
I Dolci Di Nonna Vincenza
Nonna is the namesake of this restaurant and it shows.
Hailing from Sicily – home of the cannoli – the owners of I Dolci Di Nonna Vincenza know how to make an authentic cannoli. Try the traditional ricotta cream filling, dipped in pistachio dust, sprinkled with icing sugar – yum!
Address: Via dell’Arco del Monte, 98/A/B, Rome
Hailed as the best cannoli joint in Rome (by the locals no less!), Ciuri Ciuri is the destination for value, flavour and fresh pastry.
Locals know this place as the best cannoli joint in Rome
The house favourite is the pistachio cream cannoli, best served with one end dipped in crushed pistachios and the other in chocolate chips (although you do get a choice of several toppings). Chocolate chip cream, mascarpone cream and chocolate hazelnut filling are other honourable mentions for an unforgettable cannoli experience in the city’s Monti district.
Address: Via Leonina, 18/20, Rome
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Best Dessert in Rome, Italy
Dessert in rome, establishment type, online options, traveler rating, dietary restrictions, restaurant features, neighborhood.
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Italian Desserts to Eat in Rome
The 9 best sweets and desserts to try in rome.
Even if you do not have a sweet tooth it is hard to resist the wonderful sugary treats on offer in Rome. Whether it’s a warm cornetto for breakfast in the morning, a post-lunch gelato fix or a decadent dessert after dinner, Rome’s selection of cookies, pastries, cakes, and puddings can put a smile on your face at any time of day.
Take a look at the Local Aromas list of not-to-be-missed sweets and desserts to eat in Rome:
Maritozzo con la Panna
A one-time staple breakfast pastry, maritozzi are not as easy to find as they once were, but if you hit the jackpot and find them for sale then do not miss the opportunity. A sweet, soft bun made with or without dried fruit which is split open and decadently crammed with whipped cream. A fabulous way to start your day.
The Romans’ breakfast item of choice looks like a croissant but is made with more sugar and less butter than its French counterpart. The best cornetti are soft inside with a touch of crunch on the outside and should be eaten as fresh as possible, so buy them still warm from the oven from one of Rome’s pastry shops. Try them either semplice (plain) or filled with jam, custard, or chocolate.
Brutti ma Buoni
These moreish cookies might have originated in the town of Prato in Tuscany but they can easily be found in Roman bakeries. The mixture of baked egg whites with hazelnuts creates a chewy, crunchy texture somewhere between a meringue and a macaron, and the admittedly unappetizing appearance gives them their perfectly appropriate name which translates as ugly but good .
The perfect tira mi su (pick-me-up) of coffee, sugar, and cocoa, tiramisù is one of the most iconic Italian desserts . The creamy mascarpone is paired with a kick of caffeine for the classic version, but nowadays more creative variations can be found using fresh fruit, ginger or even a thick layer of Nutella.
Literally meaning ‘cooked cream’, panna cotta is a staple item on most dessert menus in Italy. The texture should be light and creamy with just the right amount of ‘wobble’. Panna cotta is usually served with fresh berries, chocolate, or caramel.
Tartufo al Cioccolato
Named after a tartufo or truffle thanks to its resemblance to the prized underground mushroom, tartufo is actually a wickedly delicious dessert made from chocolate gelato coated in cocoa and served with a generous dollop of whipped cream.
Known to most of the world as biscotti, tozzetti is the local Roman term for these hard, twice-baked cookies studded with nuts (also called cantucci in other areas of Italy). Order tozzetti at the end of a meal along with a sweet wine such as passito or vin santo and dip them in to soften them before devouring.
Crostata Ricotta e Visciole
This traditional cake is a Roman Jewish recipe which consists of a pastry case enclosing layers of airy, sweetened ricotta and a sharp, sour jam made from a type of black cherry called visciole . It can be found throughout Rome but for the best, most authentic version head to the Jewish Ghetto area of town.
Any time of day is a good time for gelato . Rain or shine the locals will brighten up their day with a couple of scoops at their favorite gelateria . The perfect portable dessert, gelato never tastes better than when it is eaten in the beautiful piazzas and back streets of Rome. But watch out for sub-standard gelato which is sadly prevalent around the more touristic areas of the city.
For more foodie tips and recommendations, head over to the Local Aromas blog and watch our foodie video series .
© 2019 Local Aromas S.R.L. – Viale Giulio Cesare, 223 - 00192 Rome, Italy – P. IVA 13768231006 - Acknowledgement
The 50 best sweets spots in Rome
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1 Regoli Pasticceria
2 Biscottificio Artigiano Innocenti
3 Said Since 1923
4 Pompi Tiramisù
5 cristalli di zucchero, 7 le levain roma, 8 forno campo de 'fiori, 9 corner pizza.
10 Pasticceria Boccione
11 ciuri ciuri, 12 sant' eustachio il caffè, 13 roscioli salumeria con cucina, 14 i dolci di nonna vincenza, 15 two sizes.
18 Panificio Bonci
20 il maritozzaro, 21 forno del ghetto.
22 Pasticceria Barberini
23 pasticceria linari, 24 pasticceria bompiani, 25 dagnino pastry shop and café, 26 fatamorgana, 27 come il latte.
28 Fatamorgana Monti
29 gelateria del teatro, 30 gelateria dei gracchi, 31 old bridge gelateria, 33 pasticceria andreotti dal 1931.
34 Fatamorgana Corso
35 bonci pizzarium, 36 antico forno roscioli, 37 fatamorgana chiavari, 38 roscioli caffè pasticceria, 39 frigidarium, 40 faro - luminaries of coffee, 41 la casa del caffè tazza d'oro, 42 gelateria la romana, 43 ginger - spagna, 44 bar santeo, 45 antico caffè greco, 46 marigold roma, 47 grezzo raw chocolate, 48 bakery house - ponte milvio, 49 bakery house - corso trieste, 50 pasticceria 5 lune, top searches in rome, popular road trips from rome, what's the weather like in rome .
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Best sweets in nearby cities
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25 Best Desserts you must try out in Rome
Sure, the pizza, pasta, and all the savoury eatables are super yum. But a trip to Rome is simply incomplete if you do not try the iconic desserts that the city has to offer. Follow this list of handpicked sweet delights to get yourself a sweet-dish experience like no other.
Tiramisu is an authentic Italian classic dessert that hits you in the right spot. Savoiardi biscuits doused in coffee, layers of grand Mascarpone cheese, and rich cocoa powder dusted on top — a dessert really cannot get any better than this.
2. Crostata Di Ricotta E Visciole
This is a type of pie that is wildly popular in Rome. Starring elements such as the soft Ricotta cheese and the sharp visciole (or cherry), this dessert has the perfect amount of sweetness which appeals to even those who do not particularly like sweet dishes.
Also known as Cantucci, Biscotti is the Italian variety of almond biscuits. This treat is originally from the Tuscan city of Prato. Biscotti are twice-baked, have an oblong shape and a great crunchy texture. Pair it with a drink, especially Vin Santo, and you have yourself an enjoyable evening snack.
4. Torta Di Mele
Torta di Mele essentially refers to an apple pie that is in the form of a cake. Although the basic flavours are native to England, Rome adopted this divinely sweet item and tweaked it with soft, juicy apples with a fantastic consistency that is all too similar to a custard.
5. Crostata Di Visciole
This is basically Crostata di Ricotta e Visciole, minus the ricotta cheese. Visciole is a variety of cherries that is tiny, really sour, and somewhat translucent. Even in Rome, these cherries aren’t available in abundance, so finding a Crostata di Visciole can be pretty tricky. But when you do find it, it would definitely be worth it.
Commonly served as an accompaniment to beverages such as coffee, hot chocolate, or tea, Pasticcini is an assortment of desserts. Derived from the term for dough or pasta, this dish features fine pastries such as variations of cream puffs, creamed horns, fruit tarts, and so on.
Gelato shops, or Gelateries as they are called, can be found in every corner of Italy. They are raging popular, mainly because they experiment with remarkably interesting flavors. Believe it or not, Tiramisu, rum raisin, raspberry and cream, sesame-banana, rice-vanilla, banana-lime are only some of the very many unique combinations you can try.
8. Granita Al Caffe
The name of this dish can be roughly translated as Coffee Granita. Granita is a semi-frozen dessert made from sugar, ice, and additional flavors. Italians love to experiment with Granita by venturing into combinations such as lemon, chocolate, fig, etc. Granita al Caffe is one such product, featuring coffee-flavored Granita with a luxurious topping of whipped cream and the accompaniment of sweet buns.
Torrone, locally known as Turron, is a nougat confection that is quite popular in Rome. Featuring ingredients such as honey, sugar, egg whites, and toasted almonds, this dish is often served in the form of a cake.
Millefoglie, or Mille Feuille, literally translates to “thousand sheets.” Also known as Napoleon, or Vanilla Slice, this is a classic dessert revolving around extremely thin puff pastry and rich cream filling. It is flaky, airy, and feather-light despite having fat layers of cream and jam.
Cannoli is a traditional Sicilian treat and is so yum that it can be found easily throughout Italy. It is a pastry that has a tube-like shape. Filled with sweet ricotta and chocolate chip, or at times, candied fruits, it is dusted with powdered sugar as a classic sweet finale.
Fair warning- once you taste this highly indulgent dessert, there is absolutely no turning back. A literal heaven for chocolate lovers, Tartufo consists of ice cream that is hand-rolled and generously covered in cocoa powder, giving it a cool, rustic look. You can find Tartufo to be either featuring dark chocolate or white chocolate.
13. Torta Caprese
If there exists a separate paradise for chocolate lovers, it probably resembles the iconic Torta Caprese of Italy. This is an amazingly rich dessert in the form of chocolate and almond cake. It is so moist and chocolatey that merely the first bite would make you forget all of your sorrows.
A close cousin of the Parisian Croissant, Cornetto is a quirky dish highly popular as a breakfast item in Italy. It is nice and dense and has quite a few varieties- dusted with sugar, glazed with sticky sweet syrup, or stuffed with fillings such as Nutella, marmalade, or pastry cream.
15. Pastiera Napoletana
Native to Naples, Pastiera Napoletana is a tart that is made using boiled wheat, ricotta cheese, and eggs. Sunshine-golden filling, which has hints of cinnamon and orange flower, is concealed by a crisp pastry on the outside. The flavours of this tart are so unique that the dessert is adopted by almost every other bakery in Italy.
16. Sicilian Cassata
This is a traditional cake characterized by an incredibly moist round sponge. The moistness is brought about by fresh fruit juice and/or liqueur. Hearty layers of ricotta cheese and candied fruit only add to the deliciousness of this yummy cake.
17. Panna Cotta
This is, quite simply, one of the best desserts you will ever try in Italy. It stars sweet cream that is thickened with gelatin and moulded into a cylinderesque shape. The cream has hints of flavours such as vanilla or coffee, which are simply too good to be true.
Nothing screams Christmas in Rome as loud as these peppy roasted chestnuts called Castagne. Every other street in the entire city hosts vendors that sell this winter-time seasonal delicacy. May it be candied ones or the simple roasted ones, you should definitely try Castagne when in Rome.
In Rome, instead of the regular cream puffs, look for this fun treat called Profiteroles. They are small choux pastry balls deliciously filled with ingredients such as whipped cream, custard, or vanilla ice cream. Some patisseries serve these delights with warm chocolate sauce, and that is a combination you just cannot have enough of.
20. Crème Caramel
Crème Caramel is also known by the names Flan and Caramel Custard around the world. It is a custard dessert that has a glaze of smooth, clear caramel sauce over the top. With a pleasant vanilla flavor lingering on your tongue from the soft custard, depend on Crème caramel for putting you in a good mood any day.
