Italian Dessert Recipes

In Gino’s words, ‘a good meal should always be followed by a good dessert’  –  and it’s hard to argue with that! There are so many incredible Italian dessert recipes to choose from … where do we start?

For a truly traditional selection of recipes for Italian desserts, the great range of ideas from Gino D’Acampo has everything you need. The classic Italian desserts are covered, including Gino’s twist on an Italian tiramisu recipe (this time using cherry liqueur), an Italian pannacotta recipe made with Baileys  –  and his mother-in-law’s family recipe for an apple and rhubarb frangipane pudding. Yum!

As well as the sugar-laden (but completely delicious) treats, there are also a whole host of healthy Italian dessert recipes you can enjoy, including gelatina di frutta e vino dolce (summer berries in a sweet wine jelly), pesche grigliate con salsa di cioccolato, (grilled vanilla peaches with butterscotch sauce) and the perennial favourite Italian dessert recipe, fresh lemon sorbet!

You can find a full range of the very best recipes for Italian desserts in Gino’s best-selling recipe books or you can find a selection of great ideas below. Gino’s books are full of quick Italian dishes – like great pizza recipes, authentic pasta recipes and Italian beef and chicken ideas – and provide inspiration and guidance in equal measure! Time to start cooking!

DessertGet Inspired

ZABAIONE AL LIMONCELLO CON FRAGOLEZabaione with Limoncello & Strawberries

Zabaione is an old Venetian dessert traditionally made with Marsala wine (or sometimes vin santo), but here I’ve given it a southern Italian twist by using limoncello – a lemon-flavoured liqueur that is produced mainly in Campania. It’s made from Amalfi lemons, which are famous for their wonderful sweet flavour and fragrance and exceptionally large size. Raspberries are equally delicious with...

6

Serves

6

Ingredients

Strawberries

Main Ingredient
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COPPETTE DI FRAGOLE, MASCARPONE E LIMONCELLOStrawberry & Mascarpone Tarts with Limoncello

For me, limoncello is the scent and flavour of home. Traditionally, this citrus liqueur is made from the best lemons in the world – Sorrento lemons. In Italy it is a hugely popular drink, with many people in the south making their own version. It’s really strong, about 40% proof, so you only need a small amount. Here, limoncello is mixed with creamy Italian cheeses and fresh seasonal strawberries...

4

Serves

10

Ingredients

Strawberries

Main Ingredient
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PastieraRaspberry & Orange Baked Cheesecake

This is quite an old-fashioned recipe from my home patch, and I must admit, I wasn’t a huge fan of it when growing up (probably because of all the fruit and lack of chocolate), but now I really appreciate all the flavours and how well they work together. My grandfather, Giovanni, used to make this at Easter and now I carry on the tradition.

8

Serves

11

Ingredients
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Torta di Polenta con Arance e CointreauPolenta Cake with Oranges & Cointreau

This is such a beautiful cake to enjoy in the afternoon with a cup of coffee or tea. Alternatively, serve it with a dollop of mascarpone on the side as a dessert. My kids, however, won’t thank me for this recipe as they think every dessert should be about chocolate! You can substitute the Cointreau with a citrusy Limoncello if you prefer.

8

Serves

11

Ingredients
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Dolce con pere e bananePear & Banana Sweet Bread

My wife often used to go out and buy small brioches or sweet breads as a snack for the kids, until I created this recipe; now my pear and banana bread is baked at least once every ten days in the D’Acampo household. The process is so quick and easy but the effect is very wow. It is absolutely delicious and never lasts more than twenty-four hours in our house. We’ve eaten it for breakfast, snacks...

6

Serves

10

Ingredients
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Panna Cotta al BaileysBaileys Panna Cotta

Like most great concoctions, this dessert was created by chance when my wife bought a bottle of Baileys liqueur for one of our dinner guests. I thought I’d try it in the panna cotta I was making... All I can say is 'wow'!

