I have already introduced you to the black cherry liqueur Ratafià by the artisan company Scuppoz so today you will discover the second liqueur I love to use in the kitchen, namely the liquorice liqueur which I propose in this Almond panna cotta with liquorice reduction, which is also lactose-free.

Liquorice is Abruzzo’s black gold. In the past, this root was given to children instead of candies because it was just as sweet and available in nature along the paths from the mountains down to the sea.

Scuppoz Liquorice Liqueur is produced in a completely artisan way by infusing liquorice roots, which give the liqueur an unmistakable and harmonious flavour (here you can find the AIC rules for choosing gluten-free liqueurs). The ideal temperature for enjoying this liqueur is the refrigerator temperature, as is also the case in my recipe in which, however, we no longer have alcohol in order to serve it to children too!

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panna cotta alle mandorle

Almond panna cotta with liquorice reduction

41.35g carbohydrates per 100g of Panna cotta without liquorice reduction

Ingredients for 4-5 servings

  • 200g vegetable cream*
  • 150g almond milk*
  • 70g sugar
  • 8g gelatine sheets*

Ingredients for the liquorice reduction

  • Scuppoz liquorice liqueur*

**Ingredients specific for celiacs

*Ingredients whose labels must read “gluten-free” (or, in Italy, present on  Prontuario AIC)


  1. Soak the gelatine in cold water.
  2. Put almond milk, vegetable cream and sugar on the stove to heat.
  3. Wring the gelatine and add it to the mixture over the heat so that it melts, then stir well and remove from the heat.
  4. Fill moulds of the desired shape, then place them in the refrigerator for a few hours so that the mixture solidifies.
  5. Prepare the liquorice liquor reduction. Put the desired amount in a small pan and when it comes to the boil, let it reduce for a few minutes, then allow it to cool completely. You can decide to put it in the refrigerator until the momento of serving.
  6. Remove the Panna cotta from the moulds and place it directly on the serving plate, then douse it with the liquorice liqueur.

panna cotta alle mandorle

Version with gluten of Almond panna cotta with liquorice reduction

The recipe contains only naturally gluten free ingredients, so no adaptation is necessary for its version with gluten.

Do you know that we are already in the Carnival period? Pastry shops and bakeries have been swarming with fried desserts for some time now, so here is a recipe for an excellent gluten-free fried cream (which you can easily adapt to the gluten version by following the directions at the bottom of the recipe) prepared with rice flour and coconut biscuits.

If I hardly ever fry during the year, especially sweets, in these cold days with so many limitations for social life, Carnival overwhelms us with numerous and delicious food temptations. So get ready to surrender: even if in moderation, I think it will be impossible not to taste Chiacchiere, Krapfen and this irresistible Fried Cream, a soft heart encased in crispy breadcrumbs.

Gluten-free Fried Cream

30.50g carbohydrates per 100g without icing sugar dusting


  • 500g milk
  • 150g sugar
  • 125g wholemeal rice flour*
  • 50g chopped Le Veneziane coconut biscuits**
  • 50g almond flour*
  • 25g corn starch*
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • grated rind of 1 lemon
  • frying oil, icing sugar*, flour**

**Ingredients specific for celiacs

*Ingredients whose labels must read “gluten-free” (or, in Italy, present on  Prontuario AIC)


  1. Heat the milk with the vanilla (e.g. an empty pod kept aside) and grated lemon peel. Allow to cool and strain the liquid.
  2. In a bowl, whisk the milk, sugar, 1 yolk and 2 egg whites, add the flour and starch, stirring with a whisk; then bring the cream to the boil on the stove and let it cook for a few minutes.
  3. Pour the cream inside a rectangular steel ring  placed on a sheet of baking paper or in a small square or rectangular baking tin covered with parchment paper and leave to cool.

4. Once ready, cut it into cubes, dip them first in flour, then in the 2 beaten eggs and finally in the biscuit and almond flour mixture.

Uno_Chef_per_Gaia_crema_fritta_senza Glutine

  1. Fry the cubes in hot oil, dry them well with kitchen paper and finish by dusting them with icing sugar.


Version with gluten of Fried cream

Replace gluten-free biscuits and flour for the breading with standard products.


The Ricotta and Lentil Tart is the start of a wonderful journey in the company of a blogger friend, Aura from the blog www.aurasenzaelle.comduring which we will accompany you to discover the regions of our enchanting Italy with an itinerary of trekking and typical dishes.