Sfogliatella literally translates to “small, thin leaf.” Native to Campania, it is a shell-shaped Italian pastry that has a decadent filling inside. The pastry’s texture gives it the appearance of a stack of leaves, hence the name.
22. Ciambelline Al Vino
Also known as Ubriachelle in Rome, which means “drunk ones,” Ciambelline al vino is a type of cookie. Fennel or anise seeds are soaked in wine for at least an hour to prepare this special cookie. Ciambelline al vino has an intoxicating fragrance that you won’t easily forget.
23. Gelato Cake
This is a fancy cake that one just cannot get enough of. Ice cream cakes are fantastic as they are, but add the rich, super smooth gelato to the equation, and the result is an amazing Gelato Cake that makes every other cake seem dull and unexciting.
24. Vin Santo E Cantucci
We know what Vin Santo is and understand what Cantucci is. Pair them together, and you have yourself Vin Santo e Cantucci, a quick dessert of wine and biscotti.
Not to be confused with the beverage of the same name, Frappe is an egg-sugar-flour-based snack found in Italy typically during the carnival period, which is approximately from January to Easter. These long, flat titbits feature alcohol, namely Vin Santo, which evaporates during the process of cooking.
If you are looking for a great dessert adventure, then Rome boasts of an absolute sweet-parade that you should unquestionably participate in.
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Rome at the table: the desserts of the Roman tradition
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Sampling Authentic Italian Desserts in Rome
If you’re looking for authentic Italian desserts, Rome is the city for you. When most people think about great Italian cooking, dishes like pizza, lasagna, and spaghetti immediately spring to mind. However, Italy is known for both sweet and savory delicacies. Different cities and regions each have their own take on traditional Italian desserts, but Rome has some of the best food artisans and desserts in the entire country. In any case, before we discuss where to go to sample authentic Italian desserts, let’s look at some of the most common, traditional desserts in Italian cuisine.
Traditional Italian Desserts
You can usually find a version of traditional Italian desserts at restaurants around the world, but many local favorites are unique to Italy. Here are a few traditional Italian desserts that you may have heard of, and some that are not as well known:
Tiramisù is one of the best-known desserts on this list. Combining coffee, chocolate, mascarpone cheese, and fresh cream, authentic tiramisù is one of the best ways to cap off a great meal in Rome. Though tiramisù wasn’t invented until sometime in the 1960s, it is a staple of Italian cuisine today, and one of the most popular Italian cakes worldwide.
Unlike tiiramisù, cannoli are a classic Italian dessert that has been eaten in Italy for centuries. Originating on the island of Sicily, cannoli are now consumed throughout the country. Cannoli are one of the simplest desserts on this list, as it is just a small tube of fried pastry dough filled with cream.
While Migliaccio is a traditional Naples-style dessert, it has also made its way up to Rome. Migliaccio uses ricotta cheese as its primary ingredient, and the final product resembles a baked cheesecake. This dessert is commonly served during the Carnival season.
Babà is another Neapolitan delicacy, though it has its roots in other parts of Europe. This cream-filled pastry is made using rum, before being saturated in syrup. While French or Polish babà is served as a small, round pastry, Neapolitan babà is generally served as a cake that must be cut into slices.
Budino di Riso
Budino di riso comes from Tuscany, though it is a popular dessert in Rome as well. In essence, budino di riso is a simple rice pudding formed into a tart or small cupcake. It is commonly served as a snack or dessert in bars and restaurants throughout the region.
Crostata Ricotta e Visciole
Ricotta is a common ingredient in both savory and sweet dishes in Italy, but crostata ricotta e visciole (“Ricotta tart and sour cherries”) will definitely satisfy your sweet tooth. Crostata ricotta e visciole is a traditional Jewish dish, and can be found in many restaurants in the Jewish Ghetto and surrounding Rome neighborhoods. Most recipes include a thick layer of ricotta cheese, topped with sour cherries and a thick pie crust.
While the names above include some of the most popular desserts in Rome, it is certainly not a comprehensive list. There are dozens of other mouth-watering Italian recipes and many more variations on classic desserts. Here are just a few more Italian desserts to look out for while you’re touring the city:
Profiteroles – A sweet pastry filled with cream, commonly known as a “cream puff.” Crème Caramel – A type of custard topped with a thin layer of caramel sauce. Gelato – A frozen dessert unique to Italy that is similar to ice cream in flavor and consistency. Tartufo – A chocolate shell filled with two or more flavors of ice cream and syrup. Seada – A deep fried dumpling covered in honey. Torta Barozzi – A thick cake (similar to traditional brownies) that uses almonds and cocoa. Cassata Siciliana – A sponge cake adorned with ricotta cheese and candied fruit. Panna Cotta – A gelatin-based mold served with fruit and cream. Zuppa Inglese – A layered dessert composed of custard and sponge cake. Sfogliatelle – A shell-shaped pastry with a variety of sweet fillings. Pasticciotto Leccese – A circular pastry filled with ricotta cheese or custard. Sbrisolona – A traditional crunchy tart made with almonds. Bônet – A molded custard using hazelnut, rum, and amaretti. Torta Caprese – A traditional chocolate cake with walnuts or almonds.
Where to Go for Authentic Italian Desserts in Rome
Now that you know a little more about traditional Italian desserts, it’s time to find out where to get real, authentic Italian desserts in Rome. Not every restaurant, cafe, or bakery makes their desserts from scratch, but if you’re going to travel all the way to The Eternal City, you’ll want to make sure you’re eating the best desserts Rome has to offer. So, here are a few places to get the best, authentic Italian desserts in the city:
Said is all about chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate. Since 1923, this restaurant (housed in a former chocolate factory) has provided customers with some of the richest chocolate desserts in the city. Whether you want to take a box of exquisite Italian chocolates back home or enjoy a cup of hot chocolate at the bar, Said is the place for you. For more information on this San Lorenzo treasure, consult Said’s official website .
There are plenty of places to find great gelato in Rome, but FataMorgana is consistently rated as one of the best ice cream shops around. Owner and gelato expert Maria Agnese rises above the competition by experimenting with new flavors and authentic Italian recipes. To learn more about FataMorgana and Maria Agnese’s unique approach to gelato, check out the website right here .
If you’re in the mood for cannoli, Pasticceria Dagnino is the place to go. That said, this Italian pastry shop has a wide variety of sweets and pastries to choose from. Additionally, Pasticceria Dagnino has ample outdoor seating, so it is a great place to enjoy a pastry and soak in Rome’s beauty. Pasticceria Dagnino doesn’t have an official website, but you can learn more about Pasticceria Dagnino’s offerings and hours of operation at this link .
Giolitti is said to be the oldest ice cream parlor in all of Rome, dating back to the late 19th Century. It is also one of the most popular. Situated a few blocks east of the River Tiber, Giolitti gives passersby a taste of new and innovative gelato flavors in an Old Rome setting. For more information, check out Giolitti’s website .
The owners of Pompi put all of their creative energy into one dessert: tiramisù. While Pompi does serve traditional tiramisù, the majority of their desserts experiment with new and interesting adaptations of the popular Italian dessert. For example, you can get “tiramisù banana e cioccolato,” “tiramisù fragola,” and everything in between. If you’d like to find out more about Rome’s favorite tiramisù shop, consult this link .
Just steps away from Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II, Pasticceria Regoli gives visitors an array of pastries and authentic Italian desserts, right in the heart of Rome. The artisans at Pasticceria Regoli take great care when choosing their ingredients and insist on following authentic Italian dessert recipes. To learn more about their business philosophy and tantalizing menu, check out Pasticceria Regoli’s website right here .
Learn More About the Best Desserts in Rome With RomeLoft
Are looking for some of the best authentic Italian desserts in Rome? If so, the experts at RomeLoft can point you in the right direction. Additionally, we can help you find accommodations to ensure that your trip is one-of-a-kind, comfortable, and stress-free. No matter what you’re looking for in Rome, we can help you get the most out of your vacation. For more information on booking an apartment, tour, or event in Rome, contact RomeLoft today!
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Top 10 Guide to the Best Sweets in Rome
Generally when you think Rome or Italy even, you think pizza and pasta . But Italy is of course home of some of the most loved sweets in the world. Think tiramisu, cornetti, cannoli… the list goes on. We know that the French are known the world around for their delicate sugary creations but there is one difference between their sweets and Italian ones – and yes I’m biased – Italian sweets are better. There – ok, I’ve said it! Perhaps a little less refined than French pastries, Italian sweets vary from region to region and you’ll find something to tame that sugar craving wherever you are.
So, if you’re a sweet-tooth and on the prowl for Roman sweets , Sicilian or just plain old anything with sugar, fear not – you are very spoilt for choice in Rome.
Where to head for the best sweets in Rome
Stop by Bar and Pasticerria Barberini for great coffee, amazing cornetti (we like the plain ones but the jam are pretty good too!) and tiramisu served in a mini chocolate cup. Their chocolate creations are to die for and I also love the mini pastry tarts filled with chantilly cream and fragoline (mini wild strawberries).
Biscottificio Innocenti (Trastevere)
The intoxicating waft of freshly baked biscuits hits you long before you walk through the doors of this bakery which produces over 50 types of biscotti a day and have been for over 100 years! Try any of the chocolate-dipped butter cookies and the brutti ma buoni (ugly but good), lumpy mounds of nuts in a chewy meringue). Actually – just try anything!
Bar Pompi (Various)
Arguably one of the city’s best tiramisu, this place is not named Il Regno del Tiramisu – Tiramisu Kingdom – for nothing. The classic is always a favourite but the strawberry and pistachio ones are a must try too. And the hazelnut version ain’t that bad either. Not much more to say about this place, except that even though the crowds flock here, there (thankfully) just seems to be a never-ending supply of tiramisu!
I Dolci di Nonna Vincenza (Various)
Hailing from Catania in Sicily, this pasticerria opened its doors in Rome only last year and if you try their ricotta cannoli or the famous Sicilian cassata, you will know why they are so popular. Sicilian sweets are known to be super super sweet (not to mention many are delectably fried!) so don’t miss out if this is your thing!
Pasticeria Trastevere (Trastevere)
When I first moved to Trastevere being a sweets lover (ok fanatic.. ok sugar addicted!!!) I did my research (boy that was filling!) and was told by many Trasteverini that this is the best in Trastevere. It’s certainly become one of my local hangouts favourites. I love their mini maritozzi (choux pastry filled with fresh cream) and fresh strawberry tarts. I have to try really hard when walking past not to go in but the smell of fresh pastry usually wins! I justify the regular visit with the fact that I only try the mignon desserts!
Cristalli di Zucchero (Various)
As the title suggests (sugar crystals) if sugar is your thing, then you’re in luck. Located around the corner from Circo Massimo, this place is heaven from the moment you walk in until you finally decide what treat (or 5) you’re going to spoil yourself with. Love the mini cheesecake and opera (layered chocolate and coffee cake) and the mini cream dessert cups, but honestly, you can bank on about anything at this place.
Ciuri Ciuri (Various)
Head to this chain Sicilian cake shop for one thing only. Ricotta cannoli. The gelato is quite good also, but I just can’t go past having my cannoli piped with fresh ricotta and then sprinkled with pistachio. The one in Trastevere and Monti are tried and tested, but there are outlets located right throughout the city.
Mizzica (Piazza Bologna)
Like I said, Sicilians know how to do sweet! If you’re into cream, ricotta and sugared sweets, you can never go past a Sicilian cake shop. Located in Piazza Bologna area, this place has people from all over the city flocking to try their ware. Personally I love the cannoli here too, but the strawberry tarts and cornetti are pretty amazing also (oh and for the salt lovers, try their various arancini!)
