Italian rice pie (torta di riso) with tangerine syrup

This Italian Rice Pie or Torta di Riso, as the locals call it, embraces spring flavours and one of my favourite things in the entire world, rice pudding. 

This week in country Tuscany has been extremely frustrating. Every day has started sunny and beautiful, so I wake up, get excited and throw on my favourite spring dress and a pair of sandals, then by mid afternoon it starts to pour. I mean pour. Thunderstorms and everything and I go to meetings and lessons looking absolutely ridiculous in my super strappy sandals without an umbrella – I left not one, but two, at the restaurant we went to on Saturday night, which is just fantastic. Obviously, I could have checked the weather, but I just can’t stop hoping that spring has arrived. 

Rustic stone fruit tart with peaches, blueberries and almonds

rustic stone fruit tart

I hope you had a lovely Easter break. Giulio and I went on adventure to see my father’s birthplace in the mountains of Northern Italy. It was so amazing to find myself in the town he left as a baby more than 60 years ago. To my surprise, it wasn’t even a town! It was a handful of houses and tiny little cemetery, where I managed find my great grandmother, who passed away only a few years after my grandparents immigrated. 

It was a sad, but ultimately satisfying journey to discover another piece of my roots and I can’t wait to share more of it with you, but today, we’re all about spring and this rustic stone fruit tart with peaches, blueberries and almonds!

Mini mimosa pan di spagna (Italian sponge) cakes

pan di spagna

Today is International Women’s Day and we’re celebrating with mini mimosa pan di spagna (Italian sponge cakes)! Hooray!

The weather in Southern Tuscany has been absolutely disgusting. In the last ten days, we’ve had snow/constant thunderstorms, which is why my pan di spagna pictures are a little grey and moody and not their usual bright vibrant selves. Lack of light is a constant source of distress for me. I live in an apartment in the Old Town and it’s stacked living. We’e surrounded by palazzos (all of which are empty) that start casting a shadow over my kitchen at about 9am. Our bedroom is constantly dark. It’s akin to living in a giant concrete forest and I am absolutely hate it.

Dessert crepes with mascarpone and honey rose syrup

Happy Monday! The weekend for us usually starts with a trip to the local market. Giulio absolutely hates it because you can never go more than a few feet without having to stop to talk to someone, but I like the sense of community. You’d think living in a small town in Tuscany would be full of community fun… like the movie Chocolat but in Italian… in reality, it’s not like that.

Zeppole – Mini Italian doughnuts with clementine

Zeppole are mini Italian doughnuts (or donuts?). Actually, they’re not as fatty, greasy or as decadent as American doughnuts. There’s no thick glaze or creamy filling. But before you turn away in disgust, there are sultanas! The least exciting of all the dried fruits, but trust me, these are delicious!

The recipe is actually my nonna’s. I’m not sure if she ever celebrated carnevale as a kid in Calabria. They were pre-WWII years and my grandmother was an orphan living the Cinderella story (sans Prince Charming), so probably not.