Learn About Some of the Most Popular Italian Desserts

Italian snacks and dishes have a strong reputation and desserts are no exception. Foods such as gelato and tiramisu are almost as well-known as pizza, lasagna or even chicken cacciatore. However, there are several more sweet delicacies that are beloved in their home country. Learn more about these desserts to fully enjoy what Italian cuisine offers.


A famous dessert, cannoli was invented by the women of modern-day Caltanissetta, Sicily, when it was under Arab rule during the ninth century. The recipe was adapted by Palermo nuns for the carnival season and has grown in popularity since. They are crispy fried pastry tubes filled with ricotta cream cheese. The former is flavored with cocoa and Marsala wine and the latter with candied fruit and nuts. It has been adapted into numerous forms, including theĀ cannoli bar Farmingdale NY.

Panna Cotta

The soft pudding known as panna cotta comes from theĀ Piedmont region. Despite its name translating to “cooked cream”, the mix (milk, cream, vanilla and sugar) is usually only heated for no more than 30 minutes, then taken out of its mold to be placed on the freezer for three hours so it gains its structure. Panna cotta can be accompanied by several garnishes, from sweet fruits like berries and peaches to jellies and Marsala wine.


Cassata is a more traditional round sponge cake that contains layers of ricotta cream cheese and candied fruit, a similar filling used in cannoli. It is also drenched in either liqueur or fruit juice and is covered in a marzipan shell. Cassata is usually served chilled, but the most authentic versions are filled with cream cheese instead of ice cream like the store brand versions. This cake varies depending on the region. For example, a cassata from Catania features green marzipan and a preserved cherry on top.

After a fine Italian dish, it is natural to follow it up with a strong dessert. Consider these options and several more when selecting the perfect way to end the meal.

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