South Italian Desserts

Southern Italian Desserts by Rosetta Costantino
(Ten Speed Press, 2013)

Review by Kristina Sepetys
If you like your olive oil baked into delicious sweets of the Italian variety, grab a copy of the beautiful new cookbook, Southern Italian Desserts, by Rosetta Costantino. The 76 recipes from Costantino’s homeland in the very southern region of Italy include confections like Pitta ‘Mpigliata (pastry rosettes filled with walnuts, raisins, and cinnamon), Calzoncelli Con i Ceci (fried half-moon pastries filled with a chickpea-chocolate filling), Fichi Secchi al Cioccolato (chocolate-dipped dried figs filled with almonds and candied orange peel), and La Deliziosa (sandwich cookies filled with hazelnut cream). Besides olive oil, the recipes call for ingredients easily available to us in superlative form in Northern California: figs, honey, pistachios, almonds, cherries, persimmons, and citrus. Note that the simple and in some cases minimal, ingredients belie the complexity in both taste and preparation for many of these desserts.