Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Tag Archives: strawberries


Strawberries are prefect for entertaining and are also the perfect snack. When shopping for strawberries, select those that are firm, plump, have a bright, glossy-red appearance and are fragrant. Their fringed caps should be bright green and look fresh. Berries should be firm, but not crunchy. Avoid bruised or soft berries or those having a dull appearance.

Strawberries do not ripen after they are harvested, so select fruit that’s at the right state of maturity — when the berry surface is fully red. Cool berries as soon as possible and store them in the refrigerator until ready to use. It comes as no surprise that fresh strawberries are highly perishable. Use them as soon as possible after purchasing for the best flavor, appearance and nutrient content. Fresh strawberries should be eaten within three to four days of purchase. There are any number of recipes you can make with fresh strawberries. Below are just a few of them.


Easy Strawberry Parfaits


  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled and sliced
  • 8 ounces whipped low-fat cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup low-fat vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 6 amaretto cookies, crushed
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 4 sprigs fresh mint for garnish


In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the whipped cream cheese, honey and lemon juice. Fold the yogurt into the cream cheese mixture.

In four wide-mouth glasses, evenly layer cream cheese mixture, strawberries and crushed amaretto cookies. Garnish with sprigs of fresh mint. Serve chilled.


Light As Air Pancakes with Strawberry Sauce

Makes about 10 pancakes


  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup low-fat milk
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 2 egg whites


  • 2 cups fresh strawberries
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


In a mixing bowl combine the flours, 1 tablespoon sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in milk and oil.

In another bowl, beat egg whites until stiff. Fold egg whites into the flour mixture.

Grease a griddle and preheat it over medium heat.

For each pancake pour about 1/4 cup batter onto the hot griddle. Cook over medium heat until pancakes are golden brown (1 to 2 minutes per side); turn the pancakes over when bubbly and the edges are slightly dry.

In a blender container or food processor bowl combine the strawberries, 1 tablespoon sugar and vanilla. Cover and blend or process until smooth. In a small saucepan, heat the sauce until warm. Serve over the pancakes.


Spring Strawberry Salad


  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 16 oz fresh strawberries, halved
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 bag fresh baby arugula (4–5 oz)
  • 1/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
  • 1 tablespoon good quality balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup pistachio nuts, shelled and toasted


Microwave water on HIGH 30 seconds or until hot. Stir honey and salt into the water until dissolved; let stand 5 minutes to cool slightly.

Place in a medium bowl: the strawberries, thyme leaves, cider vinegar and sweetened water; toss to coat. Cover and chill 20 minutes (or up to 1 hour), stirring occasionally.

Place arugula in a salad bowl; top with the strawberry mixture, toasted pistachios and cheese. Toss well. Drizzle with the balsamic vinegar and serve.


Stuffed Strawberries


  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 1 pound strawberries, top trimmed
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, grated
  • Fresh mint leaves for garnish
  • Optional toppings: mini chocolate chips, blueberries or nuts


In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the mascarpone cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla and lemon zest.

Use a small paring knife to quarter the strawberries from the pointed end almost to the flat top. Don’t cut all the way through

Use a small spoon to fill the space between the strawberry quarters with the mascarpone mixture.

Sprinkle with toppings, if desired. Refrigerate until serving time.

Garnish with fresh mint leaves and serve cold.


Strawberry Shortcake



  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ⅓ cup cold butter
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons milk


  • 5 cups sliced fresh strawberries
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • Sweetened Whipped Cream, recipe below


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease an 8 x 1 1/2-inch round baking pan; set aside.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. In a small bowl stir together the egg, sour cream and milk. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture all at once, stirring with a fork just until moistened.

Using a small offset metal spatula, spread dough evenly in the prepared pan. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Using a small metal spatula, loosen the sides of the cake.

Place a wire rack on top of the pan; place one hand on top of rack and the other hand under the pan and carefully invert the pan with the rack. Lift the pan off shortcake. Cool on wire rack.

Combine 4 cups of the sliced strawberries and the 3 tablespoons sugar and, using a potato masher, mash the berries slightly; set aside.

To serve:

Cut the shortcake in half horizontally. Spoon the sweetened strawberry mixture and the whipped cream over the shortcake bottom. Replace the shortcake top.

