Peach & Saffron Budino


We had a gathering over at my house one Christmas and received so many panettoni from guests. So one morning I decided to do something different with one of them. This is what I came up with. What I discovered is how diverse it could be. We ended up having it for dessert with a scoop of gelato from our market…Amazing! Or feel free to finish it with a drizzle of your favorite sauce or syrup. As well, my husband and I enjoyed it for breakfast one morning with an espresso.
The possibilities are endless!


Italian Honey Balls- Traditionally served at Carnevale & Holidays

Crostata di Fragola

I will share my recipe with you IF you promise to ONLY make this when fresh, local strawberries are in season! It is really the only way to fully appreciate this recipe. If you oblige then read on….oh and this crostata should be eaten the day it’s made otherwise the pasta frolla crust gets soggy so share with those you love.
Nonna’s Notes: I only make this recipe, when strawberries are in-season. The window is short starting in Mid-May to Mid-June, but it makes all the difference in this recipe! Be sure to use an organic lemon, this way you know the rind is free of fungicides and pesticides.

Directions Pasta Frolla- Cut the butter into cubes and place into freezer For about 10 minutes.

Into the food processor place the flour, Powdered sugar, salt And the inside scraped seeds of one vanilla bean. Save the vanilla bean pod for the filling. Process until fine crumbs form. Add the ice cold butter and pulse Until well Incorporated. Gradually add the egg and process until the dough just comes together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface need lightly until smooth, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate to rest for 1 to 2 hours at the most.

Directions Strawberry Filling- In the meantime make the filling. It’s best to only make this recipe when strawberries are in season, it is a short season but it’s worth it and makes all the difference in this cristata, to be honest I do not bother making this when it is not strawberry season. I find the strawberries to be too watery and not flavorful enough. Combine only half of the berries (just 5 cups hold) in A sauce pan with the granulated sugar’s ass juice of a lime and lemon and the vanilla bean pod that has been saved from the pasta Frolla. Stir over medium high heat until the sugar dissolves then turn down the heat stirring in casually until thick and resembling jam approximately 15 minutes. When it’s jam like and not watery but more syrupy remove from heat and remove the zest and the vanilla bean pod, set aside to cool completely.Preheat oven to 350°F.

Grab your fluted pan and half of the pasta Frolla dough. Leave rest in the fridge. Keep the saran wrap just on the top of the go and use your hands to gently press in to the pan you will want to completely cover the bottom as well as all the way up the sides. The heat from your hands will start to melt the dough so you will need to work rather quickly. When you are done put the entire pan back into the refrigerator. I prefer to make my lattice on a piece of parchment paper and then flip it on to the crostata, this way if I mess up my dough strips won’t get all jammy and sticky. Grab a 16” long piece of parchment paper, Lightly dusted with flour and use a rolling pin to roll out the remaining dough into about a 15” x 15” square. Using your pastry cutter make 3/4” wide strips. Place back in refrigerator. Be very gentle with the dough and keep in mind that it gets warm very quickly you may have to do this in steps, I had to keep putting it back in the refrigerator between cutting strips. While you wait for the dough to get cold again, Grab your cooked strawberry filling And fold in the remaining 5 cups of fresh cut strawberries. Place all of the strawberry mixture into fluted pan and put back in refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 350F.

Grab another 16 inch long piece of parchment paper and assemble your lattice on it. Muster up your best Julia child “Don’t be afraid!” courage and in one fell swoop flip the lattice on top of the strawberry filled crostata bottom.

Whisk remaining egg with 2 tablespoons of water and place this egg wash on the lattice. Sprinkle on the demerera sugar.

Place crostata pan on another sheet pan for added support and bake for approximately 45 to 55 minutes. It should look golden brown and the edges should be well set.

Cool completely in pan before serving. This is crostata is best eaten on the day you make it.

Nonna’s Italian Cookies

Feel free to mix up the flavors, sometimes I use vanilla & almond extract, sometimes anise oil, sometimes I will grate in orange and lemon zest. Make them your own and make Nonna proud!

4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temp
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
3 tablespoons milk

To make the icing, cream together the confectioners’ sugar, 1/2 cup butter, and 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 teaspoon almond extracts. Beat in 3 tablespoons milk, one tablespoon at a time. Top with sprinkles.

Sicilian Orange Cookies with Glaze

This is a beloved traditional family recipe from my husband’s side of family. I wanted to “clean up” the recipe so to speak, and began experimenting with ways to make it a little healthier. I didn’t want to use Crisco and instead found that Coconut Oil works beautifully. Since the entire orange is used, including zest, it’s important your oranges are untreated with fungicide/pesticide, so buy organic! Lastly if you can’t find Fior di Sicilia, it’s ok to combine a good quality vanilla extract and orange oil to create it. The result is outstanding! A natural, fresh, REAL orange cookie!


Maria Teresa’s Sticky Buns

When I say I dreamt of this recipe, I mean it literally! I went to bed one night and rolled these beauties out in my dreams, right before waking I was frosting them and could smell them! I woke up and wrote it down. I googled it to see if anyone had already thought of (or dreamed of) this and didn’t see anything. Can it be? So I played with the recipe and yummmmy…..dreams really do come true! The base is The Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon roll dough recipe, which is just perfection. The Tiramisu part comes in with the filling and topping of buns….crazy good. While you are on the Pioneer Woman website, check out the way she rolls her rolls!


In Altomonte we fry these light, airy cookies topped with powdered sugar for every wedding, baptism, communion or any celebration for that matter. In the North, they are used to celebrate Carnevale.

Nonna’s Notes:
You will need a manual pasta machine for this recipe.
Also a pastry edger makes for a pretty finish.
Crack eggs one at a time into a little cup before adding into large batch.
This way, if you get a bad egg, you won’t spoil the rest.
Keep the dough and nocche covered in plastic (we like to use a plain, clear & clean trashbag) unless you are working it, this will prevent drying out.
You don’t want them to dry out, because they won’t puff up as nicely when frying.
You may also use a stand mixer fitted with a hook attachment instead of hand kneading.

You want to bring the dough thickness down to that of a dime.

And you want to do this in stages.
All machines vary, we ran it through at the thickest setting of #1, twice.
Then setting #2, twice.
At this point you may want to cut the dough in half or thirds to make it easier to manage.
Finally setting #4, just once.

Lay the long newly pressed sheet onto a dry board and using your pastry edger cut long, 2″-3″ strips, each with a 1.5″ slit in the middle

Fold the dough in on itself to form a ‘bow’ and place on dry cookie sheet.

You will want to keep the cookie sheet covered the entire time so that the nocche don’t dry out.
In a deep, heavy-bottom pan (cast iron Dutch oven works great and holds heat well), heat oil to 350 degrees F.
Using a scrap of dough, test oil. When it’s ready it will puff up and float to top.
Fry until golden, remove from oil and place in a colander in a bowl with paper towels in-between to absorb excess oil.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.