I don’t usually count gelato as dessert (I have my own sugar calculation system) but as a post-dessert add on. But Fatamorgana is too good to leave off this list! They produce some of the cities best artisanal gelato all with natural ingredients. It’s also preservative free and gluten free.. and amazing. My favourites (at the moment – changes daily!) include lemon curd, custard, strawberry and almond, blueberry cheesecake and almond and orange. You can try some out of the ordinary flavours like chocolate with tobacco, baklava, rose petal and basil. The original store is in the Salaria area and now shops are located in Monti, Trastevere and Prati.
Sometimes I just crave a little American (and I’m not even American!!) – but you know what I mean.. a red velvet cupcake, cheesecake, chocolate brownie.. and carrot cake. Look no further than Sweety Rome. I love love love the vanilla cupcakes here. There are two in the city and the one in Via Milano in the historical centre has space for you to sit down and have your own cupcake and tea party.
Located in the San Lorenzo district of Rome, Said is heaven for lovers of chocolate. This modern day chocolate bar started out as a chocolate factory in 1923 and has been serving up sweet treats ever since! You’ll see chocolate moulds, tools and all things chocolate. Definitely try the torta caprese (a moist chocolate and almond cake), the truffles are to die for and I couldn’t resist the torrone (nougat) either!
Still hungry for more sweets and other foods in Rome or Italy? Sample some of the best on one of our many culinary tours in Italy .
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About Kenny Dunn
Kenny’s love for European cuisine was sparked after moving to Rome in 2009. He fell in love with the city’s backstreet eateries, and even more with the people and stories behind each dish. Now he's turned his passion into food tours, so Eating Europe guests can also share a taste of local life.
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Home / Blog / Destination / Italy / Rome / The 5 Desserts You Have to Try in Rome, No Matter How Much Pizza You Ate
The 5 Desserts You Have to Try in Rome, No Matter How Much Pizza You Ate
It is said that the Roman goddess of food and feasting was named Edesia.
Your standard Ancient Roman goddess, Edesia was essentially in charge of ensuring a feast went well. Hosts of the time knew you’d do best to keep her happy, so they would offer some of the most delicious morsels from any feast as an offering to her.
Now, over in the Eternal City, sweets are sometimes passed over in favor of the main meal. It’s true, there is so much amazing eating to do, from carbonara to amatriciana and back again, but you guys, desserts in Rome are not to be missed! That’s why we’ve compiled a list of our favorites—in no particular order, we’re not ranking cantucci over crostata , as choices like these are intensely personal.
One of the beautiful things about Italy is that different regions boast their own local delicacies. We’ve incorporated treats from around the peninsula in this list, but you can reliably find and enjoy them all in the capital.
A point of extreme importance: this list does not include gelato, the most famed of all the desserts. Stifle your gasps and be not afraid, this is not because gelato is not firmly ensconced in our hearts, but rather because we wanted to focus on the non-frozen treats here. (Don’t worry, though—we’ve got you covered with a complete guide to the best gelato spots in Rome! ).
If Edesia is real, we’re fairly certain these are the dolci with which she adorns her table. So, read on, and when you’re visiting Roma, don’t forget to leave a little (or a lot) of space for an after-dinner indulgence paired, of course, with an espresso.
Vin Santo e Cantucci
First a clarification, before all the Tuscans out there (rightfully) have a fit: this combination is born of Tuscany, the next region north from Rome’s own Lazio.
Vin santo is a melodiously sweet dessert wine, and it is divine to sip after a meal. But it doesn’t end here, oh no, because along come the cantucci , a type of almond biscotto that is truly living its best life as a non-cookie.
What you need to do here is dip the cantucci into the vin santo , until there are no more cantucci and no more vin santo. Then you ask for more, and repeat the process.
And that’s it. That’s the key to a happy life.
Crostata ricotta e visciole
How does one describe a crostata ?
A bit like a pie but with its own personality, the ricotta cheese and visciole (a tart cherry) variety has Jewish Roman cuisine roots, and is a staple in any Roman restaurant.
Thanks to the slight bite of the cherry and the smoothness of the ricotta, it is sweet but not too much so, and some bakeries or restaurants will also throw in a handful of chocolate chips (and how can you go wrong with that?).
This is one of the most traditional desserts in the city, and one of our favorites worldwide.
Local tip: One of our favorite versions of this crostata can be found on the dessert menu of Flavio Al Velavevodetto , a great little spot in the Testaccio neighborhood . They also make our very favorite rendition of tiramisu, but more on that later. If you try out Flavio, don’t forget to book, as this is a spot popular with locals and you might end up being in for a long wait if you don’t make a prenotazione (booking) beforehand.
This egg, sugar, and flour-based bite of deliciousness is seasonal: you can find it sprinkled across the country only during carnival period in Italy (so from January-ish to just before Easter).
Frappe , not to be confused with the milkshake drink frappè, actually goes by different names depending on the region you find yourself in Italy. Fun fact: in the Liguria region they’re known as bugie , which translates directly to “lies.” We tend to think this is because they taste so airy and light the automatic assumption is that they’re also calorically inconsequential, and, well, that is not the case…)
This tradition of the Carnevale season is said to hail from an Ancient Roman sweet made during the same time of year that was deep fried. Since the Romans really got a lot of things right, a variation of this lives on today. In fact, you can find frappe in two versions, either fried or baked in the oven. Here at Devour Tours, we have extremely clear ideas on which one tastes better, but it’s very much a matter of personal preference.
These long, flat strips of dough, which generally also have an alcohol such as sambuca or vin santo in the batter that evaporates during the cooking process, are then generally covered in powdered sugar or honey.
Tiramisu (da Flavio)
This entry comes with a qualifier: not just any tiramisu in Rome , this is the tiramisu from Flavio al Velavevodetto , the famous little Roman osteria we mentioned above when in deep discussion about crostata . This is tiramisu al cucchiaio , soft enough to be scooped up with a spoon. Make sure you get several layers in with each bite to savor the different flavors!
Insider’s tip : Don’t miss our Perfect Italian Tiramisu Recipe
We know what you’re thinking: do chestnuts count as dessert?
The answer here is an unequivocal yes, in all their forms.
Seek out the candied marron glacé (that make us swoon) as well as the simple roasted castagna you can scoop up from vendors on every street corner in late autumn and early winter. This is, in fact, a seasonal delight, so pack it in while you can, and don’t forget to breathe in deep: nothing says Christmas in Rome like the smell of roasted chestnuts on Via del Babuino, leading you to Piazza di Spagna.
So there you have it, folks: our very favorite sweetly-oriented dishes, to be enjoyed not just after a meal but at any time of day for a pick-me-up, or during the late afternoon Italian snack time, known as merenda .
The goddess tiptoes past the delicacies on her table, gazing in appreciation at the offerings laid out before her. The people have done well. She peeks around and, when she is sure nobody is looking, she gracefully reaches out a spoon and piles it high. These togas are truly unforgiving, but after all, tiramisu is tiramisu.
Ready to eat like a real Roman from breakfast through dessert? Our Testaccio Neighborhood Food & Market Tour is just the adventure you need. We’ll give you plenty of pointers on what it means to eat like a Roman, and you’ll even meet the people behind some of our favorite bites in the city.
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The Hottest Late-Night Party in Rome Is at the Bakery
In Rome, when the evening is coming to an end, late-night diners skip kebabs and pizza to seek out brioche buns bursting with cream, Nutella-filled croissants, and doughnuts oozing with custard
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It’s midnight and Donatella is waiting in the queue at Il Maritozzaro in Rome’s Trastevere neighborhood. While her preteen son trails sulkily behind her, she is lit up with childlike excitement. “He’s complaining that he’s tired,” she says. “But that’s just because he hasn’t seen it yet.” This nocturnal adventure is an important family occasion: Donatella is bringing her son for his first ever maritozzo, a big, round brioche-type bun bursting with fresh cream.
Legend tells that maritozzi were originally offered by a bride as a gift to her new husband (“marito” in Italian) on their wedding night; “tozzo,” which means short and fat, refers to the shape of the bun — not the shape of the groom. The roots of the pastry can be traced back to Pescara, a nearby seaside town, but as Katia, another hungry visitor, explains, “Maybe the maritozzo is not from Rome, but Il Maritozzaro is as Roman as it gets.”
The shop is widely agreed to make the best maritozzi in the city, but its quintessential local feature is the opening hours. In Rome, when the evening is coming to an end, it is not a kebab or a slice of pizza that late-night revelers crave, but something sweet. Il Maritozzaro is open 24/7, but the busiest time is 11 p.m. onward, when the bar, the two tiny outdoor tables, and the entire street corner on which it stands fill up with Romans chatting, laughing, and plunging their faces into the creamy depths of their maritozzi.
A similar scene is playing out at dozens of nighttime bakeries across the city. They’re open late into the night, serving up Nutella-filled croissants and bombas, doughnuts oozing with custard; often, each bakery will specialize in one specific treat. A few streets away from Il Maritozzaro, Il Cornettone has been selling cornetti, filled croissants, at all hours for over 30 years in an easy, inclusive atmosphere. Owner Antonio Schina explains that, unlike the French croissant made with butter, the Italian cornetto is made with margarine, making it lighter and therefore, he insists, completely acceptable to eat several in one late-night sitting. This is good news because inside the laboratorio , tray after tray of cornetti are stuffed with pistachio cream, strawberry jelly, and all manner of other fillings. It’s nearly impossible to choose just one flavor to try.
How did late-night desserts get so popular?
Like any global capital, Rome stays open late, as young (and young-at-heart) locals buzz about the city’s many restaurants and bars. At the same time, the city’s diligent baking workforce arrives at their bakeries early in the morning to prep the day’s offerings. It was only a matter of time until these two groups overlapped, creating a late-night market for early-morning treats.
This story played out in real time at Pasticceria Lambiase, across town from Il Maritozzaro and Il Cornettone. The business began as a standard daytime bakery, but when the kitchen fired up the ovens in the early morning, partygoers on the way home from nearby student bars would bang desperately on the doors of the laboratorio, lured by the sweet smell of the pastries. When the 4 a.m. queues became so long that neighbors started to complain and the police came inquiring, owner Antonio Lambiase, a charming Neapolitan who has been working in pastry his whole life, gave in and turned Pasticceria Lambiase into a full-fledged nighttime bakery in order to better handle demand.
The tradition isn’t just for college students. You’ll find all types of diners lining up at bakeries deep into the night: teenagers and families, old friends and late-night workers, anyone willing to stay up late.
What makes Rome’s bakeries so good?
Italians tend to prefer a sweet breakfast, and Rome’s nocturnal bakeries serve up the same items that the city’s inhabitants typically eat alongside a cappuccino in the morning (though at night the coffee of choice is espresso). And yet there is a marked difference between eating a pastry to start your day and eating one to end it.
As journalist Marco Lodoli puts it, “If the cornetto is vital in the early morning, late at night it becomes pure pleasure.” In fact, one of the most common expressions Romans use to describe the nighttime pastry — particularly the maritozzo — is as “una coccola:” a cuddle. Lodoli claims that stopping for a late-night cornetto is so enjoyable it can make you forget about early flights or important business meetings the next morning. Biting into a softball-sized maritozzo, it’s impossible not to get cream all over your face — or think about much else.
Even more than comfort food, Rome’s late-night pastries remind eaters that pleasure is an irrefutable core aspect of eating, with some incredibly overt implications about the joy they bring. Pasticceria Lambiase is better known by the name of its most iconic pastry, la sorchetta doppio schizzo, which literally translates to “the double-squirt pussy.” A thin disk of pastry that roughly fits into your palm, the sorchetta is finished with a squirt of cream and a drizzle of chocolate.