Spread the remaining 1 cup sliced strawberries over the top of the cake.

Sweetened Whipped Cream


  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla


In a chilled bowl combine the whipping cream, sugar and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form.


Ferrara’s Bakery & Cafe in New York City, one of the more well known Italian bakeries in America

Rich Italian dessert recipes are known around the world. They rank right up there with the French creations. Any cook interested in preparing delicious desserts will tell you of their favorite tiramisu recipe.

Decadent, flavorful and classic: Italian desserts have it all. These delicious desserts also have a long history, and many of the items on your favorite Italian restaurant’s menu have been around for ages.

Here in the United States most of us think that desserts were devised for our pleasure and, if we have a good meal, we must have a luscious dessert at the end. The Italians reserve these luscious desserts for only special times of the year. Typically they serve fresh fruit and maybe a piece of robust cheese at the end of a meal. Perhaps this comes from their early history of not having regular access to sugar and using much less sugar in their recipes than American cooks.

It is all the fresh ingredients, like cream and cheese, which make Italian desserts so delicious. For example, a dessert originating from Florence is Zuccotto, a semi frozen dessert of ice cream, cake and brandy, that is made in a cone shaped mold. The Panforte recipe is a traditional dessert with a spicy flavor containing fruits and nuts like a fruitcake. This recipe originated in the Tuscany region and, after it was baked, the cake was used as a tax payment to the monks. It is similar to Panettone, a sweet bread made at Christmas time. Biscotti, which are now considered by many to be a gourmet dessert, also originated around this time, although the original versions were less complex than those of today.

Italian dessert recipes are broken down into two groups. The ancient or the oldest of the sweets that were derived from bread recipes. A little honey or fruit was added to sweeten bread recipes. Later came the more modern recipes, when sugar became plentiful. Italy began producing milk, eggs, honey, and almonds. These, along with added sugar, turned out sweet creamy desserts like Italian cheesecake, Panna Cotta, Cannoli and Italian cream puffs.

As sugar became affordable to more home cooks, a new range of Italian dessert recipes appeared, such as Tiramisu, Rum Cake and Cassata Cream Cake. These old-fashioned cakes were made with ricotta or mascarpone cheese. Italian ice is refreshing and popular and is similar to a snow cone, except Italian ice cream is frozen after the fruit juice is added to the water. Italian ice dates back to the time of Nero.

The history of Italian desserts, also, reveals that torrone dates back to Roman times when it was used in religious ceremonies. This nougat confection is made with egg whites, nuts, and honey and  is popular all over the Mediterranean.

Chocolate is often used in Italian cookie recipes and some of the most famous ones include Baci, which is a dark chocolate “kiss” filled with hazelnut cream and Gianduiotto, which is a combination of hazelnuts, sugar, and cocoa. Chocolate has been layered with cream and espresso in the Torino region of Italy since 1763. Today, chocolate is one of the most popular additions to Italian recipes.

Italian desserts continue to be made throughout Italy, and the various regions of the country have their own specialities. Italian American immigrants have made changes to the classic desserts with some delicious results. For example, since mascarpone cheese was not as common in America, many desserts began to use ricotta cheese more frequently in desserts such as cannoli and cheesecake. Despite these changes, Italian desserts are still outstanding and their long historical significance makes them even more appealing to many Italian American families.

Like all countries, Italy has its own Italian food customs. Special days of the years, especially Easter and Christmas, are times to bring out all the Italian desserts. All holidays are celebrated with special foods. Italian Easter food always consists of a traditional Easter pie. Each family has its own unique recipe and each one discusses it with friends and neighbors. For these special days most desserts are made at home but they are, sometimes, purchased in the local pastry shop (or pasticceria). The art of pastry making has been passed down and Italian chefs are renowned for their skills.

Italian Rum Birthday Cake

An Authentic Bakery Version of Italian Rum Cake

My Version of Italian Rum Cake

Once A Year Italian Rum Cake

Italian rum cake is a traditional Italian dessert often purchased at an Italian bakery and served on birthdays or other special occasions. It is a stunning four layer creation that is flavored with rum, filled with alternating layers of vanilla and chocolate (pasticciera) pastry cream, topped with whipped cream icing, and garnished with almonds. I developed my recipe, below, because I am not a fan of the typical rum cake and because my family has shown a preference for this cake at Italian restaurant dinners, I decided to experiment. Since my version of the” Italian Rum Cake” is still very rich and decadent, I only make it once a year, usually for my husband’s birthday. No other cake comes close to this for him.


