for the love of italy

You know that bubble of excitement you get some times? It starts at the pit of your stomach, spreading a warmth through out your body, and ending at the very ends of your hair strands. Every fibre of your body has just experienced that warm happy feeling, that if you could capture it in a glass jar, would surely radiate a pulsing soft yellow glow.

A whole bundle of descriptive happy emotions all wrapped up in that one glass jar. You might get that feeling on seeing a loved one, the simple touch of someone who cares, hearing something that truly speaks to you on the radio, giving something to another, or simply feeling a warm afternoon breeze coming down off the mountains.

For every different person there could be a hundred different reasons for generating that wonderful feeling. And the best thing about it? It usually takes you by complete surprise. There you are going about your business, and bam. Every fibre of your body has just been touched by that invisible soft pulsing yellow glow. Leaving your mouth smiling, eyes sparkling and your heart just that bit bigger.

There are several things that can quite often trigger these feelings for me. Without completely leaving my soul out on a canape platter for the whole world to snack on, I’ll mention just the one today.

Italy. Bella Italia.

Now for any long term readers, this isn’t a surprise. I’ve often written of my love of all things Italian. Italy runs through my veins like a good custard slice does. It’s part of who I am. Not because of an extensive family tree, but my branches have definitely self sown themselves in that Italian direction.

Reading this article (here) on Italian street food brought forward a wonderful array of delicious taste bud memories from my different times spent there. Piadinas in darkened bars eaten at late hours. Wedges of thick volcano hot foccacia eaten while strolling up and down the one street as a teenager. Towering gelato eaten on freezing cold days, eaten simply because we could.

And the one that stands out as the most novel of all?

Ending all night club dancing with a crema filled croissant at 4am. Not just any croissant, but one that can only be purchased from the early morning baker who opens a tiny portion of his centuries old wooden door through a darkened cobble stoned alley way to tired dancers on their way home. A crisp and flakey croissant, still warm from the oven with custard like crema that brushes past your lips far too quickly. The secret baker who made this sweet delight and will only open up to the friend, of the friend, of the friend, who knows where on earth that secret wooden door can be found again come the next Saturday night.


Watching Two Greedy Italians recently I was inspired to make something similar to their Lemon and Ricotta Tart. I had limes and I had ricotta and if I talked to The Monkeys in an Italian accent while I baked the thing… maybe just maybe I could be transported even for a minute or two, to the land of vespas, pizza and that crema filled 4am goodness.

I was willing to give it a shot anyway.

Lime Ricotta Tart

(the love child of this Lemon and Ricotta Tart and this Lemon Meringue Pie)

one can of condensed milk

half cup lime juice and one grated lime

3 separated eggs

300g fresh ricotta

one sheet of puff pastry

Mix all ingredients together, except egg whites. Whisk egg whites separately, fold into mixture. Grease pie dish, line it with a sheet of puff pastry. Pour mixture in and bake 40minutes at 190C.

Verdict?… Dead easy. Tastes a bit like a light cheesecake, and a bit like a not so sweet lemon meringue pie.


64 thoughts on “for the love of italy

  1. i know that feeling brydie..i think it’s called happiness..that fleeting feeling we seek but that finds us..what a joyous story..i love the way you write and i love the sound of your recipe..x


  2. Ooohhh…you are making me want to go to Italy again! Lovely memories, beautifully expressed. Thanks! Nice looking tart too. My son would love a big wedge of it please!


  3. I like your recipe – not sure about using limes though as I would prefer a lemon flavour. Would I use the same quantity of lemon as for the lime in your recipe? I’m thinking about making this recipe to take away for the week-end so would appreciate a speedy reply because I will have to make it by tomorrow afternoon at the latest, as hubby and I are leaving on Friday morning. I like the simplicitiy of your recipe compared to the Two Greedy Italians, although one day I will try their recipe. Thanks!


  4. Witha bowl of limes I picked up for a song I know what I will be making with them ( I had been thinking lime butter – still might stretch to both ).
    Thanks for a great recipe.


  5. What a wonderful looking tart. And I love your story of finding that baker in the small hours of the morning and how you were able to purchase a croissant still warm from the oven – if only we could do that here! xx


  6. Oh this is seriously good timing, I just picked my very first (two) limes and want something special to do with them. Also it’s Baby Good’s first birthday party on Sunday and we’re having afternoon tea – this could be perfect. I’ve never been to Italy, but I’m sure I’ll love it when I finally get there.


  7. This looks too delicious for words. Just to make you jealous, I have right now returned from our local pasticceria where I had an apple sfoglia and a perfect cappuccino.


  8. I know that bubble – and love it 🙂 I haven’t been to Italy though so have that to look forward to. This dessert would probably tie me over though, if I had a slice. It looks delicious!


  9. The verdict is..anything with condensed milk has to be good!

    So glad you shared your reminiscing with us.. would love to hear you talk in an Italian accent sometime! 🙂


  10. lovely. is that something traditional? love crostata di ricotta e crostata alla crema (o della nonna) but never had this. looks scrumptious anyway. the first picture in the article you quote shows a bombolone alla crema, and I have just posted about that (great minds think alike). thank you for being a fun of Italy and Italian food 🙂


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  12. I got goose-bumps reading your post – wonderful memories, beautifully expressed. Got me reminiscing about my own trip to Italy and the absolute joy I felt when I was there. That tart looks divine.


  13. Strangely enough it was paris that really took my imagination as a teenager and young woman but now I sometimes wonder if I shouldn’t have had more love for italy as I love their food – though my visit there was brief and not really satisfactory – I think I really need to revisit the place and make some new memories – or at least make more italian food like your lovely tart


  14. Your poetic lilt gives a beautiful expression to your memories, Brydie – and I love your creative use of puff pastry – I shall try to remember them when next the occasion arises.


  15. love your blog!

    I’m keen to give this recipe a go: when you say “one grated lime” do you mean the zest of the lime or do you puree the whole lime, skin & all?

    thanks fleur


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