The ’20 di cambiamento’ project

My friend Aura’s project is called ‘20 di cambiamento‘ and is a tour throughout Italy divided into weekends. I summarise it in 4 points, but you can read the full description in this article:

  • One visit in each of the 20 Italian regions;
  • One trek in each of the 20 visits;
  • A different person for each of the 20 visits to act as a guide to connect with that place;
  • A virtuous local company (for sustainability, environmental commitment, production respecting the land) to be visited, supported and promoted.

This is where I come in with the recipes of the dishes that you will find if you travel to that region and that you can then reproduce at home, in gluten or gluten free versions and with a carbohydrate count, to relive the experience also through taste.

The first stop

The journey starts from a region, Umbria, which is often not at the top of the list of those visiting Italy, but which is a jewel for its historical and monumental wealth (just think of Assisi), for its natural beauty (and here you can enjoy this trek) and an unexpected source of culinary specialities.

La Basilica di San Francesco d'Assisi

Umbria owes much of its identity to the presence of the monastic orders that attracted the faithful from all over Europe. And it was precisely the pilgrims who had a very significant influence on the cuisine of the area because of the need they had to carry food in their saddle bags that could be stored easily. It is no coincidence that roasted meats, cured meats, Schiacciate (flat bread) and Polenta, desserts prepared with nuts, but above all pulses are the mainstay of traditional regional cuisine.

The widespread use of herbs for both cooking and curative purposes is also linked to the presence of religious orders with the liturgical calendar often imposing ‘lean’ periods during which herbs were used to replace fragrant, rich meats.

In addition to truffles, fish from Lake Transimeno and wines, here is a list of Umbria’s PGI and PDO products:

  • Extra virgin olive oil PDO
  • Spelt from Monteleone di Spoleto PDO (which we eating ‘gluten free’ cannot use)
  • Colfiorito red potato PGI
  • Prosciutto di Norcia PGI
  • Vitellone Bianco dell’Appennino Centrale PGI
  • Lamb of Central Italy PGI
  • Pecorino Toscano PDO
  • Italian Salamini alla Cacciatora PDO
  • Lentil of Castelluccio di Norcia PGI

The first recipe

The first recipe (see also the second recipe!) that I want to share with you starts from the flower fields of Castelluccio di Norcia where lentils are harvested in summer after flowering, between May and the end of June, next to a multitude of wild flowers that make the phenomenon an enchanting and unique attraction.

La fioritura a Castellucchio di Norcia

The flowering of Castelluccio di Norcia (photo: Aura Moia)

The Castelluccio lentil is small, round and has a thin skin so that it does not have to be soaked to cook it. This pulse was one of the main sources of sustenance for the shepherds of the area, who combined it with the other ingredients offered by sheep farming. This is the origin of the Ricotta and lentil tart, a cake where lentils replace chocolate chips in a delicious way. I wanted to prepare this recipe because for those of us who do not live in Castelluccio, eating lentils as a dessert is certainly less common than the wonderful soups that, here, are often flavoured by the presence of pork.

Zafferano di Cascia dell'Associazione Zafferano Purissimo dell'Umbria

Cascia saffron of the Associazione Zafferano Purissimo dell’Umbria (phooto: Aura Moia)

Another small but pleasant discovery: the ricotta and lentil tart can be made even more delicious by flavouring the ricotta with Cascia Saffron – Pure Umbria Saffron another of the jewels of small family farms whose economy is linked to the production and direct sale of saffron and the other products they grow, such as lentils, grass peas, spelt, Roveja (do you know it? It will be the star of the next Umbrian recipe) and cheese. I tried it using the yellow gold of the Zafferano e Dintorni company which I recommend you to try by going there as soon as you can or by ordering it directly from their website.

Gli ingredienti del ripieno della Crostata di ricotta e lenticchie

Ricotta and lentil tart   

36.61g carbohydrates per 100g

 Ingredients for the pastry for a 20cm diameter tart

  • 125g GF flour mix for sweets, brand Sarchio**
  • 50g butter
  • 50g brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 15g brown rice flour*
  • ½ lemon, peel
  • a pinch of salt

Ingredients for the filling

  • 400g sheep’s milk ricotta
  • 60g sugar
  • 40g Castelluccio lentils*
  • sweetener* or sugar
  • cinnamon powder

**Ingredients specific for celiacs

*Ingredients whose labels must read “gluten-free” (or, in Italy, present on  Prontuario AIC)