For the layer cake:

  • 1 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 1/4 cup all purpose flour plus 1 tablespoon flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 cup finely ground hazelnuts (almonds can be used if you cannot find hazelnuts)
  • 1/2 cup rum

For the cake filling:

  • 1 cup Nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread)
  • 8 oz. mascarpone cheese

For the topping:

  • 2 cups heavy cream (whipping cream)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup rum
  • Shaved chocolate


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat the bottoms of two 9 inch round cake pans with cooking spray – don’t spray the sides of the pan. Line the bottoms of the pans with wax paper circles cut to fit. Spray paper with cooking spray and dust with 1 tablespoon flour. Set aside.

For the layer cake:

In an electric mixer beat together the sugar, butter and vanilla for 5 minutes. This is important- do not cut the time down.

Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition.

In a separate bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.

Add 1/3 of the flour to the sugar mixture alternating with 1/3 of the milk. Repeat until all flour and milk are incorporated ending with flour.

Stir nuts in on low speed.

Pour evenly into pans and bake for 30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Do not overbake or the cake will be dry. Cool 10 minutes and remove layers to a cooling rack and carefully peel off the paper. Cool thoroughly.


Place layers on kitchen towels and cut each in half horizontally. Drizzle each of the four layers with the rum and let sit for awhile.

For the filling:

Beat together the Nutella and the mascarpone cheese until very smooth.

Spread evenly on top of 3 cake layers.

For the topping:

Whip the cream until very stiff. Add powdered sugar and blend. Add rum on low speed.

To assemble:

Place one layer covered with filling (filling side up) on a cake plate and top with remaining layers ending with the unfrosted layer on top. Completely cover the cake with the whipped cream mixture.

Chill in the refrigerator for several hours. Just before serving decorate the the cake with chocolate shavings.

Italian Desserts

The rest of the year – try one of these healthier Italian dessert recipes for your next special occasion.

Sweet and Savory Taralli Cookies

Italian Cookies

Italian Taralli cookies are a great example of Italian baked goods. These crunchy, curly cookies can be sweet or savory. They can be plain or with fruit or nuts and they might also contain spices like fennel or anise. You can find Italian Taralli cookies all over southern Italy but they are especially popular in Puglia. These light-flavored, not very sweet, cookies make an appearance in Italy on birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, and Christmas because most Italians associate them with these events. Everyone has their own preferences as to what to eat on these occasions but taralli are really good and, if you have not had them before, you will be impressed with them for sure. You can frost them if you want to, using any frosting recipe to do this.

Another characteristic that makes Italian Taralli cookies wonderfully unique is their shape. These cookies come in different shapes but the most common ones are rings. There is no reason for making them this shape – it is purely traditional.

Sweet Taralli Cookies

Makes 2 1/2 dozen


For The Cookies

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar or 1/4 cup light sugar alternative
  • 1 large egg or 1/4 cup egg substitute
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Marsala wine
  • Zest of 2 oranges

For The Icing

  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, orange zest and salt.

In a separate larger bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg until well combined. Stir in the olive oil and wine. Slowly add the flour mixture until well combined, kneading slightly until the dough is easy to handle and medium-soft.

On a clean surface, use your hands and roll the dough into 1/2-inch-thick, cigar-like rolls. Cut each cigar into 6-inch pieces, folding each piece into a loop-shape. Press the dough with fingers to seal together. Place on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until slightly golden. Remove to a cooling rack and cool completely.

If you wish to ice them, whisk 2 tablespoons of milk and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice into 1 cup confectioners’ sugar. It should be the consistency of thick whipping cream. Dip one side of the cookie in the glaze and let dry. For special holidays the cookies are decorated with sprinkles.

Savory Fennel Taralli                                                                                                                                               


  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 envelope active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds


Pour the water into a bowl and whisk in the yeast. Whisk in the oil.

Put the remaining ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse several times to mix. Add the liquid and pulse again until the dough forms a ball. Let the processor run continuously for about 10 seconds to knead the dough.

