Buon autunno! Today is the first day of Fall and I am so excited for the best part of the season, in my opinion, desserts! While I love apple pie and apple cider donuts, this time of year always has me nostalgic for the Tuscan classics that I enjoyed every autumn during my years in Italy. These desserts are easily found in bakeries, supermarkets and restaurants throughout Tuscany in September through November, however, I have yet to spot them on a menu on this side of the Atlantic (not even at Eataly!). I could scour the City and gather the ingredients to make them… challenge me and I’ll do it!
Schiacciata con l’uva: This is a slightly sweet focaccia bread made with small, juicy seeded red wine grapes. The seeds give the soft but toothsome focaccia a little crunch and bursts of dense juice in every bite. It traditionally calls for anise seed, but it can be left out if you’re not into the licorice hint.
Castagnaccio: An almost savory dessert made with chestnut flour, raisins, pine nuts, rosemary and olive oil. It’s soft, but not cakey, a bit dense, so start with a small piece and pair with a sweet vino passito.
Crostata con i fichi: Ah, I miss fresh figs! I used to just pick them off trees on the NYU campus in Florence for a snack between classes. This fresh fig tart is the epitome of delizioso! The shortcrust pastry can be filled with either green or black figs, enjoy with a scoop of gelato alla vaniglia!
Sbricciolata alla mela: Apples might not be the first fruit that comes to mind when you think of Italian produce, but they are grown in the northern regions of Piedmont, Valle d’Aosta and Alto-Adige. Sbricciolare means “to crumble”, so imagine a crunchy crumb cake on the outside with a soft appley center. Add a dash of cinnamon and some lemon zest and you have the perfect dessert for this “in-between” season.
Which fall-flavored sweet treat entices you the most? Which ones would you like to learn to make yourself? These are traditional autumn recipes that Italians have approved for generations – any one of them would be a total showstopper at your next gathering with friends or family. So put on your grembiule (apron) and let’s cook!
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