6

Serves

6

Ingredients
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Gelato facile all'amarenaEasy Sour Cherry Ice Cream with Amaretto Sauce

Sour cherries (also known as tart cherries) are smaller and softer than sweet cherries. Although they are sometimes eaten fresh, in Italy – where Morello is the most popular variety – sour cherries are usually used in jams, jellies, sorbets and ice creams. This particular ice cream contains condensed milk, which gives a creamy, smooth texture without churning – a bit of a cheat, but no one need...

6

Serves

6

Ingredients

Cherries

Main Ingredient
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Musse di cioccolato fondente e frutti di boscoDark Chocolate Mousse With Summer Fruits

Some of the best chocolate in Italy comes from the northern city of Turin, the capital of Piedmont, where chocolate-making has been established since the late 18th century. At this time, Italy exported its chocolate to France, Germany, Austria and Switzerland; indeed, it was the famous Turin based firm Cafarel that inspired the Swiss to start making chocolate on a commercial scale. Rich chocolate desserts...

8

Serves

9

Ingredients

Chocolate

Main Ingredient
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Soufflé Di Banane e CioccolatoBanana & Chocolate Soufflé

In our family, the combination of chocolate and banana is a big winner, especially in pancakes or cupcakes, so I created this soufflé just for a change. It's really easy to prepare, and also works well with strawberries or raspberries.

8

Serves

7

Ingredients
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CuccioloneChocolate Ice Cream Sandwich

Chocolate ice cream sandwiched between two cookies – what more do you need from life?! Kids love cucciolone, and in my experience they really enjoy getting involved in making them too. You can use any cookies you like for cucciolone. Here I used choc chip cookies, which worked very well. I’ve also tried the same recipe with peanut and caramel cookies and it was delicious.

12

Serves

6

Ingredients

Chocolate

Main Ingredient
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Torta Speziata Con Uva E Scorza D'AranciaSpiced Grape Cake With Orange Zest

Grape cake is a rustic Italian bake, which is traditionally made during the grape harvest when the fruits are in abundance. It can be eaten at any time of day – even as a dessert with a glass of Vin Santo. The combination of butter and oil makes this a really light cake and very, very moreish.

10

Serves

12

Ingredients

Grapes

Main Ingredient
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Torta di mele e rosmarinoApple & Rosemary Cake

As I was filming in the region of Trentino-Alto Adige I discovered that many locals have their own secret recipe for the perfect apple cake. The film crew and I were constantly trying different recipes and this is the one we all agreed is the best. Thank you to chef Stefano from Ristorante Pellegrino for sharing his secret recipe with me – and now with you too.

8

Serves

11

Ingredients

Apples

Main Ingredient
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Ciambelline al limone e vino biancoLemon & White Wine Biscuits

A speciality of northern Italy, these delicious biscuits are often served as an Easter treat. I have tried them with red wine and they work well too. If you have any biscuits left over, store them in an airtight container – they will last up to a week. Serve with a dessert wine.

7

Ingredients

Lemon

Main Ingredient
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Coppette di anguriaWatermelon Puddings

Watermelon pudding is a traditional dessert from Sicily’s capital, Palermo. It’s usually eaten during the three-day feast of Santa Rosalina in July. It generally includes only three ingredients – watermelon, sugar and cornflour – but the garnishes vary from area to area, ranging from cinnamon, jasmine and pistachios to chocolate chips (which are thought to resemble watermelon seeds). Although...

6

Serves

7

Ingredients

Watermelon

Main Ingredient
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Torrone sardoSardinian Nougat

Nougat is sold in the street markets in most towns in Sardinia and the variations on offer are vast. The one I have chosen to feature in this book is the classic and most popular version and, in my opinion, the best. You can store it in an airtight container for up to a week, but don’t put it in the fridge as it will become soft and very sticky.

6

Ingredients
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FrisciolasSaffron & Potato Doughnuts With Vodka & Orange

Carnival celebrations in Sardinia wouldn’t be the same without frisciolas – these delicious little saffron-flavoured doughnuts made from potatoes and dusted with orange-flavoured sugar. You can substitute the orange zest for lemon or lime zest, and amaretto and Cointreau work well instead of vodka if you prefer. Perfect with espresso.