Lambiase created the treat from a healthy mixture of frugality and obscenity. “I realized that if I took the dough and cut it into disks instead of making cornetto out of it, I could make triple the amount of pastries,” he explains. “And then, when we baked the first sorchetta, I held it out to my colleague and said, ‘What does this look like to you?’” Now, people come from all over Rome and the world — Lambiase proudly shows off magazine cuttings from Korea and Japan — to try his signature pastry. He winks. “It’s a little vulgar, but it’s nice, no?”
Even subtler late-night Italian pastries are more than a little sensual. A true feast for the eyes, they tend to be bigger and rather messier than cousins in other European nations, usually overflowing with cream or dripping in Nutella. Their customary pairing, a strong espresso, makes for a satisfying balance between bitter and sweet.
Back in the queue at Il Maritozzaro, Donatella has procured maritozzi for herself and her son. He is admittedly less impressed than hoped. But Donatella hasn’t been able to come to the bakery as often since the family moved out to the suburbs, and her delight at being reunited with her favorite pastry eclipses her son’s underwhelmed reaction. The significance of the moment feels more symbolic in nature, anyway: It marks the passing on of a great tradition from parent to child. “I’ve been coming here at night since I was 18,” she explains. “It has accompanied Romans across generations.”
In a country with hundreds of generation-spanning, location-specific, oft-conflicting rules and rituals around food, Romans have found an unexpected way to end great nights out, no matter what is on the horizon when the sun rises. Judging by the cream-covered smiles on the faces of everyone at Il Maritozzaro, it’s impossible not to have a good time.
Where to find bakeries open late in Rome
An institution in the city since 1960, Il Maritozzaro serves up the classic maritozzo as well as pistachio and chocolate varieties. Inside the tiny bar, Patrizia Imperati takes orders and shouts them to Mario Ciampella, the pastry chef, who picks up bun after bun of fresh brioche, cleaves them open with a sharp knife, and deftly spoons in an enormous dollop of fresh cream. You’ll also find a wealth of other sweet treats and some excellent coffee. Just make sure to pay before you order, and get in and out of there quickly as there’s sure to be a line of hungry people waiting behind you. 50 Via Ettore Rolli, Rome, Italy, 00153
The name of this spot translates to “the big cornetto,” and it’s owned by the equally large Antonio Schina. Cornetti come with every filling imaginable, including Kinder Bueno, fresh cream, and Nutella. This is a great choice if you’re looking for somewhere to sit and enjoy your nighttime snack with a beer and an espresso. 215/219 Via Oderisi da Gubbio, Rome, Italy 00146
You’d be forgiven for walking past the nondescript exterior of Pasticceria Lambiase. The bakery is located in a basement down a set of stairs, but the smell alone can draw you in. Lambiase and his team dish up fresh batches of sorchetta, as well as typical pastries from the south of Italy, like Neapolitan sfogliatelle. 47 Via Cernaia, Rome, Italy, 00185
Known for its bomba — a filled, deep-fried doughnut — and the magnificent pesca — an incredibly sweet, boozy, cream-filled doughnut crafted to look like a pink peach — Dolce Maniera is located near the Vatican. Here, you descend a small staircase into the miniscule basement bakery, which is packed wall-to-wall with pastries, meaning you can survey the full selection while waiting in the queue to make an informed decision. 27 Via Barletta, Rome, Italy, 00192
Lara Gilmour is a journalist exploring sustainability in food. She tells stories about how what we eat can impact and sustain our culture, and she’s passionate about food system transformation.
Giulia Verdinelli is a photographer specialising in culinary storytelling. She is passionate about capturing the authentic emotions that revolve around every aspect of the food journey, from farm to stomach.
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25 Best Italian Desserts
What are the biggest Italian dessert names? As you might already know, Italian desserts are just as famous as pizza or pasta dishes. In Italy, people just love having dessert after lunch or dinner. It’s not really an optional thing, we do want to eat something sweet at all times. However, we must also point out, that even if they are called sweets, sugar, creams with food coloring, and non-healthy ingredients are usually avoided when it comes to the best desserts in Italy. We tried to do our best in this article and bring you the best Italian chocolate desserts, but also some of the most famous Italian custard dessert, and Italian lemon dessert. Of course, since one of the most famous is Tiramisu, we are covering the Italian coffee dessert category too!
Whether you are looking for cakes, tarts, gelato, or cream desserts we have covered everything for you in this traditional Italian desserts article. I can’t lie, my mouth was watering throughout writing the details and browsing for the pictures. Italians are just so creative in making these sweets and some of them have been around for centuries but in different forms.
After having a delicious pasta dish and drinking some Italian wine , you can indulge in these sweets at any restaurant or cafe. Some of them are easy enough to create at home, so don’t be shy. Let us know which one is your favorite of the 25 best Italian dessert names. Oh, and before we dig, make sure you check our articles for great Italian appetizers, Neopolitan dishes , pastries, and dishes from Puglia too!
Recommended Italian dessert recipe books
Table of Contents
The number one of the traditional Italian desserts on our list is the famous Tiramisu. This layered Italian dessert is adored by many and has been recreated in various ways throughout the years. It comes from the state of Veneto probably around the 1980s. The first mention of the Italian coffee dessert was in 1983 in a cookbook .
What were the original ingredients? Well, the base did not change, it was and still is ladyfingers. The sponge should be soaked in coffee and then layer everything with mascarpone cheese and cocoa powder. Tiramisu can come in any shape as long as it’s layered properly. You need of course some other ingredients, such as rum and eggs too.
By the way, the Tiramisu also has a meaning in Italian. If you separate the two words, “tirami su”, that means pull me up. So if we think about it, basically Tiramisu is the sweet that will pull your mood up when you eat it. Especially if you can get pistachio cream and add some to your mascarpone cream!
2. Maritozzo con la Panna – Maritozzo with Cream
Maritozzo is a big-time favorite Italian dessert that you must try if you are traveling to Rome ! This is specifically a dessert and pastry originating from Rome, so there’ in literally every bar where they have pastries, you’ll find Maritozzo too! Maritozzo is a typical dessert in the Lazio region . Now, the name derives from the custom of offering this dessert to future bridges.
Whoever gave the dessert to the bride was called the “Maritozzo”. This dessert consists of a small loaf mixed with flour, grapes, honey, and butter, filled with whipped cream. Maritozzo is often enriched with pine nuts, grapes, or candied orange too. Lately, in some places, you can find in Rome Maritozzo with pistachio too!
Cannoli is one of the classic Italian desserts that already existed in Sicily around 1090 AD. Its origins can also be traced back to Palermo and Messina by Gaetano Basile, however, it became a staple in Sicily. Today Cannoli is also one of the favorite Italian Christmas desserts.
How do you make Cannoli then? This dessert is a fried and crispy pastry wrap which is then stuffed with creamy ricotta, chocolate chips, and candied pumpkin cubes. It takes about 40 minutes to prepare and another 30 to cook, the result is delicious! Sicily is packed with delicious food and some of the most popular Italian desserts, so make sure you get your belly ready if you’re visiting Sicily !
4. Panna Cotta
Who didn’t hear of Panna Cotta, one of the most famous Italian dessert names? The next one of the delicious Italian desserts named Panna Cotta originates from Piedmont. Its origins are unclear to this day, some say it was invented by a Hungarian woman in the 1900s. In 2001 is when Panna Cotta is included on the list of traditional food products.
Panna Cotta is an Italian custard dessert. The name translates to cooked cream. It is usually sweetened with sugar, flavored with vanilla, and thanks to gelatin it gets this thick form that does not melt. Panna Cotta is usually served with fruits, jam, or caramel too. A delicious dessert to make at home for everyone’s good mood!
One of those Italian dessert names that we don’t have to explain too much! Italian Gelato is loved worldwide as it is one of the most popular desserts, especially when it comes to Italian chocolate desserts. Have you ever tried artisan Nutella gelato? Although many believe it is ice cream, Gelato has a more dense and rich flavor than ice creams , it’s more creamy and has a richer texture.
The Gelato as an Italian dessert is related to Francesco Procopio dei Coltelli whos cafe introduced the gelato in the 1600s. Since then there have been many variations of this dessert, but if you wish to try the authentic gelato, you must go to Italy! Outside this country, you won’t ever taste real Gelato, even if they say it is.
Moving on with our Italian desserts, the Crostata is basically a tart or a pie and recipes can be traced back as far as 1456. We are not quite sure which region came up with these delicious Italian desserts, since some say it’s coming from Venice , others say Naples.
Crostata is one of the classic Italian desserts which is made from a pastry crust, jam or ricotta, and fruit. Crostata can be considered a layered Italian dessert as before the base consisted of three layers. Today only a shortcrust pastry is used and filled with different sweet jams.
In the region of Emilia Romagna, when you want to buy a crostata, you would be looking right away at the chocolate one. It’s called Torta di Vigolo and it is a really popular local delicacy, that especially in Piacenza is much appreciated.
7. Torta Caprese
Continuing with the next of the best Italian chocolate desserts, the Torta Caprese. There are many chocolate Italian dessert names on our list so make sure you check them all! As the name suggests, Torta Caprese originates from Capri , although it is not fully clear when did they start baking this dessert.
Some sources suggest that the cake was accidentally created in the 1920s when a baker forgot to add flour to the almond cake. Whether these speculations are true or not, the important part is that we now have one of the most loved authentic Italian desserts. The main ingredients which make it so crunchy are the almonds and as we have mentioned flour is not needed. The cake can be served with some whipped cream.
Let’s see another interesting sweetness on our Italian dessert names list! Semifreddo is quite an interesting Italian lemon dessert. Although the main ingredient is not lemon, this dessert can be quite versatile. Semifreddo means half-frozen and one of the first recipes was discovered in the 20th century.
Although it also resembles the classic French parfait. So, how is Semifreddo made then? This delicious dessert which is also served as one of the Italian Christmas desserts is whipped into a thick cream. As it is not quite an ice cream, but more like a cold dessert, the texture is pleasant and it can be flavored with anything. Whether that’s nuts, fruits, vanilla, or chocolate, Semifreddo is a treat!
Do you like a classic Italian custard dessert? You’re in for a treat with this Italian Zabaglione dessert. This sweet dish is also popular among the Italian Christmas desserts and Italian easter desserts. First of all, nobody knows where Zabaglione is from. It can be either from Tuscany, Piedmont, or Emilia-Romagna.
At least we know it is definitely one of the most popular Italian desserts and today loved by everyone. You only need 4 ingredients and those are eggs, sugar, Marsala wine , and some fruit or chocolate for decoration. It can also be served with ladyfingers.
Cassata is another Italian dessert you should definitely try! This colorful-looking dessert is delicious and it can be traced back to Palermo in the 10th century. It’s one of the easy Italian desserts to make and it was first mentioned in 1178. So what does it consist of? Although it doesn’t look like it, there is a sponge cake present.
The sponge is moistened with some liqueur or fruit juices, which is then layered with ricotta cheese and candied fruit. This filling is the same used for cannoli. The outside is white as it’s made of marzipan and some colorful icing. Very simple! Let’s move on to the next famous Italian desserts.
The next of the best Italian desserts on our list is called Bonet. What you need to know about Bonet is that it’s from the Piedmonte region which is also the region where the most famous chocolate is made in the whole of Italy.
Why did it make the list of most popular Italian desserts? I think the ingredients speak for themselves. Who doesn’t love any dessert made from chocolate and biscuits? The biscuits are amaretti cookies , combined with eggs, cocoa powder, sugar, milk, and rum. On top of this comes drizzled caramel.
12. Crema di Cogne
Crema di Cogne is probably one of the most simple and best Italian desserts out there. This sweet chocolate dish is typical in the Aosta Valley and it is very easy to make, yet the outcome is delicious. If you’re wondering which are authentic Italian desserts, this is one great example.
All you need to prepare this is some fresh cream, sugar, egg yolk, rum, chocolate, cocoa, and vanilla. If someone doesn’t like the taste of rum, they can just leave it out. Serve it in small bowls and with almond or hazelnut cookies.