Invert the dough to an oiled bowl and carefully remove the blade. Turn the dough over so that the top is oiled and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise at room temperature until in doubles in bulk, about an hour.

After the dough has risen, scrape it out of the bowl to a lightly floured work surface and use a bench scraper or knife to cut it into two equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough under the palms of your hand to a 15″ length and cut each into 1″ pieces to make 30 equal pieces in all.

One at a time, roll each piece of dough under the palms of your hands, into an 8″ strand. Join the ends together to make a circle, pressing firmly to seal. Line up the formed taralli on a lightly floured work surface or floured baking sheets, making sure they do not touch each other.

Set the oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350°F. You will need two baking sheets with cooling racks (see picture of baking pans in this post).

Fill a large pot (such as the one in which you would cook pasta) 3/4 full with water. Bring the water to a full rolling boil. Set one of the baking sheets on the stovetop next to the pan of boiling water. Drop the taralli, 6 or 8 at a time into the boiling water and remove them with a skimmer as soon as they float to the surface. Arrange them about an inch apart in all directions, on the prepared baking sheet with rack.

Bake the taralli about 30 minutes, rotating from the upper third of the oven to the lower third, and vice versa, midway through the baking. Continue baking the taralli until they are golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature on the cooling racks in which they were baked.

(Makes 30)

Italian Cakes

Cornmeal was introduced to Italy around 1600 through commerce with Asia. Cornmeal is used throughout Italy to make polenta and is also traditionally added to dessert cakes and other baked goods.

Torta Di Meliga (Italian Cornmeal Cake)


  • 1 cup chopped blanched almonds
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar or 1/4 cup light sugar alternative
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 ounces melted butter or Smart Balance Blend
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 400F. degrees.

Combine in a mixing bowl almonds, cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt and butter.

Spray a 9 inch springform pan with cooking spray; spread dough in pan.

Bake 30 minutes or until golden brown; let cool slightly and remove sides of pan.

Let cool completely and sift powdered sugar over top. Serve with fresh fruit.

Italian Plum Cake

Italian Plums


  • 1 cup unblanched almonds
  •  1/2 cup sugar or 1/4 cup light sugar alternative
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs (1/2 cup egg substitute also works)
  • 1/2 cup milk (low-fat is fine)
  • 4 tablespoons butter or Smart Balance Blend, melted
  • 2 pounds Italian plums or regular plums if your market doesn’t carry Italian plums


Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spray a 10-inch springform pan with cooking spray.

Put the almonds and the 1/2 cup of sugar (or sugar alternative) in a food processor.

Pulse until the almonds are finely ground.

Add the flour and the salt and pulse once more.

Transfer this to a mixing bowl.

Beat the eggs with the milk then add the butter.

Add the egg mixture to the flour almond mixture. And mix until the batter is smooth.

Pour the batter into the springform pan and smooth with a spatula.

Pit the plums and slice in thick wedges.

Place the plum slices in a circle pattern on top of the batter.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the top begins to brown. Remove to a cooling rack and let rest 10 minutes.

Take a butter knife and go around the circumference of the pan. Open the clip of the pan and carefully lift up the rim. Cake can be served warm.

Italian Fruit Desserts

Italian fruit dessert are served at the end of a meal; they are very popular all over Italy.

Stuffed Figs                                                                                                                                                           


  • 4 ripe even sized figs
  • 1/4 cup sugar or 2 tablespoons light sugar alternative
  • 1 cup skim ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons amaretto liqueur
  • 4 shelled whole almonds


Cut fig from top to bottom in half: DO NOT CUT ALL THE WAY THROUGH.

Cut fig the same way through the halves making 4 quarters still hooked together.

Then cut all the way through 1 of the cuts.

Now you can open the fig and have 4 sections still hooked together. See picture in post.

Combine in a mixing bowl the sugar and ricotta cheese and beat together (with hand mixer) until mixture is light.

Add amaretto and fold lightly into cheese mixture.

Spoon 1/4 cup mixture into the center of each opened fig and top with an almond.

Balsamic-Macerated Strawberries with Basil                                                                                                                          


  • 2 lb. fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and sliced 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick (about 4 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 8 to 10 medium fresh basil leaves
  • Frozen yogurt, optional


In a large bowl, gently toss the strawberries with the sugar and vinegar. Let sit at room temperature until the strawberries have released their juices but are not yet mushy, about 30 minutes. (Don’t let the berries sit for more than 90 minutes, or they’ll start to collapse.)

