I don’t know why Rosetta Costantino’s family emigrated from the small southern Italian hill town of Verbicaro to the San Francisco Bay Area when she was 14. But I am grateful they did.
Had Costantino remained in her native Calabria, I doubt I would be salivating over her new book Southern Italian Desserts. Written with Jennie Schacht, it is a meticulously researched cultural accounting. The book includes 76 recipes for traditional sweets from the regions of Calabria, Campania, Basilicata, Puglia, and Sicily. Some of the pastries, such as Cannoli, are familiar to English-speaking bakers but many, such as Biscotti di Ceglie (almond cookies filled with cherry preserves), are revelations.
With photography by Sara Remington and Ten Speed Press’s signature high-quality production values, the volume is as visually appealing as its recipes are alluring.(Ten Speed also published Costantino’s first book My Calabria.)