13. Zuppa Inglese Emiliana
Don’t let the name confuse you, this is not a soup, but one of the famous Italian desserts made with a sponge cake. This dessert is popular in the Emilia Romagna region , hence the name Emiliana . Our beloved ladyfingers are used to prepare this, or alternatively, it can be made with sponge cake.
The ladyfingers are soaked in Alchemers (a type of Italian liqueur ), then you put one layer of cocoa cream, then another layer of sponge or ladyfingers, and a layer of custard. Some variations include chocolate chips too. It’s mouthwatering!
Strudel is an Italian dessert that’s actually really popular in Central European countries such as Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and of course in northern Italy. Basically, it’s famous in every country that once belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Empire and it also has ancient origins. The Strudel recipe was first written in the 17th century.
We should highlight here that while we named Strudel an Italian dessert, its origins are not Italian, as you could figure out from its name. Strudel is actually considered one of the national dishes of Austria, but as we said, it is widely popular on the territory of the once Austro-Hungarian Empire. In Italy, you can find traditional Strudel mainly in Trentino Altro Adige. Now, this dessert consists of a mixture of flour and eggs with a filling of raisins, pine nuts, cinnamon, and rennet apples from the area.
15. Pastiera Napoletana
We are almost at the end of our list of traditional Italian desserts and we now have to talk about the Pastiera Napoletana, or in other words a Neapolitan tart. Where is this tart from? Your guess is as good as ours. What we do know for sure is that the Pastiera Napoletana is good for every occasion.
The old recipe claims that while preparing the pastry, the ricotta is mixed with eggs or with grain, however, in a newer recipe the pastry is also mixed with a cream to make it softer. It does take a while to bake this, so make sure you have enough time. Pastiera Napoletana is also one of the Italian easter desserts and a highlight of Neopolitan pastries .
16. Piccola Pasticerria
When we think about our favorite small Italian dessert, as its name suggests, the Piccola Pasticceria is a top pick! This has to be my favorite of the most popular Italian desserts and traditional Italian desserts. I just love small pastries filled with cream, fruits, and jelly. The Piccola Pasticerria or small pastries are a famous assertation of tarts in Italy, but they are the most popular especially in the north.
The recipe is pretty much the same as the one for tarts, you’ll just have to put them in small forms as they are meant to be eaten with one or two bites. I think the best ones are with fruit and jelly, but the chocolate ones are also tasty. You will find plenty of these little deliciousnesses, especially in Milan !
When it comes to the most famous Italian dessert names you should know about, Panettone is definitely one! Panettone is one of the most famous Italian Christmas desserts also known in the whole world, not just in Italy. What is the legend behind this delicious dessert? Well, it is said that a Milanese baker fell in love with a woman who was walking past his bakery every day.
He worked day and night to create a loaf that smelled like vanilla just to lure the woman into the store. Where does the name come from? His name was Toni, so he named the loaf Pan di Toni, also known as Toni’s bread.
Of course, this is just a legend, but we still love it. In order to achieve the fluffy texture of the dough, there is a special way of baking a Panettone. You can recreate it at home if you have a bread maker, or just buy it in pastries from Italy! Italians are indeed usually buying it. They know which Panettone brand makes the best one, and they just simply buy them.
Pasticciotto is a favorite Italian dessert for many. Why? Everything that has cream in it is a favorite, isn’t it? Now, the Pasticciotto is a symbol of Salento pastry and one of the local dishes from Puglia that everyone should try. Well, not a dish but a dessert. The invention of Pasticciotto is credited to Andrea Ascalone, a chef in Galentina, in Lecce province.
Legend says that in 1745 he used ingredients left from full-sized cakes and he created a smaller cake that’ filled with custard cream and it’s baked in the oven. Though recent studies say that the Ascalone family wasn’t living in Galatina before 1787, the point anyway is, that this is a traditional pastry in the region of Puglia, that you should definitely try!
Sbrisolona is a really delicious and also easy and simple dessert from Northern Italy. This Italian dessert originates from Mantua, and it’s commonly produced and consumed in the Lombardy, Emilia Romagna, and Veneto regions.
Sbrisolona is made of flour, yellow flour, and sugar in equal parts. It’s indeed a sweet dessert. All these are mixed with plenty of butter too. The characteristic of this dessert is the cake that has an irregular consistency due to the fast processing and coarse cut of the almonds that are in and on the cake.
One of the best traditional Italian desserts in the Emilia Romagna region, specifically in the Ferrara area is the Tenerina. This is actually the first Italian dessert I ever tried after moving to Italy, and we did have Tenerina for dessert in a traditional Osteria in Ferrara. The name Tenerina means tender, but actually a little tender , like when you’re complimenting someone and you want to say it even sweeter.
Tenerina is made of a few ingredients only. It consists of dark chocolate mixed with eggs, butter, and flour. The peculiarity is given by the fact that the small crust forms on the outside, but inside Tenerina, the heart of the cake remains tender and creamy. The inside is really similar to a chocolate souffle, or a half-baked brownie.
21. Torta Pistocchi
Torta Pistocchi is one of those Italian dessert names that probably most of you didn’t hear about until now. When it comes to Italian chocolate desserts, well, Torta Pistocchi is the most loved chocolate cake in Italy for sure! Torta Pistocchi has a delicious consistency that’s difficult to describe except by throwing the clay out of the way (see Sara Porro).
This cake is the heaven of chocolate lovers! Torta Pistocchi was born in Florence , and it has a huge, 65% extra dark chocolate ganache. The cake was created by a skilled and not really sober Tuscan artisan chocolatier, and well, who said alcohol can’t help in great inventions? Torta Pistocchi is also available in the mignon version, as an emergency comfort food.
It’s time to head back to the south of Italy, and speak again about Neopolitan pastries! Babà is one of the most delicious Neopolitan pastries out there. An Italian dessert that if you’re in Naples , you must try without exception! Babà is an absolute classic dessert you can find all around Naples in pastry shops and bars.
This dessert is made with softly leavened dough, baked in the oven, and soaked in rum. It’s basically a sponge cake soaked in rum. Starts good, right? To top that taste, Babà is also filled with cream, which makes it even more perfect.
23. Granita Siciliana
The Granita Siciliana or simply just Granita is one of the best traditional Italian desserts. This is a delicious semi-frozen dessert that is made of sugar, water, and various flavors with fruits and not only. Granita is something like the sorbet, and it’s originating, and it’s also really popular around Sicily.
A smooth dessert that is almost like ice cream but it’s creamier and smoother, with a more crystalline texture. Granita is largely the result of different freezing techniques produced in gelato machines, and the coarser varieties are frozen with only occasional agitation. This is a Sicilian dessert that you definitely should not miss. And also make sure you check our list of Sicilian dishes !
Millefoglie is one of those less famous Italian desserts which Romans keep a secret. Scholars of pastry art in the most famous kitchens in Europe, the De Bellis brothers are the ones who create Rome the most delicious fried croissants, profiteroles, and mousses. After you had some Roman dishes , you can also go for Millefoglie, but it’s rather a breakfast pastry.
Cream puffs with firm and dry pasta , the freshest cream, and boldly whipped cream. Below that, a small caramelized crust lies that offers a hint of crunchiness. To enrich Millefoglie, a fabulous breakfast pastry, if you visit the Millefoglie bar, they’ll serve you the famous dessert in an express and personalized version according to your personal taste.
We’ll close our Italian dessert list with an Italian lemon dessert from Sardinia . Sebadas is indeed originating from the beautiful island of Sardinia, and it’s really popular around the island. This is a fried dessert made from semolina flour, water, lard, and lemon zest.
There’s also sour cheese inside, and they cover it with honey or sugar. A tiny and delicious cheese dessert for all of those who love cheese. And definitely something you must try if you’re in Sardinia!
Wrapping up the best traditional Italian desserts names
This concludes our list of best Italian desserts. By the end of this list, we hope you have found at least one dessert that you’ll want to try out right away, if not all. If you want more sweetness in your life, then try out the best Italian chocolate brands ! Also, if you want some more traditional sweets, make sure you check our list of the best Italian pastries .
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Ancient Roman Cake/Torta Antica Roma
This Ancient Roman Cake also known as Torta Antica Roma, has a buttery base spread with jam and topped with a whipped semi sweet ricotta filling, covered again with the same flaky buttery pastry, then baked until golden. Slice and serve dusted with powdered sugar. So good.
I sent out a newsletter awhile back asking readers what Italian recipe they would like to see on the blog. One reader enquired about this Torta Antica Roma. Being close to Rome it really intrigued me. Believe me this was a difficult cake to find. I finally came across the website Profumo di Biscotti , it very much resembled the recipe the reader described. Although to tell the truth, to me it actually resembles more a crostata/pie rather than a cake.
Table of Contents
How to make it
- The dough for this cake can be made 3 ways, using your stand up mixer with the flat beaters, a food processor or even by hand.
Whisk together the flour, sugar baking powder and salt add the softened butter and mix to form coarse crumbs.
Add the egg and mix until almost combined. Move the dough to a lightly floured flat surface and knead gently to combine to form a compact dough ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Divide the dough in half and roll to 1/8 inch thickness, place in the prepared pie pan, prick the bottom of the dough with a fork, spread with a layer of jam, thin or thicker as you prefer, refrigerate.
While the base in chilling, in a small bowl beat together the ricotta and powdered sugar until creamy. Remove the dough from the fridge, and spread the ricotta mixture on top of the jam. Refrigerate.
Roll the remaining dough into a circle a bit thicker than 1/8 inch, top the ricotta with the dough, seal the edges, brush with milk and bake.
Let the cake cool then dust with powdered sugar before serving.
What is the best flour to use?
For this recipe I used pastry flour, which has a 8-9% protein count. The lower the protein the flakier and more tender the crust.
To make your own pastry flour for every cup of all purpose flour remove 2 tablespoons and substitute with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch be sure to sift the ingredients together to make sure there are no lumps.
What jam can I use
The original Ancient Roman Cake uses strawberry jam, if you are feeling ambitious than you can always make your own Homemade Jam . If not a good store bought will work also. Change it up and use a mixed fruit, cherry or even blueberry jam.
What is ricotta
Ricotta cheese is made from leftover whey from other cheeses, it can be from cow, goat, sheep or Italian Buffalo. Sometimes an acidifier is added. Ricotta meaning recooked is just that, the recooking of the whey. Since it is not produced from curd, but from whey, ricotta cannot be considered a real cheese. The term ricotta can also mean the fresh one.
Fresh ricotta is placed in the typical cone shaped perforated container, where it is left to drain. It is usually a white colour, of course how white depends on the type of milk that is used. It is soft and slightly grainy but is not elastic or hard. Fresh ricotta has the smell of warm milk and hay, although the aroma of hay will be more intense in ricotta that is made from sheep or buffalo milk.
Most if not all the regions of Italy make their own ricotta but the most popular comes from Lazio, Abruzzo, Basilicata, Sicilia, Sardegna, Campania, Puglia, Calabria, Toscana, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Lombardia e Piemonte. I used cow ricotta for this recipe but if you prefer a stronger taste then a goat ricotta can also be used.
What is Italian pastry dough
Italian pastry dough consists of flour, sugar, baking powder, butter (usually room temperature) and an egg and sometimes an egg yolk. The egg makes the dough even flakier than the classic shortcrust.
How to store it
The leftover cake should be wrapped well and refrigerated, it will keep for up to 3 days in the fridge. It can also be frozen, wrap well in plastic wrap or foil and place in a freezer safe bag or container. It will keep for up to 3 months.
So if you are looking for an interesting Roman dessert I hope you give this Ancient Roman Cake a try and let me know what you think. Enjoy!