11

Ingredients

Potato

Main Ingredient
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Pesche al forno ripiene di amaretti, noci e uva passaBaked Peaches Stuffed With Amaretti Biscuits, Walnuts & Raisins

The area around Mount Etna yields peaches that taste as though they must have come from the Garden of Eden. Their flavour intensifies with cooking, and in this dish the amaretti biscuits and walnuts give a crumbly, crunchy texture, the raisins add sweetness and the buttery juices flavoured with amaretto, wine and cinnamon are simply irresistible. Serve hot with vanilla ice cream.

4

Serves

11

Ingredients

Peaches

Main Ingredient
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Banane Al CaramelloSticky Banana and Chocolate Tart

What a fantastic way to end a meal. So far, I don’t think I’ve met anyone, especially children, who doesn’t like this recipe. I promise you that once you’ve made this dish and realise how easy it is to do, it will become a favourite. My tip would be to make sure that you bake the tart in the middle of a preheated oven to avoid the pastry burning. If you have to, you can replace the bananas...

6

Serves

7

Ingredients

Chocolate

Main Ingredient
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Torta di cioccolato e fragoleChocolate & Fresh Strawberry Cake

Italians from the south don’t bake cakes all that often but my sister Marcella makes this for me whenever I visit and I love it. The combination of moist chocolate cake and fresh strawberries is wonderful and I can never only have one slice; in fact there is always a fight over who gets the last piece (I normally win!) The cake is also fantastico made with raspberries!

8

Serves

11

Ingredients

Chocolate

Main Ingredient
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Torta di Pane al CioccolatoChocolate and Rum Bread & Butter Pudding

To tell you the truth I am such a big fan of bread and butter pudding that I had to create my own version of this great dish. The rum with the chocolate is absolutely divine and with a pinch of cinnamon, it's a marriage made in heaven. My only tip for this recipe is to make sure that it rests into the fridge for at least six hours before cooking – this will give you a fantastic soufflé effect when...

6

Serves

9

Ingredients

Chocolate

Main Ingredient
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Zuccotto Al MarsalaChocolate and Hazelnut Ice Cream in a Marsala Sponge Shell

For those of you who have never made an ice cream cake, you will probably think that it would be impossible to tackle at home. That is just not the case - you will be surprised at just how easy it is! This is a traditional northern Italian cake that will satisfy you in every way. You can substitute the Marsala wine with Port or a dessert wine if you prefer, and do buy good quality chocolate as it will...

8

Serves

11

Ingredients

Chocolate

Main Ingredient
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Torta Al CaffeCoffee and Ricotta Tart

Every Italian loves coffee but I have decided to dedicate this recipe to my good friend Peter Andre. I have never met another man that loves coffee more than I do, so this delicious coffee and ricotta tart is especially for those of you who are like us. The creamy ricotta cheese paired with the strong coffee is amazing.

10

Serves

14

Ingredients
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Mousse Di Cioccolato Bianco E Pepe NeroWhite Chocolate Mousse with Black Pepper & Fresh Mint

I know that this may sound very strange to you, using black pepper in a white chocolate mousse, but believe you me, this is a dessert that all your friends will talk about. This recipe is easy, very tasty and definitely has the 'wow' factor, but make sure you use a good quality chocolate. You can also serve it straight from the freezer like a semi-freddo.

6

Serves

5

Ingredients

Chocolate

Main Ingredient
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Fragole, Amaretto e MandorleStrawberries and Almonds with Amaretto Liqueur and Greek Yoghurt

Strawberries are on sale in supermarkets all year round but more often than not, the flavour isn't good unless they are in season. This recipe is perfect for those months when the berries are lacking their full taste and sweetness, as the Amaretto and honey add that extra something the fruit needs. This is a lovely refreshing dessert that will look really impressive if served in cocktail glasses.

