The typical desserts of the Amalfi Coast

Do you have a sweet tooth? Then the Amalfi Coast is definitely the right destination for you. It’s no secret to anyone: whether it’s cakes, creams or sweet treats, Amalfi’s pastry chefs are masters at making them. Queues are the norm at the best pastry shops, especially on Sunday mornings when locals buy trays of sweets to end their family lunch on a high note. Below we present a selection of typical Amalfi Coast desserts that will make your mouth water just by looking at them.

Lemon delight

When people talk about typical desserts of the Divine Coast, they immediately think of the lemon delight. Despite being relatively young compared to most creations that are part of the local confectionery tradition, it is the most famous dessert on the Amalfi Coast. It takes the form of a small cake of fluffy sponge cake filled and coated with delicious cream made with IGP Amalfi Coast Lemon (also known as Sfusato Amalfitano because of its characteristic tapered shape). It was invented by Sorrento pastry chef Carmine Marzuillo in 1978 but it was then Minoan pastry chef Sal De Riso who made it famous. N.B. It should be consumed very fresh.

The Santa Rosa sfogliatella

Another great classic of Amalfi pastries is the Santa Rosa sfogliatella, known worldwide for its goodness and crunchiness. Compared to the classic riccia, it is garnished with custard and black cherries in syrup. Its origins go back to the 1600s in the small convent of Santa Rosa (hence the name) in Conca dei Marini. The story goes that a nun in charge of the kitchen, having leftover semolina cooked in milk, instead of throwing it away, added dried fruit, sugar and lemon liqueur to it, resulting in a filling that she enclosed between two sheets of pastry. After giving the cake the shape of a monk’s hood, he baked it. Thus was born, almost by accident, the sfogliatella Santa Rosa.

The ricotta and pear cake

Photo © Il Cucchiaio d’Argento

Among the many creations of the Amalfi confectionery tradition, one of the most popular is undoubtedly the ricotta and pear cake. Although it might seem unusual, the combination of ricotta with pears is a real surprise. Its invention is due to an act of love by pastry chef Sal De Riso for the flavors of the land. As the pastry chef himself recounted, “It was 1997 and, for a long time I had wanted to create a new, simple dessert, exclusively with local products. One day, while I was working, I cast a glance at some pinnate pears from Agerola, ricotta and hazelnuts from Giffoni, there on the table, and I had the idea of using them to create something different.” A recipe, that of ricotta and pear cake, which is trademarked and probably the most imitated Italian dessert.

Atranese pasticciotto

Photo © Pasticceria Pansa Amalfi

A sublime expression of Amalfi’s confectionery art, pasticciotto atranese is nothing more than a casket of crumbly pastry that, in its traditional version, encloses a delicious filling of custard and juicy black cherries. But it is not difficult to find it in countless other variations as well. The origins of this dessert date back to the first half of the 19th century. It all came from the happy intuition of ice cream maker Francesco Cretella, at that time owner of Bar Lucia in Atrani, who was looking for a “something” to serve with coffee. He got the right idea from his wife Alda De Pascale, who often talked about a cream and black cherry dessert that her brother used to make at home. It was then that Mr. Cretella decided to make a local version of it, which was an immediate success.

Eggplants with chocolate

Photo © Cookist

We conclude this roundup of delicacies from the Amalfi Coast with eggplant with chocolate (in dialect “e’ mulignane cu ‘a ciucculata“), one of the most unusual desserts in the entire region. The combination of eggplant and chocolate is a bit unusual but very tasty indeed. The dessert, typical of Maiori, is usually prepared on August 15, on the Feast of the Assumption. Regarding its origins, two versions are the most credited. The first attributes the recipe to the Augustinian nuns of Santa Maria della Misericordia, the second to the monks of an ancient convent in Tramonti. Today every pastry chef in Amalfi has his own recipe, and there is no shortage of excellent reinterpretations.