Ancient Roman Cake
Ingredients 1x 2x 3x, for the dough.
- 2 cups pastry flour (260 grams)
- ½ cup granulated sugar (100 grams)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 pinch salt*
- ¾ cup + 2 ¼ tablespoons butter (softened) (200 grams)
- 1 large egg (room temperature)
*I use salted butter, but if you use unsalted then add ¼ teaspoon of salt.
- ¼-½ cup strawberry jam (80-160 grams)
- 1 cup ricotta cheese (250 grams)
- 2½ tablespoons powdered/icing sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons milk (for brushing the dough)
- 2-3 tablespoons powdered/icing sugar (for dusting)
- Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt add the softened butter and mix, pulse or stir to form coarse crumbs.
- Add the egg and mix, pulse or stir until almost combined. Move the dough to a lightly floured flat surface and knead gently to form a compact dough ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Pre-heat the oven to 350F (180C). Lightly grease and flour an 8 inch pie plate.
- Divide the dough in half* and roll one half into a circle 1/8 inch thick, place in the prepared pie pan, (don't worry if it breaks just press it together to fit in the pan with your fingers), prick the bottom of the dough with a fork, spread with a layer of jam, thin or thicker as you prefer, refrigerate.
- While the base in chilling, in a small bowl beat together the ricotta and powdered sugar until creamy.
- Remove the dough from the fridge, and spread the ricotta on top of the jam, refrigerate. Roll the remaining dough into a circle a bit thicker than 1/8 inch, place on top of the ricotta and seal the edges, brush with a milk. Bake for approximately 30-35 minutes or until golden.
- Let the cake cool completely then dust with powdered sugar before serving. Enjoy!
*The remaining half refrigerate until ready to use.
Hi Nooshin, glad you enjoyed the recipe and it worked out for you. To tell the truth I would never 1/5 this recipe. You could make the pastry dough and use what amount you need then freeze the remaining dough. Maybe divide the ingredient amount by 4 if that’s what you plan on doing. Hope that helps. Take care!
Hi dear Rosemary , Hope you are doing fine . I want to make this cake . Can I use cream cheese instead of ricotta ? Please let me know. Many thanks .
Hi Nooshin, I am good thanks, I hope you are too. I think you could, I have never tried it with cream cheese, the taste will be different because cream cheese is richer and has a bit of a sour taste, but it should probably work, you might want to add a tablespoon or so of water to it since it is thicker than ricotta, it might also be a good idea to beat it a bit before using. Let me know how it goes. Take care!
Many thanks . Okay I will let you know as soon as I make it .
can I use cake flour instead of pastry flour?
Hi Maria, yes you can substitute, it’s a one for one substitution. Take care.
Hi Ryan, thanks so much, so glad you all enjoy it, especially your daughter wanting it for her birthday. Yes you can add more ricotta. You could probably double it but it might be too much and overpowering I would go with 1 1/2 cups and maybe add an extra tablespoon of sugar. Let me know how it goes. And Happy Birthday to your daughter. Take care.
That cake stand is stunning, would you be able to share where you got it? Fingers crossed its available online!
Hi Mouna, thanks so much, it’s actually a heavy plate with an upside down small bowl as the stand. I think I purchased both at crate and barrel. 🙂
Hi Carol, thanks so glad you and your family enjoyed it. Yes parchment paper works well too, although I really like springform pans. Have a great Sunday.
Not sure how this is an ancient Roman recipe. Sugar was not used during this times, they sweetened with grape must or honey.
Hi Jose, it isn’t antic, that’s what it was called by an Italian chef in Rome. 🙂
Do you know any background info on this dessert? Im doing a food project for school and I can’t find anything on it.
Hi Ava, there isn’t much on it because it isn’t an ancient Roman cake, it was just called that by an Italian pastry chef. 🙂
Hi Carolyn, thanks so much, so glad you and your husband enjoyed it. I like the idea of using different jams every time. Have a great week.
Hi Dee, thanks so much, sounds delicious. Yes topping it can be a bit tricky, but it can be patched up easy enough.Take care and have a great week.
Did you use a pie pan with removable bottom?
Hi Loretta, yes I did, but a regular greased and floured (or line with parchment paper) pie plate or even cake pan will work.
This cake looks yummy. I have a question can you use mascarpone cheese instead of ricotta?
Hi Anna, they are two totally different cheeses, ricotta is made from milk and is lighter and mascarpone is made from cream. Personally I wouldn’t substitute. 🙂
I cannot rate this cake, since I haven’t yet made it. I’m happy that you posted this recipe, Rosemary, since my mom was born & raised in Rome, so when I saw this recipe I decided that I’d make it for mom’s upcoming birthday. I’ll use “Smucker’s Strawberry Preserves”, which contain more strawberries than does jam. I’m sure that my mom will be super surprised with this cake. I have no doubt that it’s deliciozo!
Hi Angelina oh thanks, my husband ate almost the whole thing. Happy Birthday to your Mom, let me know how it goes.
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We Think About These Roman Empire Desserts Daily
Travel back in time with us to the days of chariots and togas to indulge your sweet tooth with popular Roman Empire desserts. There's no need for fancy ingredients or cooking methods since these desserts contain everyday items like honey, nuts, wine, eggs, cheeses, flour, and spices. The tantalizing treats of the Roman Empire range from cakes and fried confections to granola-like desserts and custards. They're certainly not boring.
Several of the ancient Roman desserts we know about come from one of the earliest cookbooks in existence, "The Art of Cooking" ("De Re Coquinaria") by the merchant Marcus Gravius Apicius. Tragically, Apicius' quest to find the best ingredients and throw lavish banquets eventually drove him to suicide after he went broke. Another common place we've learned about Roman empire desserts is from Athenaeus, who wrote "The Gastronomers" ("Deipnosophistai") about intellectuals at a banquet talking about food, among other things.
Many of the recipes are vague, leaving a lot open for interpretation from the modern cook. Luckily, the ingredients are simple and readily available today in some form. Of course, the flavor will be different from cooking on modern cooktops versus using ancient methods. Sometimes, we can only make guesses as we fit together puzzle pieces of writers who briefly mention some of these desserts. However, we're sure you're up to the task. So, get ready to start craving and making these ancient Roman desserts.
[Featured image by Pierre Olivier Joseph Coomans via Wikimedia Commons | Cropped and scaled | CC-PD-Mark ]
Cheesecake (libum and placenta)
People from the Roman Empire were making cheesecake, so it's older than you probably realized . While ancient Romans didn't have scores of flavors of cheesecake like we do today, this rich dessert still delighted their taste buds.
Statesman Marcus Porcius Cato wrote about cheesecake in his book "On Agriculture" ("De Agri Cultura"). His recipe for cheesecake (libum) calls for 2 pounds of well-crushed cheese, a half to 1 pound of wheat bread flour, and one egg. After mixing these together, you should "shape the bread, placing in on bay laurel leaves. Cook at low heat in the hearth covering with the testum" (per Historical Italian Cooking ). A testum was a lidded clay pot the Romans placed on top of their heat source to create a mini oven. Luckily, you can just use a regular oven since this version of cheesecake is reasonably close to the kind of cheesecake we make today .
Cato also included a recipe in his farm book for a layered cheesecake (placenta). In case you were wondering, the word "placenta" in Latin simply means "flat cake." However, Latin anatomists later borrowed the word for the body part (per Online Etymology Dictionary ). With all the layers, this version of cheesecake is very different from a modern cheesecake. There's an outer crust as well as several internal layers of pancakes with a honey-cheese filling. Like libum cheesecake, the layered placenta cheesecake is cooked on top of bay laurel leaves using a testum like an oven.
Delian sweets (basyniai)
When you make Delian sweets (basyniai), you're making a dessert once thought to be good enough to offer to the gods. In this case, the Greek writer Athenaeus says it was once offered to the goddess Iris on the island of Delos (once known as Hecate's Island). These treats contain flour, honey, and pepper, so the ingredients aren't very complex. The results look a little like honey-covered fried doughnut holes.
Athenaeus doesn't give a lot of instruction about how to make Delian sweets. He simply writes, "It is wheat dough, boiled, with honey and the so-called kokkora (which are a dried ﬁg and three walnuts)" (via The British Museum ). It's not clear whether or not the dough ball was served separately from the kokkora. Perhaps you could add the walnut and fig paste on top like a frosting, or maybe it should be mixed into the dough. There's no way to really know.
Apicius goes into more detail, instructing readers to "take durum wheat ﬂour and cook it in hot water so that it forms a very hard paste, then spread it on a plate. When cold cut it up in lozenges, and fry in best oil. Lift out, pour honey over, sprinkle with pepper and serve." This recipe seems much simpler, with pepper being easier to procure year-round than figs. While pepper sounds a little odd for dessert, you'll see it in a few of these recipes from ancient Rome.
Alexandrian sweets (itria)
Alexandrian sweets (itria) are a bit mysterious because the hints we have about them are somewhat vague. Several writers mention Alexandrian sweets but only comment on a couple of ingredients or the texture. These sesame seed and honey desserts were likely similar to granola bars.
Athenaeus describes itria as a sesame and honey cake with a delicate texture. Greek poet Anacreon explains the texture as being crisp. Another Greek writer Galen explained that "there are two kinds of itria, the better kind called ryemata [flowed out] and the poorer called lagana [wafer]" (via Hellenic Museum ). When the museum staff set about to recreate Alexandrian sweets, they realized that they were making something similar to a modern Greek dessert called sesame bars (pasteli).
You can make Alexandrian sweets by adding sesame seeds (and nuts if you'd like) to hot honey and forming them into balls or bars. The result is somewhat like a seedy and nutty granola bar, which explains the crisp texture Anacreon talked about. Perhaps the difference between the ryemata and the lagana version was that one was soft while the other was hard. At this late date, we can only guess.
Honey nut cakes (gastris)
If you haven't noticed yet, honey plays a big role in the desserts of ancient Rome. Without the refined sugar we have available today, it was the most obvious way to sweeten foods. Thus, a lot of the desserts are sticky ones that use honey as a binding agent. Honey nut cakes are especially intriguing because they are a gooey dessert with light-colored layers on the top and bottom and a black layer in the middle. They're uncooked and contain several types of nuts, seeds, and honey.
While Athenaeus didn't always explain the process of creating some of the foods the characters in his book discussed, he did a good job of telling exactly how to make honey nut cakes (gastris). " The Classical Cookbook " reveals Athenaeus' recipe for honey nut cakes. The recipe starts with roasting both sweet and bitter almonds, hazelnuts, and poppy seeds before pounding them into a paste. The dark color comes from the poppy seeds. Then, "kneed with boiled honey, adding plenty of pepper. ... Flatten out into a square. Now pound some white sesame, work with boiled honey, and stretch two lagana, one below and another above, so that the black is in the middle, and divide into shapes."
So, the result looks something like a moist, square seedcake hamburger. How thick or thin you make the layers is entirely up to you.
Pear patina is a spiced sweet pear custard with an intriguing flavor combination. It contains cooked pear puree, cumin, pepper, wine, oil, and eggs. Despite not having any thickeners, it still puffs up pretty well.
It's through Apicius that we learn about pear patina. He gives us a list of ingredients and decent instructions for making it. He says that, to make pear patina, you should "stew the pears, clean out the center remove core and seeds crush them with pepper, cumin, honey, raisin wine, broth and a little oil; mix with eggs, make a pie (custard) of this, sprinkle with pepper and serve."
It was likely a fairly sweet dessert since the wine in the recipe is passum, which is made from raisins fermenting in grape juice. With port wine having a very raisin-like flavor, it might be a good modern alternative to passum. Pear patina has a lot of strong flavors to pair with the delicate fruit flavor. To our minds, cumin and pepper are spices for savory dishes. However, with the sweet pears, honey, and raisin wine, this dish was far from being savory.
