16 Bellissimi Italian Desserts

From a sophisticated, orange-infused olive oil cake to a scoop of creamy-cold gelato, the desserts of Italy are worth a second look. Sweet but not too sweet, they’re the perfect end to an authentic Italian meal — but they’re also perfect as a midday snack, paired with a strong cup of coffee or a nip of crisp white wine.

Olive Oil Gelato

Smooth, grassy, and slightly savory, this rich olive oil gelato makes for an elegant dessert—we love it topped with a sprinkle of sea salt. Get the recipe for Olive Oil Gelato »

Vanilla-Rum Custard (La Tarte)

The creaminess of this classic vanilla custard gains an edge with the addition of light rum. Get the recipe for Vanilla-Rum Custard (La Tarte) »

Rainbow Cookies

Almond pastry filling in place of the almond paste typically used to make these cookies results in a lighter, moister cookie. Get the recipe for Rainbow Cookies »

Pistachio Gelato

This delectable Italian specialty is cool, creamy, lightly nutty, and especially delicious when paired with our Chocolate Gelato. Get the recipe for Pistachio Gelato »

Pine Nut Cookies (Pignoli)

These chewy almond meringue cookies, speckled with pine nuts, are a favorite holiday cookie of former SAVEUR managing editor Greg Ferro. This recipe is based off one by cookbook author Nick Malgieri. Get the recipe for Pine Nut Cookies (Pignoli) »

St. Joseph’s Day Fritters

These crunchy Sicilian fritters are topped with a cinnamon-ricotta filling. Get the recipe for St. Joseph's Day Fritters »

Amaretti Peach Tart (Crostata di Pesche Cotte e Amaretti)

Soft, very ripe peaches work best in the filling for this summery tart from Piedmont home cook Maddalena Bellorini. Get the recipe for Amaretti Peach Tart (Crostata di Pesche Cotte e Amaretti) »

Budi de Pan (Neapolitan Bread Pudding)

After flan, bread pudding is perhaps the most popular dessert in Argentina, often enjoyed alongside a cup of coffee. This Italian-inspired version, which first appeared in the iPad edition of our October 2013 issue, is on the lighter side, with fresh hints of citrus. Get the recipe for Budi de Pan (Neapolitan Bread Pudding) »

Muscat-Spiked Zabaglione

In Italian, sbaglione means big mistake. This popular dessert may have been "mistakenly" invented, probably in Florence—though it is usually made with marsala, the famous sweet wine of Sicily. Get the recipe for Muscat-Spiked Zabaglione »

Lemon Granita

Like a frozen lemonade, this refreshing dessert is achieved with little more than lemon juice, sugar, and time. Get the recipe for Lemon Granita »

Chocolate Almond Cookies (Strazzate)

Featured in our book Best Cookies, these traditional crumbly cookies from the Basilicata region of Italy are flavored with Strega, an Italian herbal liqueur, but Galliano, which can be found in most liquor stores, is a fine substitute. Get the recipe for Chocolate Almond Cookies (Strazzate) »

Orange-Scented Olive Oil Cake

A heady mixture of olive oil and preserved oranges flavors this moist, dense Sicilian dessert. Get the recipe for Orange-Scented Olive Oil Cake »

Torta di Sant’Antonio (Sant’Antonio Apple Tart)

Cooks in the Italian Alpine village of Oulx flavor this tart with red wine and cinnamon to honor the town's patron saint, Sant'Antonio. Get the recipe for Torta di Sant'Antonio (Sant'Antonio Apple Tart) »

Tozzetti (Anise, Almond, and Hazelnut Biscotti)

These Roman-style biscotti are a favorite of Nick Malgieri's for their distinctive anise flavor and atypical baking method: the loose batter is poured onto a baking sheet and baked like a cake. The result is light biscotti with large chunks of almonds and hazelnuts. Get the recipe for Tozzetti (Anise, Almond, and Hazelnut Biscotti) »

Sicilian Cannoli

Ricotta impastata, a smoother and drier version of ricotta, is typically used for filling Sicilian cannoli. This recipe comes from cookbook author Nick Malgieri. Get the recipe for Sicilian Cannoli »

Sicilian Cassata Cake

Fabrizia Lanza taught us to make this classic Sicilian cake, rimmed in pistachio marzipan. Get the recipe for Sicilian Cassata Cake »

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