Source of Recipe
List of Ingredients
Delizia, meaning "delight," not delicious, is the word Campanians often use for their composed desserts built on lady fingers (Savoiardi), cream puffs (profiteroles), or sponge cake (pan di Spagna), with pastry cream or another creamy filling, and usually another element, like the marmalade (or jam) in this recipe. (The same desserts are also called "dolce" of whatever flavor or major ingredient.) Often the cake part is doused with a diluted liquor or spirit. Frequently it is Strega in Benevento, where Strega is made; likely Limoncello in Sorrento, Amalfi and Capri, where Limoncello is the fruit liqueur of choice; or another liqueur, or rum, or brandy. The same spirit might also flavor the filling. Delizie can be elaborately decorated, or not at all, a dessert for a fancy dinner or a homey one.
Zuppa Tartara is a name I've seen only once and it struck me as characteristically Neapolitan in its attempt to make something quite modest into something very grand, associating this simple "delight" made with marmalade and packaged cake with the aristocratic Zuppa Inglese. But aggrandizement with the word zuppa wasn't enough for the amateur pastry chef who invented this. He uses tartara to romanticize beyond reason the dessert's uncooked ricotta filling. It's what Americans call a refrigerator cake and it can be assembled in minutes. Use this recipe as a general outline for creating your own flavor combinations. Keep in mind that alcohol is not a necessity. For moistening cake, use coffee or fruit juices.
If you can't find the crisp Italian-type lady fingers, called Savoiardi, use the softer, sponge-cake type American supermarket lady fingers, drying them out in a 325 degree oven for 20 minutes. Actually, you can use even the spongy fingers, or sponge cake, or any other cake, if they are dry or dried out, rather than absolutely fresh.
This sweet is also related to tiramisu in that it is an assemblage of soaked cake and creamy filling meant to be spooned up, not cut up, into servings. I have, however, come up with a configuration using lady fingers that presents well on an attractive oval platter or a wide dinner plate and can be neatly portioned for six.
For the filling:
1 cup ricotta
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
To assemble the dessert:
1/2 cup orange marmalade or other fruit jam
1/2 cup orange juice plus 2 tablespoons orange liqueur, rum, or brandy,
or about 1/2 cup dry sherry, or 3 tablespoons rum or brandy diluted with
about 1/3 cup water, or 1/4 cup limoncello diluted with 1/4 cup water
18 biscotti savoiardi (there are usually 22 to 24 in a 7-ounce package)
Optional: Dark chocolate (so-called semi-sweet or bittersweet) for grating as a garnish, or better, 6 pieces chocolate-covered, candied orange peel
Whipped cream, if desired
1. Using a rubber spatula, press the ricotta through a fine sieve into a mixing bowl. (Ricottas vary and this step is unnecessary if the texture of the ricotta is creamy.)
2. In a cup, with a table fork, beat the sugar into the cream until the sugar is dissolved. (If using imported ricotta, which has less moisture than domestic, you will probably want to add a teaspoon or so more cream, but that can be done later.)
3. Using the rubber spatula, blend the cream mixture into the ricotta. It should be easily spreadable, but not at all runny. Set aside.
4. Melt the marmalade slightly by putting the measuring cup of marmalade into a pan of hot water. Set aside. (Or later, just before you are ready to use it, melt the marmalade in a microwave for 15 to 30 seconds on high, stirring once.)
5. Pour the dipping liquid -- orange juice and liqueur, or other choice -- into a small, shallow bowl, one in which a savoiardo can lay flat on the bottom.
6. Put before you the dinner plate or small oval platter on which you want to assemble and serve the dessert. Dipping the savoiardi one at a time, and rolling each very quickly in the juice mixture, arrange 6 savoiardi snugly next to each other on the plate or platter.
7. Using the rubber spatula, spread the first layer of savoiardi with half the ricotta cream, pouring the cream down the middle of the biscuits and leaving about 1/2-inch on either side without cream. Drizzle on about half the marmalade, distributing it evenly over the cream.
8. Dip 6 more savoiardi, 1 at a time as above, and arrange over the filling and lining up with the bottom layer, pressing each biscuit down slightly. Now, either drizzle with remaining marmalade and top with another layer of 6 dipped savoiardi, or place dipped savoiardi directly on the cream and glaze the top layer of the savoiardi with the remaining marmalade. (I top with a glaze of marmalade when serving this without whipped cream.)
9. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving, but preferably 3 or 4 hours. It keeps perfectly for at least three days. Each three-biscotti section is one serving. If desired, serve the whole dessert decorated with gratings or curls of chocolate, or whipped cream and grated chocolate, or garnish each serving with a piece of chocolate-covered orange peel.