Stuffed dates (dulciaria)
Stuffed date s (dulciaria) look simple enough, but they require a little work. The dates are both stuffed, glazed, and seasoned, turning these ordinary fruits into something special.
Apicius describes stuffed dates thusly: "Dates are stuffed — after the seeds have been removed — with a nut or with nuts and ground pepper, sprinkled with salt on the outside and are candied in honey and served." You can use boiled honey for the outer honey glaze and even pop the honey-covered dates in the oven to candy them further. One trick for stuffed dates is to hide a whole almond as the stuffing. This twist will have unsuspecting guests initially thinking they've chomped down on a pit and then be pleasantly surprised (hopefully) to find a nut instead.
Some people have tried using a more citrusy spice called grains of paradise instead of black pepper for this dish. A Roman author named Pliny the Elder described grains of paradise in his writings as African pepper. However, black pepper was also popular in ancient Rome, so it's your choice which one you use.
Eggs with honey (ova spongia ex lacte)
When you think about eggs, you don't usually consider them as being a dessert. However, in the Roman empire, honey was a common ingredient to upgrade eggs and turn them into a dessert. We eat sweet eggy custards, so it's not that far of a jump to a sweet omelet, if you think about it. The Romans called their dessert "spongy eggs made with milk" (ova spongia ex lacte). The ingredients of eggs, milk, oil, honey, and pepper are simple yet unexpected.
Apicius is the source on how to make this sort of sweet omelet souffle. He gives very specific instructions with quantities to ensure the recipe comes out exactly right. To make it, you'll start by mixing together four eggs, the equivalent of half a pint of milk, and an ounce of oil. "In a pan put a little oil, and carefully add the egg preparation, without letting it boil however. Place it in the oven to let it rise and when one side is done, turn it out onto a service platter." You'll then cover the cooked eggs in a drizzle of honey and a sprinkling of pepper.
If you decide to eat more than one, you could stack them like pancakes before drizzling with honey. It might be easier to think of them like pancakes anyway if you're going to eat them sweet.
Cheesecake bites (globi)
The writer responsible for telling us about ancient Roman cheesecakes, statesman Marcus Porcius Cato, also wrote about a dessert called globi in his book "On Agriculture." Cato's globi dessert is kind of like fried cheesecake bites made from cheese, spelt (a type of wheat that he grinds up without turning it into flour and soaks in water), oil, honey, and poppy seeds. However, they're not cheesecake bites in the same way that they exist today since these treats are fried and have a mix of savory and sweet flavors.
Cato explained how to make these, saying to "mix the same quantity of cheese and [spelt] and shape all the globi you want. Pour fat in a hot copper pot. Cook one or two globi at a time, turning them frequently with two spatulas" (via Historical Italian Cooking ). While Cato doesn't tell us what size this dessert should be, we can guess that they're round since the Latin word "globus" is, as you can imagine, a globe-shaped ball. Once you've removed them from the hot oil, you can drizzle honey over them and sprinkle them with poppy seeds.
Looking at the recipe, you'll realize that they're savory fried cheese balls covered in honey. While the bites themselves aren't sweet, the process of coating them with honey turns them into a dessert.
Apicius had a list of several sweet dishes that were easy to make from basic everyday ingredients like porridge that suggest extra items for flavoring. With spelt, honey, two types of wine, and several types of nuts, we think this dish could easily rival modern, trendy grain-based breakfast bowls. However, it's meant to be dessert since it's full of boozy goodness. There are two ways you can eat your sweet spelt: like pudding or as fried cookies.
To make the sweet spelt porridge, you can follow Apicius ' easy directions: "In a chafing-dish put honey, pure wine, raisin wine, pine nuts, nuts, cooked spelt, add crushed and toasted hazelnuts and serve."
If you want to try something different and have some leftovers you want to repurpose, Apicius has another suggestion. The first step is to use a "hot water bath or double boiler [to] make a very hard porridge of it. Thereupon spread it out on a pan and when cool cut it into handy pieces like small cookies. Fry these in the best oil." When they're done, you'll cover them in honey and pepper like so many other ancient Roman desserts.
Honey pudding or custard (tyropatina)
Honey pudding or custard is exactly what it sounds like, despite the misleading Latin name for it. "Tyropatina" comes from the Greek word for cheese (tyros) and the type of cooking pan you'd use to make it (patina). Thankfully, this pudding doesn't actually contain cheese. It only contains milk, honey, eggs, and pepper. When it's done, it ends up looking like a yellow pudding or custard.
Apicius is again the person responsible for preserving this recipe for the world. Unfortunately, his wording is a little vague. He starts by saying to "mix the milk with honey as to make cheese." However, modern cooks have just mixed the ingredients together without thinking about cheese-making at all. He specifies using three eggs for a half pint of milk. "Mix them well with the milk. Pour in a pan and cook at low heat" (via Historical Italian Cooking ). Once it's done, you'll sprinkle pepper on top. Since there's no indication of how much honey to add, we guess it's just to your taste specifications.
The recipe doesn't specify boiling or baking as the method. So, you could either try heating it on a stovetop into a pudding or baking it in the oven into a custard.
Sweet spelt cakes (apothermum)
The interesting thing about ancient Rome's sweet spelt cakes is that they're not cooked, which is reflected in their name. Apothermum means "without heat." The ingredients include spelt, pine nuts, almonds, raisins, raisin wine, and black pepper. So, it's kind of the equivalent of cookie dough balls. Despite the name of this dessert, the spelt starts out being boiled, so, it's not technically raw cookie dough and should be perfectly safe to consume.
Here's Apicius' recipe for these white confections: "boiled spelt with pine nuts and peeled almonds, steeped and cleaned in water with clay, in such a way they turn completely white. Mix with raisins and caroenum or raisin wine. Sprinkle ground pepper on top and plate it" (via Historical Italian Cooking ). Port is probably a good option for the raisin wine in the recipe. Since it's a sweet wine, it will add sweetness to the dough. Some modern cooks have also tried pulverizing the raisins to add to the sweetness of these sweet little spelt cakes.
If you've been looking for something to do with extra figs , you might try making this Roman Empire dessert. Fig sweets contain a mixture of dried figs, roasted sesame seeds, and spices formed into cakes and left to dry. These fig sweets sound a little like a spiced precursor to Fig Newtons, only without the cakey part. However, since they're not cooked and they use an unconventional mixing method, they're a little riskier to consume than the other desserts on our list.
This recipe comes from Lucius Junius Moderatus Columella's book "About the Countryside" ("De Re Rustica") about farming (his main profession). The makers of this dish would stomp dried figs, roasted sesame seeds, and spices together with their clean feet like you would stomp grapes. The spices included "Egyptian anise, fennel, and cumin seeds. Once the ingredients are well mixed, they wrap little cakes [made with this paste] in fig leaves ... leaving them to dry" (via Historical Italian Cooking ).
Making these could be quite fun if you do it the traditional way with your feet. It's worth noting, though, that using your feet could be a source of bacteria if your feet aren't clean. Since you're supposed to leave this paste to dry in fig leaves for a while, these treats also won't be instantly gratifying.
History of ancient roman empire
Ancient Roman Dessert Recipes
Ancient Roman Dessert Recipes or Cake :
1) Grape and Nut Dessert-
This ancient roman dessert required the following ingredients-.
a) Take 250g coarsely ground nuts
b) Take 100g coarsely ground stone-pine kernels
c) Take 34 tablespoons of honey
d) Take 1 teaspoon of minced rue
e) Take 50ml of sweet grape juice
f) Take 50ml milk
g) Take 2 eggs
h) Take a pinch of ground pepper
The dessert recipe was prepared in the following manner-
1) Mix pepper, pine kernels, honey, rue and sweet grape juice with milk and eggs.
2) Heat the mixture until it boils. Then allow it to cool.
3) Serve the cooled grape and nut dessert topped with honey and sprinkled with pepper.
2) Old Roman Apple Cake-
a) Take 3 cups of flour
b) Take 2 cups of sugar
c) Take 3 teaspoons of baking powder
d) Take ½ cup of orange juice
e) Take 1 cup of Wesson oil
f) Take 2 teaspoons of vanilla
g) Take 3 thinly sliced apples
h) Take 4 eggs
The Roman Dessert Recipes was prepared in the following manner-
1) Except for the thinly sliced mix all the other ingredients until they get properly blended.
2) Pour ½ of the mixture into a greased and floured tube pan. Then place the finely sliced apples on top of the mixture. Sprinkle some cinnamon sugar over the apples.
3) Take the remaining ½ of the mixture and spread it over the 1st layer of the mixture. Repeat the same process of placing apples and sprinkling sugar on the top.
4) Put this mix in the oven and allow it bake for around 1 ½ hours at 350°.
5) After the cake has baked at the required temperature keep it for cooling. Sprinkle confectioner’s sugar on the cake once it cools.
3) Honey and Nut Dessert-
a) Take 200g of fresh or dried dates
b) Take 50g coarsely ground nuts or stone pine kernels
c) Take some salt
d) Take honey, red wine or both to stew
1) Clean the dates by removing the stones out of the dates. After cleaning the dates, fill them with either nuts or stone pine kernels.
2) Sprinkle some salt on the stuffed dates and keep them for stewing. The dates can be stewed either in honey or in honey and sweetened red wine.
3) Stew the dates on low heat. Allow the dates to cook until the peal starts to come off.
4) Ancient Roman Cheesecake-
a) Take ½ cup plain flour
b) Take 1 cup ricotta cheese
c) Take 3 eggs
d) Take 15 bay leaves
e) Take ½ cup honey
f) Take 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and grated orange zest each.
1) Take a mixing bowl and pour the flour into it.
2) Beat the eggs and then add ricotta, honey, lemon juice and orange zest to it. Add this mixture to the flour and stir until the batter is mixed properly.
3) Grease a baking tray and place the bay leaves on it. Then pour the mixture over bay leaves on a baking tray.
4) Heat the oven to 425° F (220° C) and keep the mixture in the oven for around 35- 40 minutes until they look golden brown.
5) The cheesecake can be served warm or after it cools down.
6) Another way of presenting the cake would be to pour some warm honey on a plate and keep the cake on the honey. Let the cheesecake rest on the honey until it is absorbed.
5) Pear Souffle-
a) Take 1kg pears (peeled and cored)
b) Take 6 eggs
c) Take 4 tablespoon honey
d) Take 100ml sweet grape juice
e) Take a little bit of oil
f) Take ¼ teaspoon salt or 50ml Liquamen (a salty fish sauce)
g) Take ½ teaspoon ground cumin
h) Take some ground pepper to taste
1) Mix cooked and peeled pears (without core) with pepper, cumin, honey, sweet grape juice, Liquamen or salt and some oil.
2) Add eggs to the ingredients and place the mixture in a casserole.
3) Keep the mix for cooking for around ½ an hour on the low or moderate heat.
4) Sprinkle a little pepper over the souffle and then serve the souffle.
What ancient romans eat for dessert?
Ancient Romans were quite fond of sweets and would often enjoy desserts after their meals. Honey cakes and fried dough balls coated in honey were popular choices, as were little pastries filled with fruit. Romans also had a passion for ice cream, which was brought to the city by way of Alexander the Great’s conquest of Persia.
The ancient Romans ate a variety of desserts, including cakes, pies, cookies, pastries, and fruit. They also had a sweet wine called mulsum, which was popular as a dessert wine.
Did ancient Romans eat cake?
A traditional ancient Roman banquet would have begun with eggs and ended with fruit, and the final course was often accompanied by sweet desserts such as cake. The eggs would have been a light starter, followed by a variety of meats, vegetables, and fruits. The final course would have been a sweet dessert, such as cake orfruit.