4

Serves

6

Ingredients

Strawberries

Main Ingredient
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Strudel Italiano ClassicoClassic Italian Apple Strudel

This dessert is usually associated with Germany and Austria, but it is also often prepared in the northern regions of Italy. Although the classic strudel is made with apples, it can also be made with other fruit fillings such as cherries, peaches or pears, depending on the time of year and what fruit is in season. A fantastic dessert that can be eaten warm or cold, as a pudding or served at teatime....

6

Serves

11

Ingredients

Apples

Main Ingredient
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Torta Leggera al LimoneSuper-Light Lemon Sponge Cake

There is nothing better than having a cup of tea in the afternoon with a piece of homemade cake and I find a light lemon cake leaves me feeling satisfied, because I’ve had a treat and feel pampered but I don’t feel too full before dinner. I have created many variations of lemon cakes but this one gives you an option of a delicious cake that is incredibly low in fat and calories without compromising...

16

Serves

7

Ingredients

Lemon

Main Ingredient
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Bellini in GelatinaFresh Blackberry and Prosecco Jelly

This has to be the most stylish and yet easy dessert that you will ever make. Not only can you use this dish as a dessert, but you can also serve it as a great aperitif. You can substitute the Prosecco for a good Champagne and if you don’t want to use blackberries, you can use fresh strawberries. If you want to make fresh strawberry purée, just blitz 50g of fresh strawberries with 1 tablespoon of...

6

Serves

6

Ingredients

Blackberries

Main Ingredient
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Granita al LimoncelloLimoncello and Lime Granita

If you decide to prepare a fishy starter and want to follow it with a meat dish, the problem that you will find is that during the main course you will still be able to taste the fish. Well, I have the solution – serve my granita just after the starter and it will cleanse your palate ready for the main course. A fantastic, refreshing sorbet that is also great on a hot day with a barbecue.

4

Serves

4

Ingredients

Lemon

Main Ingredient
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Creamy chocolate rice pot with raspberries and almondsRisotto al Cioccolato

This recipe is dedicated to my son Rocco. On holiday he surprised me by going to get a huge bowl of rice pudding for breakfast. I was chuffed to bits as normally he’s a chocoholic, but he soon ruined the illusion by pulling out six pots of chocolate spread, which he proceeded to stir into the rice. After that, he tucked in, finishing the lot. I was allowed a taste and had to admit that it was very...

2

Serves

7

Ingredients

Chocolate

Main Ingredient
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Zuccotto panettone e MarsalaPanettone, Chocolate and Marsala

This is such an impressive-looking dessert and makes a great end to any kind of meal. You can be as creative as you like in flavouring the cream. In previous experiments I have mixed it with fruit, chocolate bits and pieces of marshmallow, but frankly I prefer this simpler version.

8

Serves

8

Ingredients

Chocolate

Main Ingredient
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Tiramisu con ciliegeCherry Tiramisu

If I asked you to name one Italian dessert , I guarantee the vast majority would say tiramisu. However, not everybody likes the coffee that the biscuits are traditionally soaked in, so my version – inspired by a trip to the cherry orchards of Castello, where Ciro and his family grow wonderful fruit – uses liqueur instead. If making this for children, just leave out the booze and cook the cherries...

4

Serves

9

Ingredients

Cherries

Main Ingredient
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La Caprese di zia RitaMy Auntie Rita’s Pistachio and Chocolate Cake

Sometimes my Auntie Rita made this cake for me and my sister as an after-school treat. It's great for teatime, perfect as a dessert, and amazing if you have any gluten-free friends coming round.

8

Serves

6

Ingredients

Chocolate

Main Ingredient
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Mezzalune Dolci Ripiene Di Ricotta Con Cioccolato, Arancia E NoccioleSweet Pasta filled with Ricotta, Hazelnuts, Orange and Chocolate

We love our pasta in Italy - so much so that we like to eat it for dessert too! These little halfmoon-shaped pasta treats are perfect eaten at the end of a meal or with coffee or a chilled glass of sweet white wine. The combination of nuts, honey and chocolate make them very rich and perfect for festive entertaining.

4

Serves

14

Ingredients

Cheese

Main Ingredient
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