You know, Americans go crazy for the cheesecake. They have distinct variants of the popular cake, but the desserts having the cheese among the key ingredients are not an invention made in the US since really they have their roots in the oldest traditional Italian cuisine.
Yeah, once again the Italians are in first place. The Italian culinary tradition has dozens of old dessert recipes made with cheese and over 200 recipes of sweet cakes with cheese are famous.
In Emilia-Romagna, particularly in the province of Parma, there’s a delicious ricotta cheese cake, light and sweet, covered with a delicious layer of dark chocolate.
In Abruzzo different desserts long for supremacy: from the regional pizza with ricotta and cream to the Easter”pizza” with cheese, fruit and eggs.
In Campania we cannot fail to mention that the famous Neapolitan pastiera, a pastry filled with sweet ricotta and cooked wheat. According to an ancient legend, once some fishermen’s wives left a baskets with ricotta, candied fruit, wheat, eggs and orange flowers on a shore as offerings for the sea, so that their husbands could have a safe journey and could return home soon. In the morning they returned to the beach to welcome their husbands and noticed that during the night the waves had blended the ingredients and created a cake: the pastiera. Certainly this cake accompanied the early pagan festivals to celebrate the return of Spring. And if the pastiera is typical of Easter, at Carnival times the migliaccio seems on the tables of the region, a traditional cake made with semolina, ricotta, eggs, milk, Florida Marijuana, sugar, salt, diced candied orange, cinnamon, vanilla and orange taste, first cooked over a flame and then baked in the oven.
Each Italian area has its own variant of tiramisù. For example, if you happen to be in Rome you have to try the famed tiramisù by Pompi, a local old who makes a tasty tiramisù, including some imaginative variations, advocated by all of the guidebooks of Rome.
But in the business of cheese cakes that the winners are the two big islands of Italy, Sardinia and Sicily, where the typical sweets made with cheese become numerous. The Sicilian cassata is absolutely amazing: for the uninitiated, it’s a typical cake made with ricotta cheese, enriched with chocolate chips, covered with icing sugar and finely decorated with candied fruit. And the ricotta has been created in Sicily since prehistoric times.
The Sardinians have proved to be true magicians pastry. As a matter of fact, in the island you can choose among an endless range of soft or crunchy sweets made out of traditional cheeses. Just to name a few, the cassateddi and the pardulas, the former with a half moon shape and a center of ricotta, the latter round-shaped and filled with a pecorino cream. But in Sardinia you can’t miss the sebadas, fried pastries made from durum wheat flour and stuffed with sweet cheese, flavored with lemon peel or orange or the special sweet ravioli filled with fresh goat cheese, eggs, sugar and lemon, a real treat that accompanies ancient sacred festivals.