Creamy Chocolate Gelato
This ultra-chocolaty, dairy-free Sicilian-style gelato--made without eggs or cream--is relatively lean but still creamy-smooth and flavorful. The coconut milk used for the base gives it a silky, rich mouthfeel and a subtle coconut flavor.
Italian Hazelnut Cookies
These crispy cookies are made with Piedmontese staples--hazelnuts and eggs--and called Brutti Ma Buoni: literally, “Ugly But Good.” But they are really more plain-looking than “ugly,” and pack a powerful, sweet, nutty burst of flavor, making them welcome at any table.
Astoundingly good for minimal effort, this makes an indulgent weekend breakfast or anyday dessert. A judicious smear of mascarpone (half the fat of butter) is part of the luxury, but even lighter low-fat cream cheese will work as well. The real secret is warming the berries just enough to make the flavor bloom and transform their juices into a rosy syrup.
A creamy, honey-scented mascarpone filling makes this fresh fig recipe luxurious, yet still lets the fruit be the star. Serve these pretty stuffed figs to top off a special meal.
Castagnaccio (Chestnut Cake)
Sweets not your thing? This cake, a specialty of northern Italy, is almost savory, flavored with rosemary and pine nuts, and gets just a touch of sweetness from plumped raisins, with no added sugar. Chestnut flour tends to clump together, so for the best texture don't skip the sifting step. This recipe is part of Brooke Siem's Grandmother Project. Learn more about this recipe and other recipes Siem learned to make in the article How Cooking Connected One Chef with Grandmothers Across the World.