Pettole

Pettole finished dish

Pettole finished dish

puglia crestFrom Puglia. Pettole are sweet or savoury doughnuts. In the region of Campania , and I believe the US, they are known as zeppole. Here in Puglia, zeppole refers to a cake traditionally eaten on St Joseph’s day. They are called pettole here in Puglia and some regions of Basilicata. They are traditionally eaten on St Martin’s day in Lecce (Nov 11), St Cecilia’s day in Taranto (Nov 22),  Around the immaculate conception on the 7th and 8th of December in Brindisi, and Christmas Eve in Foggia. They are generally eaten during the Christmas period throughout the region. They can be prepared in two ways, sweet or savoury. The savoury version can be plain, or contain other ingredients, such as olives, cooked cauliflower, salt cod , sundried tomatoes and anchovies. The sweet versions are dredged in sugar and/or dipped in vincotto a sweet, concentrated grape juice produced in Puglia. Honey or jam are also common if you can’t find vincotto.

  • 375 ml warm water
  • 500 g oo flour
  • Half a block of fresh yeast or 3½ g dried
  • 2 tsp of salt
  • Oil for deep frying
  • For the savoury version:- 10 olives, stoned and sliced into rings. Use black or green or a mixture of both.
  • For the sweet version:- Granulated sugar, vincotto or honey.
Pettole ingredient

Pettole ingredient

Dissolve the yeast in the water. Mix together the water and flour. Add the salt at the end of mixing. You should have a very wet dough. If you are making the savoury version, stir in the olives.

Pettole mixed dough

Pettole mixed dough

Cover with cling film and leave in a warm place to rise for about 2 hours.

Pettole ready to cook

Pettole ready to cook

Wet your hands and scoop up about a tablespoon of dough and deep fry until it is lightly brown. You will need to turn them halfway through cooking. Drain on kitchen paper.

Pettole frying

Pettole frying

If you are making the sweet version, dredge each pettole in sugar and serve with a dish of vincotto or honey to dip them in.

Pettole sweet version

Pettole sweet version

Tiramisu – Original recipe

Tiramisu is ubiquitous in restaurants within Italy and around the world. The translation literally is “pick me up”. Idiomatically it means something like “make me happy”. It is quite a recent invention and didn’t start to become popular both  nationally and internationally until the 80s.

As with most things in Italy there is a great debate about the true origin of tiramisu(or tiramesù in the Venetian dialect). Some sources put its origin as Siena in Tuscany however I think that the most credible claim comes from Treviso, in the Veneto near to Venice. Roberto Linguanotto from the Beccherie restaurant claims to have invented it at the end of the 60s and this is his recipe. People have changed the recipe a lot over the years and the original included no cream or alcohol.

The recipe was for a restaurant size portion but I used a third of the quantities to make 6 or 7 big portions.

Tiramisu finished dish

Tiramisu finished dish

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 160 g sugar
  • 330 g mascarpone
  • Up to 20 Savoiardi biscuits  (also known as ladyfingers)
  • Enough strong unsweetened espresso coffee (ristretto) to dip the biscuits in, allowed to cool
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder to dust the top
Tiramisu ingredients

Tiramisu ingredients

Whip the egg yolks together with the sugar until the sugar has completely dissolved and the mixture is stiff.

Tiramisu egg yolks and sugar

Tiramisu egg yolks and sugar

Fold in the mascarpone.

Tiramisu folding in the marsapone

Tiramisu folding in the marsapone

Dip half of the biscuits into the coffee. Be careful not to make them too wet as they will disintegrate. Arrange them in a single layer in a dish. Roberto recommends a round one.

Tiramisu dipping the biscuits

Tiramisu dipping the biscuits

Spread half of the mascarpone mixture over the biscuit.

Tiramisu first layer with cream

Tiramisu first layer with cream

Repeat to form a second layer.

Tiramisu second layer without cream

Tiramisu second layer without cream

Dust the top liberally with cocoa powder.

Tiramisu dusted with cocoa

Tiramisu dusted with cocoa

Chill the dish in the fridge for several hours, preferably overnight.


Strawberry granita

This is probably my favourite granita. You can top it with cream if you like. I like to use it to top fruit salad. Like all granitas, it is very easy to make.

strawberry granita finished dish

strawberry granita finished dish

  • 800 g strawberries
  • 5 heaped tablespoons sugar
  • 150 ml water
  • juice of 1 lemon

Clean and cut the strawberries into halves or quarters depending on size.

Strawberries with sugar

Strawberries with sugar

Sprinkle the strawberries with two tablespoons of the sugar.

Macerated strawberries

Macerated strawberries

Leave them to macerate for an hour or so until they start to release their liquid.

Strawberries ready to freeze

Strawberries ready to freeze

Liquidize the strawberries and add the lemon juice.

Pour into a wide shallow dish and freeze for 1 hour until ice crystals start to form. Remove from the freezer and scrape the frozen bits back into the mixture. Return to the freezer and repeat every 30 minutes or so until the granita is frozen, with a fluffy, crystalline texture. Spoon into dishes and serve straight away.

Lemon granita

Granita di limone. From Sicily. This is a very easy dessert. A granita is similar to a sorbet, but the texture is rougher and more grainy. The quantities are only a guide because it depends on how sweet your lemons are and on how sweet you like your desserts. Feel free to add more sugar or more lemons. As the zest is an important part of this recipe you must use unwaxed lemons.

Lemon granita ingredients

Lemon granita ingredients

  • 4 large lemons
  • 150 g sugar
  • 1 l water
  1. Cut the zest from the lemons. Juice the lemons
  2. Make a syrup by heating the water and sugar until it starts to boil.
  3. Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice and zest. Leave to steep for about half an hour.
  4. Strain into a freezer proof container and place in the freezer. Take it out of the freezer every hour or so and whisk it to break up the larger ice crystals.
  5. When it is fully frozen it is ready.

    Lemon granita finished dish

    Lemon granita finished dish

Mascarpone cream

Crema al mascarpone. This is a Pugliese take on tiramisu. I don’t often make dessert, so I think I need a bit of practice getting it to ‘look pretty’ :-)  It tasted nice though. A good way to use up all that leftover chocolate after Easter. Serves 4

mascapone cream ingredients

mascapone cream ingredients

  •   1      egg
  •   6      tablespoons  sugar
  •   100 grams  mascarpone cheese
  •   50   grams  dark chocolate
  •   4      ladyfinger biscuits
  •           espresso coffee
  1. Remove the mascarpone from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature.
  2. Soak the biscuits in the coffee and put them in a dish which is just big enough to take them in a single layer.
  3. Separate the eggs and beat the yolk together with the sugar until it is well incorporated.
  4. Beat the egg white until it forms stiff peaks
  5. Fold the egg white into the yolk/sugar mixture.
  6. Beat the mascarpone until it’s smooth and then fold it into the egg mix. Divide the mixture into 2 equal portions.
  7. Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie and fold into one portion of the mascarpone mixture.
  8. Cover the biscuit first with a layer of the plain mascarpone and then with the chocolate.
  9. Refrigerate for a couple of hours. Remove from the fridge 10-15 minutes before serving
    Mascapone cream finished dish

    Mascapone cream finished dish

This dish will keep in the fridge for up to a day