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PIGNOLI COOKIES

These are my number one absolute favorite cookie of all time. They remind me of childhood. They remind me of good times during the holidays. It reminds me of the massive gatherings during the holidays with family and amaretto is my favorite flavor. Pignoli means “pine nuts” in Italian hence the pine nuts topped on these unique cookies. They’re most commonly found in Sicily but you can pretty much find them anywhere during the holidays. Because pine nuts are expensive and so is almond paste (the main ingredient), these are typically made only during the holiday season or a special occasion.

While pignoli cookies are a more of a luxury to make than your typical average cookie, they are super easy to make and require not a whole lot of time at all. The outside should have a light crusty crunch that leads you to a center right under the pine nuts to a chewy bite that will melt in our mouth like heaven! If you love almond paste, amaretto (almond) liqueurs then without a doubt you’ll be wanting to make these every year.

When you’re making the dough, you’ll come to find that it’s very sticky and difficult to use a spoon to place the cookies on a baking sheet without creating a big ole mess. So, save yourself the TIME & STRESS and go buy yourself a medium-sized cookie dough scooper (holds about 1.5 tablespoons in a scoop)! You can find these almost anywhere nowadays. I got mine through Amazon Prime for about $6 and it showed up in two days. The OXO Good Grips brand for this particular baking tool is fantastic and does not rust!

Print Recipe
PIGNOLI COOKIES
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Have ready two large cookie sheets lined with parchment paper and a medium cookie dough scooper (1.5 tablespoons).
  2. Crumble up the almond paste with your fingers into a bowl of a standing mixer. Then, run it through together with the sugar until it’s almost incorporated (It will appear as pebbles covered in sugar).
  3. Add one egg white at a time until the dough smoothes out. Then, add in the powdered sugar, flour, and almond extract until it’s well mixed together. The dough will appear sticky and very moist.
  4. Use the cookie dough scooper to place the cookie dough onto a cookie sheet. Cover the top of each one with pine nuts (about 15-20 pine nuts each).
  5. Bake at 350 F degree for about 10 - 12 minutes or until the bottom edges are golden.

ORANGE RICOTTA POUND CAKE

In the last year or so I’ve stumbled upon a couple of my favorite food blogs that I love to follow regularly. They’re great insight to dishes that I thought I would never give the time of day to try making. You would be surprised how often dishes are so easy to make that otherwise lead you to believe require many painful hours in the kitchen. One of my favorite food blogs is Ariel Rebel’s Zesty and Spicy (www.ZestyAndSpicy.com) She’s the sweetest person I’ve had the chance to get to know recently and has a plethora of easy recipes for just about any category you can think of. She proves anyone can bake, her entrees are elegant, clean, and super flavorful. The incredible desserts that look like a work of art are very simple to make! So of course I went to her rescue for dessert ideas.

This pound cake is not your traditional pound cake but it’s simply perfect for transitioning into Spring time. It’s dense and moist with a very refreshing flavor of the orange juice and zest, the ground cardamom really compliments the citrus by enhancing the flavors. For me, it was perfect the way it turned out as is… so I set aside some for the coming days, hehe.

But because I had guests coming over I have never met before I wanted to sweeten it up a little bit with my Italian touch by making a Ricotta Whipped Cream topped with Orange Juice Macerated Strawberries. Forgive me please for I have turned a perfectly… perfect recipe and made it gluttonous. It went over quite well even though we all over ate dinner. Let’s just say plates were clean.

Ariel says you can toast this with butter on top or serve it with ice cream. Even with your afternoon/evening tea. Um YES PLEASE!!! How can you go wrong with ricotta in pound cake? Ugh. It’s just brilliant. I hope you all enjoy this as much as I can’t shut up about it LOL

Print Recipe
ORANGE RICOTTA POUND CAKE
Servings
loaf
Ingredients
POUND CAKE
ORANGE MACERATED STRAWBERRIES
RICOTTA WHIPPED CREAM
Servings
loaf
Ingredients
POUND CAKE
ORANGE MACERATED STRAWBERRIES
RICOTTA WHIPPED CREAM
Instructions
POUND CAKE
  1. Grease and flour a 10" x 4" bread pan and pre-heat the oven to 350 F degrees.
  2. In a large bowl sift the flour, add the baking powder, and ground cardamom. Mix with a whisk.
  3. Place the ricotta, sugar, butter, vanilla extract, and orange zest in a bowl of a standing mixer with the whisk attachment (or hand mixer) starting on low for a few a seconds and then to medium speed until everything is smooth. Once smooth add one egg at a time including the egg white.
  4. Reduce the speed to slow and start adding the flour mixture into the mixer in three parts. Then slowly pour the orange juice until everything is smooth.
  5. Pour the mixture into the bread pan and bake for about an hour. Or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center by poking it.
ORANGE MACERATED STRAWBERRIES
  1. Stir everything together in a glass bowl, cover and refrigerate until read to serve.
RICOTTA WHIPPED CREAM
  1. Place everything into a bowl of a mixer with a whisk attachment. Let it whisk on high until the cream thickens and forms a soft peak at the bottom of the whisk.
ASSEMBLE
  1. Slice the pound cake into 1/2 inch slices and lay onto a plate. Put your desired amount of ricotta whipped cream on top of the pound cake and garnish everything with the strawberries. Use the juice in the strawberries to drizzle on top of everything.