Just before serving, stack the basil leaves on a cutting board and roll them vertically into a loose cigar shape. Using a sharp chef’s knife, very thinly slice across the roll to make a fine chiffonade of basil.

Portion the strawberries and their juices among four small dessert dishes and scatter with the basil to garnish. Top with a spoonful of frozen yogurt.

As a child, I remember my father taking me with him when he went shopping on a Saturday morning, in what was, “the little Italy” neighborhood in our city. We would visit the Italian deli for cold cuts, Sorrento’s Bakery for bread, Sacco & Sons for sausage and a quick lunch trip to Spirito’s for a slice of pizza. I didn’t mind the excursion during the warm months because my father always bought me a lemon ice from one of the push cart venders. The neighborhood that I remember is no longer there, but eating lemon ice or sorbetto or gelato is timeless. The recipes for frozen ices and other Italian treats will keep you cool in the coming months, but light enough so you do not have to worry about the calories.

Gelato (Italian Ice Cream) has a very low butterfat content, which makes the flavors more intense on the tongue. In addition, less air is introduced into the mixture before it is frozen, creating a much more dense dessert that adds a surprising richness to the flavor. Gelato may be made with or without eggs, cornstarch or cream in its base and, frequently, has other ingredients such as fresh fruit or coffee added for flavor. I prefer to make gelato without raw eggs yolks, so another thickener, such as cornstarch, is needed.  There are numerous recipes around but the best recipe, I found for this version, is from Mark Bittman in The New York Times. It is easy, healthy and offers many flavor ideas but does not sacrifice taste.




  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Ice Cream Maker

Put 2 cups milk, the sugar and salt in a saucepan over medium-low heat. If using a vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise and scrape seeds into liquid, then add pod. Cook until mixture begins to steam.
In a bowl, blend cornstarch and remaining milk; there should be no lumps. Remove bean pod from pot and discard. Add cornstarch mixture to pot. Cook, stirring, until it starts to thicken and barely reaches a boil, about 5 minutes. Immediately reduce heat to very low and stir for 5 minutes or so until thick. Stir in vanilla extract, if using.
If mixture has lumps, strain it into a bowl. Chill for 2 hours. When cool or if there are no lumps, pour into an ice cream machine and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Yield: 1 generous pint.


  • Honey-Jam Variation –  Substitute honey for half the sugar. Add 1/2 cup good jam to mixture before freezing.
  • Yogurt-Substitute yogurt for half the milk.
  • Cherry-Vanilla-Add 1 cup halved, pitted cherries just before freezing.
  • Strawberry, Blueberry or Peach-Add 1 cup hulled, sliced strawberries, blueberries, or peeled and chopped peaches before freezing.
  • Coffee-Substitute 1/2 cup very strong coffee for 1/2 cup milk.
  • Coconut-Substitute 1 cup coconut milk for 1 cup milk; add 1/2 cup toasted dried coconut.
  • Mint Chocolate Chip-Add 1/2 cup minced mint and 1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate just before freezing.


Fresh Strawberries With Limoncello

Limoncello has long been a staple in the lemon-producing region of the Italian Amalfi Coast, especially in Capri and Sorrento. Authentic Limoncello is made from Sorrento lemons that are grown in that region. Families in Italy have passed down recipes for generations, as every Italian family has their own Limoncello recipe.
When my son and daughter-in-law returned from a trip to Capri several years ago, they brought me back a bottle. Until that time, I had never heard of the product. I find it compliments many fruit desserts or adds another dimension to fruity drinks. Bottles of limoncello should be kept in the freezer until ready to serve.


  • 20 whole large fresh strawberries, cut into halves
  • 1 tablespoon limoncello
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • fresh ground pepper
  •  Biscotti


Place cut strawberries in a bowl.

Pour over the liqueur, orange juice and sprinkle over with freshly ground pepper. Allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes. 

Serve as is or with biscotti.


Citrus Sorbetto

Makes a perfect palate cleanser.


  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice, fresh
  • 1/2 cup orange juice, fresh
  • 4 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • Zest of 1/2 orange


Combine sugar and water in a small pot. Bring to a boil reduce and simmer just until the sugar is dissolved, let cool.