The ancient Greeks made a cake called plakous which was flat and made from eggs, milk, nuts and honey. This cake may have reminded people of today’s baklava. The Romans made a similar cake called placenta. To the Romans, placenta was a cake fit for the gods!
What did the Romans eat for pudding
Some of the ancient Roman dessert recipes were: Savillum, Nutcake, Patina de piris, Libum, Gustum de praecoquis, Pepones et melones, Dulcia domestica, Aliter domestica.
Roman chefs made sweet buns flavored with blackcurrants and cheese cakes made with flour, honey, eggs, ricotta-like cheese and poppy seed. Sweet wine cakes were made with honey, reduced red wine and cinnamon.
Did the ancient Romans eat ice cream?
The first records of ice cream date back to the Roman age in Italy. It is believed that around 200 BC Quinto Fabio Massimo Valente imported the custom of accompanying sweet drinks or fruit with snow, to quench their thirst on the hottest days, from Egypt. In short, a sort of current sorbet.
The history of the doughnut goes back centuries, long before the discovery of the New World. In ancient Rome and Greece, cooks would fry strips of pastry dough and coat them with honey or fish sauce (eww!).
Did ancient Romans eat cookies?
The cookie with the hidden bean was a popular tradition during Saturnalia, and the person who found the bean was named the King of Saturnalia. The Romans cookies were different from those we enjoy now because they didn’t use butter or sugar, and they didn’t have baking soda or baking powder. Instead, they often substituted a sweet creamy cheese for butter and honey for sugar.
Archeo-cook Cristina Conte creates recipes from ancient Rome, including a cheesecake that was a handy snack for Romans. The cake was cut into cubes and eaten between meals.
What is a typical Roman pastry
Tozzetti are a type of biscotti, or twice-baked cookie, from Rome. They are typically studded with nuts and served with a sweet wine like passito or vin santo. To enjoy, dip the tozzetti in the wine to soften them before eating.
What was the Roman food starter main course and dessert?
The Greek meal typically begins with a small dish, such as a salad or small fish. The main course of fish, cooked meat and vegetables is served next. The dessert consists of fresh fruit and cheese, and sometimes small cakes sweetened with honey.
Fruit candies are a type of candy that is made from fruit. The most common type of fruit candy is made from figs, but they can also be made from apricots, cherries, and other fruits. To make fruit candy, the fruit is puréed or beaten and then allowed to dry into a flat sheet. The resulting candy is usually chewy and has a strong fruit flavor.
What was Roman favorite food
There are many different Roman foods that were favorites among the people. Some of these foods include fattened snails, dormice, pigeons, shellfish and game. For a typical Roman family, breakfast was usually a light meal that consisted of bread and fruit. The mid-day meal, or prandium, was usually a cold snack or a light dish of fish, eggs and vegetables.
The ancient Romans had a diet that was mainly composed of cereals, vegetables, legumes, and cheese. While meat and fish were consumed mostly by wealthier people, the majority of the population survived on a vegetarian diet. This allowed the ancient Romans to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle, which was essential for their imperial conquests.
Did the Romans eat pizza?
Pizza is a truly global food. It is believed to have originated in Italy, but today it is enjoyed by people all over the world. In the United States, pizza became popular in the early 20th century, and today it is one of the most popular foods in the country. Pizza is also popular in other parts of the world, including Latin America, Europe, and Asia.
Both cheese and butter are fermented food products made from milk. In the Roman and Celtic cultures, goat milk was favored over cow milk because it was more easily digested. Cheese and butter were the main uses for milk in these cultures.
Did Rome have desserts
The most common desserts during Roman times were fruit platters or small cakes made with honey. The Romans did not use sugar or butter in their desserts. Instead, they had candies made from dried fruit like figs. They also made soufflés and puddings, but these were not as popular as the fruit dishes.
The Roman’s didn’t really care for butter, but the Gaul’s loved it. Lard was used for some dishes and for baking pastries.
The ancient Romans ate a variety of desserts, including cakes, pies, pastries, fruits, and other sweet dishes.
Ancient Romans did not have a lot of options for dessert. Many people believe that the ancient Romans ate dormice, which are a type of mouse that is covered in honey and poppy seeds. Others believe that ancient Romans ate something called cream cheese, which is made from sour milk and ground almonds.
Ellen Hunter is a passionate historian who specializes in the history of Rome. She has traveled extensively throughout Europe to explore its ancient sites and monuments, seeking to uncover their hidden secrets.
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National French Toast Day 2023: Chefs share origin stories, interesting facts about French toast; how to make it
National French Toast Day is observed on November 28 every year to celebrate French toast, a delightful dessert that originated in the medieval age.
French toast , the delightful dessert, born in medieval Europe, continues to find approval by foodies across the world in its different avatars from sweet to savoury. It is traditionally made by soaking bread slices in a mixture of beaten eggs, milk, sugar and other spices, and frying till it turns crispy brown. The comforting breakfast dish has many origin stories associated with it. While some believed it originated in Rome, the other say it was born in Europe. French toast is eaten differently in different parts of the world. In Scotland, apparently sausage is sandwiched between two French toast slices. In America, it is made using Jewish challah bread as it’s thick enough to soak up all the custard and then it's served with butter, maple syrup and powdered sugar. The name French Toast first featured in Encyclopaedia of American Food and Drink in 1871. It is also known as German toast, eggy bread, French-fried bread, gypsy toast, Poor Knights of Windsor, Spanish toast, nun's toast, and pain perdu or 'lost bread' in French. (Also read | Recipe: Bring smiles to breakfast table with this scrumptious vegan French Toast)
"French toast is a dish of sliced bread soaked in beaten eggs and often milk or cream, cinnamon powder and sugar it’s has alternative names and variants include eggy bread, Bombay toast, freedom toast, gypsy toast. It's served as a sweet dish and sugar, vanilla, cinnamon are commonly added to it. It can be topped with fruits, Nutella or whipped cream and most commonly with maple syrup, icing sugar, and butter on top. French toast was invented by Joseph French in 1724. It got its current name through a grammatical error. He wanted to name it French's toast, but he forgot to include an apostrophe. He inadvertently left out the apostrophe and S. the phrase French Toast, first appeared in print in 1871," says Feroz Khan, Head Chef, Cray Craft.
"French toast is a classic toast made up of bread soaked in beaten eggs, milk, cream, butter and then pan fried. It has two versions - sweet and savoury. Sweet version includes sugar, fruits and syrup and the savoury version has salt and sauces. The savoury version is called the Bombay toast. French toast has many variations and is prepared differently in various countries. In India, it is also called as a Bombay toast since it was sold on the streets of Mumbai by the hawkers," says Chef Ganesh, Koa.
"Typically, you are supposed to use a day-old bread (while making French toast) because that is dry and will soak up more batter and won't crumble. Our version of French toast at Neuma, we use homemade Brioche bread which we dry for about one day and we served with vanilla ice-cream, pistachio cream and blueberry compote. We have a lot of variations worldwide. It's actually called the Bombay toast and there are two versions - savoury one where all the masala added in the egg batter and the bread is dipped and fan-fried and the other version is sweeter very similar to the crepe batter except the flour. The bread is dipped into it and is sweetened with honey. People tend to add jaggery also. It's a street food. Back in the day it was one of the easiest thing to make and that's why it is called the Bombay toast. A lot of people also say it's called so because it was available on the streets of Bombay 24/7 and 365 days a year," says Chef Hitesh Shanbhag, Neuma.
Recipe of French toast
Chef Feroz Khan shares an interesting recipe of French toast:
Whole milk - 100ml
Double cream - 50ml
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
Cinnamon powder - 1/2 tsp
Slices Brioche bread - 4
Oil - 3 tbsp
Icing sugar as required
Maple syrup 4 tbsp
1. Whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, vanilla and cinnamon. Lay the brioche slices in a single layer on shallow dish and the pour the mixture over them. Allow to soak for 1 minute, then carefully turn over and soak for 1 minute.
2. Heat 2 tbsp of the oil and butter in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat until foaming. Carefully lift 2 slices of the soaked brioche out of the dish and add to the frying pan.
3. Fry for 3 minutes on each side, until golden and crisp, and keep them on a wire rack over baking tray in a preheated oven to make nicely cook.
4. Serve it with maple syrup, butter on top and icing sugar garnish with berries. Don’t forget to share with your loved ones.
- Dessert Recipes
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Mouthwatering Desserts You Have To Try In Rome
Once you’ve taken note of where to find the best desserts in Rome , you’ll want to be prepared and know what to order while you’re eyeing sweets of all shapes, colors and flavors. Read on for our trips about the best Italian sweets you have to try in the Eternal City. Did you know – Culture Trip now does bookable, small-group trips? Pick from authentic, immersive Epic Trips , compact and action-packed Mini Trips and sparkling, expansive Sailing Trips .
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Perhaps the most classic Italian dessert, you’ll find tiramisu on the menu all over the country and in nearly every restaurant in Rome . Traditionally made with savoiardi biscuits seeped in coffee and then layered in between layers of mascarpone cheese and topped with cocoa powder, the dessert is rich, creamy and has a kick from the caffeine. The word tiramisu in fact means “life me up”. There are many variations in the capital and it’s common to find modern takes on the dessert, such as deconstructed tiramisu or creative adaptations, like one featuring amaretto cookies and marsala liquor. You’ll also often find fruit and nut variants, such as pistacchio tiramisu or mixed berry tiramisu.
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Who doesn’t love cream puffs? Contrary to popular belief, this delicious dessert originated in Italy and was introduced in France in the 16th century by Catherine de’ Medici, the wife of Henry II. Italian profiteroles (more often referred to by their French name, choux à la crème ) are made of a light pastry that is traditionally filled with pastry cream or whipped cream, then drizzled with chocolate ganache. Pasticceria Regoli near Piazza Vittorio makes a great version of the sweet, as does Pasticceria De Bellis in Trastevere.
Although this is a traditional Sicilian sweet, you can find cannoli throughout Italy. This tube-shaped pastry is filled with a sweet ricotta and either candied fruits or chocolate chips, then dusted with powdered sugar. There are many variants, including chocolate or pistacchio cannoli and are fairly ubiquitous at pastry shops around town. A great bet for Sicilian sweets is Pasticceria Dagnino inside the Galleria Esedra near Termini Train Station , or I Dolci Di Nonna Vincenza near Campo de’ Fiori.
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This popular dessert is enjoyed throughout the world and can often be found on menus in Rome. Creme Caramel is a type of soft pudding made with a custard base with a caramel layer. It is different than creme brulee which has a thick, burnt caramel layer. The overarching flavor is a comforting vanilla, so it’s beloved by all ages and often prepared at home because it requires few ingredients. Sometimes it is infused with orange or coffee for a spin on the favorite treat.
Gelateries are ubiquitous in Italy and Rome practically has one on every corner. Each gelaterie has your standard flavors such as chocolate, crema and stracciatella but some get truly creative with their concoctions. The artisanal gelato chain Fatamorgana is popular for unique combinations such as lavender with camomile, rice with vanilla and banana with lime. Chocolate shop Venchi makes an excellent cremino , with gianduja and hazelnuts and Giolitti in Testaccio serves up the city’s best zabaione flavor with egg yolks and Sicilian marsala wine.
This indulgent dessert is perfect for chocolate lovers and is a famous treat to order at the Tre Scalini Bar within Piazza Navona. The tartufo is so-named because it resembles the prized truffle mushrooms that are gathered in Italy’s countryside. The dessert consists of hand-rolled ice cream covered in cocoa powder, making it look like something that has been unearthed, though it undoubtedly tastes better than it looks. It traditionally comes in two flavors: nero, meaning black which is a dark and milk chocolate flavor, or bianco, meaning white which is a white chocolate flavor.
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