  1. Prepare the shortcrust pastry (of course you can also use other recipes for shortcrust pastry); pour the powders (flour and sugar) into a mixing bowl or planetary mixer, add the butter and start to knead it into the powders, then add the egg, the grated peel of half a lemon and a pinch of salt. Mix until the mixture is smooth, then place it in the refrigerator wrapped in cling film while you prepare the lentils and the filling.
  2. Place the lentils on a plate and make sure they do not contain other pulses or cereals, then rinse them well and place them in a saucepan with water and a bit of sweetener (I used Tic) or a teaspoon of sugar. Bring to the boil and cook the lentils for 15 minutes. Drain them and keep them aside.
  3. Put ricotta cheese in a bowl, add sugar, a pinch of cinnamon and the drained lentils.
  4. Roll out the shortcrust pastry into a thin disc; I used a 20cm diameter perforated metal ring to cut the base on a perforated silicone mat and then I covered the ring to form a pastry shell for the tart; alternatively, cover a 20cm cake tin with baking paper. Fill the pastry with the ricotta and lentil filling and bake in a static oven preheated to 180°C for about 30 minutes. Let it cool and serve.
  5. Bake in a static oven preheated to 170°C for 45 minutes.

La Crostata di ricotta e lenticchie con gli ingredienti per il ripieno

Version with gluten of Ricotta and lentil tart

Use a standard shortcrust pastry, whereas the filling is prepared with naturally gluten free ingredients, so no other adaptation is necessary for its version with gluten.


In addition to bread and jam, one of my favourite breakfasts is with Soft apple and cinnamon cake, although I love any baked desserts made with this fruit that accompanies us all year round and which – especially at this time of spring when we are waiting for the great gifts of the warm season in terms of fruit – is one of the few seasonal products of Italian origin.

Although I like all apple desserts, for breakfast soft cakes are definitely the ones I enjoy the most, combining them with yoghurt, granola and my ever-present strong coffee: a pampering that I find really indispensable to get the day off to a good start.

I suggest you use cinnamon in the recipe, do you know why? Have you ever wondered why in all cultures of the world there are so many sweets containing cinnamon? This is by no means a coincidence.

In fact, this spice slows down gastric emptying time, which also slows down the absorption of blood sugar immediately after meals, i.e. cinnamon has a ‘hypoglycaemic’ function. This does not mean that the consumption of cinnamon can be considered a therapy for diabetes, but there are numerous studies showing its favourable effect on blood glucose control in people with diabetes, especially type 2 diabetes (for some more information, you can read this article). So in addition to giving our preparations an unmistakable aroma, cinnamon also has a positive effect on our well-being!

Torta soffice di mele e cannella

Soft apple and cinnamon cake

 Soft apple and cinnamon cake   

40.10g carbohydrates per 100g


  • 350g Granny Smith or rennet apples already cleaned and peeled (2 apples)
  • 200g brown sugar (+ 20g for sprinkling, optional)
  • 125g low fat plain yoghurt
  • 100g gluten free multi-purpose flour mix, brand Massimo Zero**
  • 100g corn starch*
  • 80g almond flour*
  • 70g butter
  • 30g coconut milk*
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 lemon
  • 16g baking powder*
  • a bit of vanilla from the pod
  • cinnamon powder

**Ingredients specific for celiacs

*Ingredients whose labels must read “gluten-free” (or, in Italy, present on  Prontuario AIC)


  1. Peel and core the apples and sprinkle them with the juice of half a lemon so that they do not get dark.
  2. In a planetary mixer, whip the eggs with the brown sugar until white and frothy, then add the creamy butter, vanilla and the powder ingredients, i.e. almond flour, corn starch and the Massimo Zero mix; add the yoghurt, a pinch of salt and finally the baking powder and coconut milk. Remove the mixture from the planetary mixer and complete with grated lemon zest.
  3. Wet a sheet of baking paper and line a 24cm-diameter hinged cake tin. Pour in the mixture, level it and start covering it with the sliced apples, creating a pattern on the surface so that all the apples are used.
  4. To complete and if you wish, mix 30g brown sugar with a teaspoon of cinnamon, then sprinkle the apples with the mixture before placing the cake in a static oven preheated to 180°C for 40 minutes.
  5. Remove the cake from the oven, allow it to cool, then take it out of the mould, remove the baking paper and place it on a cake tin. Watch the video recipe!

Version with gluten of Soft apple and cinnamon cake

Replace the Massimo Zero flour mix with an equal amount of conventional cake flour and do not add 30g of coconut milk.

Are you craving for a fresh, tasty and easy-to-make dessert, cooked with naturally gluten free ingredients? My answer is this Oat and ricotta crumble, a light and special cake that is going to conquer family and friends.