Stir together all the juices, zest and vanilla and add in the sugar syrup.  

Chill syrup & juice blend in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

Transfer to an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions.

You may serve the sorbetto right away or store it in the freezer.


Ricotta With Berries

2 servings


  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup raspberries
  • 10 strawberries, hulled and chopped ( or sliced)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon sugar 


  • 6 ounces skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon sugar 
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon Amaretto
  • Garnish with mint leaves


Combine the berries with lemon juice and sugar. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. 

Mix ricotta ingredients together. This may be done in a food processor, if a finer texture is desired.

Serve berries over a scoop of the ricotta and garnish with mint. Serving it in a martini or other decorative glass makes for a nice presentation.


Strawberry and Ricotta Crepes

Serves 4

The crepes can be prepared in advance and stored in the freezer, so that you can pull this dessert together quickly. This recipe also makes more crepes than you’ll need for the servings below.  Allow the extra crepes to cool, place waxed paper between them, stack and place in a ziplock bag in the freezer.

Other fresh seasonal fruits can be used instead of strawberries.


  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 ½ teaspoons powdered sugar
  • 2 cups (about 10 ounces) cleaned and sliced fresh strawberries
  • 2 teaspoons agave syrup
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh mint
  • Small pinch of salt


  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup nonfat milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons agave syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

Measure all crepe ingredients and place into a blender; blend for 30 seconds. Scrape down sides. Blend for 15 seconds more. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes. (This helps the flour absorb more of the liquids.)  

Heat a crepe pan (or use a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet). Lightly grease the pan.

Measure about 1/4 cup batter into the pan. Tilt the pan to spread the batter. Once the crepe has lots of little bubbles, loosen the edges with a spatula and turn the crepe over. The second side cooks quickly, so after about 15 seconds, slide the crepe from the pan to a plate. Repeat with remaining batter (yield: about 20 crepes).

Mix ricotta with powdered sugar. Set aside.

Mix strawberries gently with sugar, mint and salt. Set aside.

If the crepes were prepared earlier in the day or frozen and defrosted overnight, reheat them in the microwave for a minute or two until warm.

Spread 1 tablespoon of ricotta mixture on one half of each of 8 warm crepes and fold to cover. Place two crepes on each serving plate.

Top with strawberries, dust with powdered sugar and serve.


Lemon Biscotti With Lemon Drizzle


  • 2 1/2  cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1  cup pistachio nuts
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
  • 1 tablespoon lemon extract
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • Cooking spray
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 350°F.

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, sugar and baking powder in a large bowl.

Combine zest, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, lemon extract, oil and eggs. Add to the flour mixture, stirring until well-blended.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead lightly 7 to 8 times. Divide dough in half. Shape each portion into an 8-inch-long roll.

Place rolls 6 inches apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper; flatten each roll to 1-inch thickness. Bake for 30 minutes.

Remove the rolls from the baking sheet; cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Cut each roll diagonally into 15 (1/2-inch) slices.

Place the slices, cut sides down, on the baking sheet. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F; bake for 10 minutes.

Turn cookies over; bake an additional 10 minutes (the cookies will be slightly soft in center but will harden as they cool).

Remove from baking sheet and cool completely on wire rack.

Combine 1 tablespoon lemon juice and powdered sugar; drizzle over the biscotti.

If you’re making enough to freeze, store them in the freezer without the drizzle, then make it just before serving.


Tangerine and Prosecco Sorbet

“Italian Champagne” – Prosecco is a sparkling wine made from late-ripening white grapes from the Veneto – Conegliano – Valdobbiadene region of Italy.

6-8 servings


  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 cups chilled tangerine juice or tangerine orange juice
  • 1 cup chilled Prosecco
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated tangerine peel


Combine sugar and water in small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and bring to boil.

Transfer syrup to medium bowl and chill until cold, about 2 hours.

Add tangerine juice and Prosecco to syrup; whisk to blend well. Transfer mixture to an ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Transfer sorbet to a freezer container. Cover tightly with a lid and freeze until firm, at least 8 hours or overnight. 

DO AHEAD:  Can be made 3 days ahead. Keep frozen. Divide sorbet among wine goblets or dessert glasses.

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