Candida Martinelli's Italophile Site

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Spoonbreads, I dolci al cucchiaio, Lady Finger Desserts (Savoiardi)

 

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Spoonbreads or I dolci al cucchiaio

I dolci al cucchiaio literally means 'sweets by spoon' and is a generic name for desserts that have different names in the various Italian regions:  zuppe inglesi, bavaresi, ciarlotte... but they are all eaten with spoons.  Here, for spoonbread, I mean:

  • Cake or Lady Finger cookies (also called Savoiardi or Boudoirs, these are hard until put in liquid when they turn to cake), 

  • quickly soaked in juice, or coffee, or alcohol, or a combination of them, 

  • layered between pastry cream or pudding, 

  • and depending on the recipe and your tastes, layered with jam, fruit, or ground nuts.  

  • Then it sits for a few hours to a few days in the fridge so the cake/cookies can soak up the liquid and flavors, and the whole thing sets.

Some Points About Spoonbread

  • Itís a dessert you can prepare days in advance of serving, taking pressure off the cook.

  • Itís a cool, refreshing dessert served straight from the fridge.

  • If you prepare it in a tall, glass dish or in individual glasses, itís a very chic-looking dessert.

  • Itís beautiful scooped out into balls, with an ice-cream scooper, and served up on a dessert dish.

  • You donít need to slave over a hot stove to make it; you can use a purchased cake, pudding, and whipped cream.

  • If you line the dish with cling-film, itís easy to remove and set on a serving platter, then you can decorate it with whipped cream, fruit, flowersÖ

  • Make it in a pie pan for easy slicing and serving, and it looks beautiful, too.

  • And you can make it low calorie, low sugar, non-alcoholic--any way you want, by choosing your ingredients carefully (the French use slices of bread, for example).

Here are Some Tasty Spoonbread Recipe Suggestions

Coffee Spoonbread:  sliced cake/Lady Fingers dipped in coffee and/or coffee liqueur, layered between pastry cream/pudding, served covered with whipped cream dusted with powdered chocolate (sprinkled through a sieve or sifter) or fresh coffee grounds.

Whiskey - Orange Spoonbread:  sliced cake/Lady Fingers dipped in orange juice mixed with whiskey, layered between pastry cream/pudding (and orange marmalade or chopped oranges if you want), served covered with whipped cream decorated with orange peel shavings (a potato peeler works wonderfully for this).

Irish Coffee Spoonbread:  sliced cake/Lady Fingers dipped in coffee mixed with whiskey, layered between pastry cream/pudding, served covered with whipped cream sprinkled with fresh coffee grounds.

Fruit Spoonbread:  sliced cake/Lady Fingers dipped in fruit juice (and Brandy or Rum or fruit liqueur if you want), layered between pastry cream/pudding and sliced fruit (or jam), served covered with whipped cream and topped with sliced fruit. 

Nut Spoonbread:  sliced cake/Lady Fingers dipped in a nut liqueur or whiskey, layered between pastry cream/pudding and ground nuts, served covered with whipped cream and topped with whole nuts.

Chocolate - Orange Spoonbread:  sliced cake/Lady Fingers dipped in orange juice and/or orange liqueur, layered between chocolate pastry cream/pudding (and orange marmalade or chopped oranges if you want), served covered with whipped cream decorated with chocolate shavings (the potato peeler has many functions!).

Soft Summer Fruits (Berry) Spoonbread:  sliced cake/Lady Fingers dipped in berry juice (and Rum or Brandy or a fruit liqueur if your want), layered between pastry cream/pudding and berries (or berry jam), served covered with whipped cream and topped with fresh berries.

Mocha Spoonbread:  sliced cake/Lady Fingers dipped in coffee and/or a coffee liqueur, layered between chocolate pastry cream/pudding, served covered with whipped cream decorated with chocolate shavings (or dusted with powered chocolate, or sprinkled with fresh coffee grounds).

Lemon Spoonbread:  sliced cake/Lady Fingers dipped in lemon juice or lemonade (and a lemon liqueur if you want), layered between pastry cream/pudding (and grated lemon peel if you want), served covered with whipped cream decorated with lemon peel shavings (that potato peeler, again).

Some Related Links

  • The Cucina Con Me site, in Italian, offers a long list of Dessert al cucchiaio

  • Delia Smith is the top selling and most popular chef in Britain.  This link is to her website listing of her favorite Italian desserts.  She offers great photos and easy to follow instructions, as well as lots of cooking tips.

My Other Summer Sweets Pages

Visit my Italian Liqueur Page for Info and Recipes