Let’s remember that oat has been considered suitable for celiacs by the Italian Celiac Association only recently and you can read the position statement here: position statement of the AIC Scientific Committee on oat products.

And since you purchased oat flour to prepare this crumble, you can take the opportunity of having this ingredient available to bake some irresistible Digestives.

Oat and ricotta crumble

 30g carbohydrates per 100g

Ingredients for a 26cm diametre tin

  • 125g oat flour*
  • 75g butter
  • 60g sugar
  • 45g brown rice flour*
  • 40g almond flour*
  • 1 egg
  • a pinch of sodium bicarbonate* (optional)

Ingredients for the filling

  • 400g Ricotta cheese
  • 200g strawberries
  • 80g sugar
  • 45g Amaretto Velvet liqueur*
  • 1/2 vanilla pod (pulp)
  • lemon or orange zest, grated

**Ingredients specific for celiacs

*Ingredients whose labels must read “gluten-free” (or, in Italy, present on  Prontuario AIC)


  1. Prepare the crumble by mixing all the ingredients in a bowl obtaining large crumbs. Set aside while preparing the filling.
  2. Put the ricotta cheese in a bowl and mix it with sugar, vanilla, Amaretto and the grated lemon or orange zest to taste to obtain a smooth and even cream.
  3. Take a hinged mould having a diameter of 24-26cm and cover it with wet parchment paper so that it adheres well to the mould. Form a layer of crumbs on the bottom using about half of the mixture, then top with the ricotta cream and the strawberries cut in pieces plunging them slightly in the cream, then complete with the remaining crumbs.
  4. Bake in a convection oven preheated to 170°C for about 40 minutes, then place in the refrigerator to cool immediately.

crumble di avena e ricotta

Version with gluten of Oat and ricotta crumble

The recipe is naturally gluten-free, so no adaptation is needed for its version with gluten.

If you have decided to spend New Year’s Eve at home with friends, you will certainly be struggling with recipes for the New Year’s Eve dinner. Yes, because it is not enough to make something good to eat, you also have to surprise your guests with dishes worthy of a chef, admit it! Then we have the perfect dessert for you: Charlotte Mont Blanc.

If you don’t like chestnuts, how about a Celebration Sacher?

Don’t be afraid, making it is much easier than you might expect. Let’s begin!

Charlotte Mont Blanc

36.23g carbohydrates per 100g

Ingredients for 10-12 servings

  • 500g chestnut cream or compote*
  • 500g fresh cream
  • 150g boiled and peeled chestnuts (it will take about 45 minutes to cook them in boiling water)
  • 150g ladyfingers**
  • 80g Marrons glacés*
  • 70g milk
  • 10g bitter cocoa*
  • 10g gelatine sheets*
  • 1 vanilla pod

**Ingredients specific for celiacs

*Ingredients whose labels must read “gluten-free” (or, in Italy, present on  Prontuario AIC)

Preparation of Charlotte Mont Blanc

  1. Soak the gelatine in cold water, then dissolve it in a few tablespoons of cream and leave to cool.
    Whip the cream and set aside a small amount that will be used to decorate the cake. Gradually fold in the chestnut cream in the whipped cream, taking great care not to make it go flat. Chop 60g of marrons glacés, add them to the chestnut and cream mixture and finally add the melted gelatine.
  2. Take a tall mould with a diameter of about 20cm (we used a rather high cake tin with a larger diameter, so the biscuits turned out to be further apart), cover it with cling film, cut the ladyfingers on one side by removing about 1.5-2cm of the length and lay them along the edge of the mould resting them on the cut side. Pour the chestnut and cream mixture inside the mould lined with the ladyfingers, cover with foil and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
  3. In a small saucepan, place the boiled and peeled chestnuts with the contents of a vanilla pod on the stove, add the milk and cook for about 10 minutes. Then incorporate the bitter cocoa and whisk to obtain a rather thick and homogeneous cream, adding some extra milk if necessary. Cover with cling film and set aside.
  4. Remove the mould with the ladyfingers and cream from the refrigerator and, with the help of the clingfilm underneath, put the Charlotte on a cake stand, then remove the clingfilm on the sides with the help of scissors or a sharp knife, and tie the cake with a decorative bow.
  5. Using a potato masher, mash the chestnut and cocoa cream inside the circle of ladyfingers, on top of the cream mixture; finally, decorate with cream tufts and the remaining chopped marrons glacés.

Charlotte Mont Blanc ready to be enjoyed

Version with gluten of Charlotte Mont Blanc

Replace the gluten-free ladyfingers with standard ones, no further adaptations are needed.