Cover image for Sweet Sicily : the story of an island and her pastries
Sweet Sicily : the story of an island and her pastries
Granof, Victoria, 1958-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Regan Books, [2001]

Physical Description:
216 pages : illustrations (chiefly color) ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TX773 .G694 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



There's nothing subtle about Sicily.

From the towering cake known as the Triumph of Gluttony to the pert cherry-topped pastries called Virgin's Breasts to puckery, palate-tingling ices made from the island's luscious lemons and tangerines, Sicily is known for its audacious -- and delicious -- desserts. Pastry chef and food stylist Victoria Granof has traveled throughout Sicily learning sweet secrets and local lore from the island's pastry chefs and home bakers, and the result is Sweet Sicily, a lushly photographed exploration of authentic Sicilian pastry-making.

For more than two thousand years, Sicily has been coveted for its fertile land and unique location in the Mediterranean. The Greeks, Romans, Normans, Austrians, French, Bourbons, and Saracens have all landed on its shores, and in turn left their imprints on its food. Granof's magical tour takes us to Modica, where Franco and Pierpaolo Ruta of the Antica Dolceria Bonajuto create chocolate pastries using a five-hundred-year-old recipe that originated with the island's Bourbon conquerors, and to the Baroque town of Noto, where master pastry chef Corrado uses jasmine blossoms planted by Saracens more than a thousand years ago to flavor his jasmine gelato. Granof goes on a quest to find the most authentic ingredients and recipes, including delectable homemade ricotta made from the milk of sheep that graze on fragrant herbs and pistachios that grow in the shadow of Mount Etna, the island's still active volcano.

In Sicily, every holiday and festival has its proper sweet accompaniment: marzipan lambs at Easter, honeyed pastry fritters at Christmas, crunchy, clove-scented cookies called "bones of the dead" for All Soul's Day. Granof explores these customs and festivals, gathering heirloom recipes, along with local anecdotes and advice. In addition to sweets that are already familiar to Americans, such as cannoli, cassata, and lemon ice, she introduces us to dozens of delectable pastries, confections, and cookies that are destined to become favorites as well.

With a guide to festivals and pastry shops throughout the island, and nearly one hundred recipes formulated for use in American kitchens, Sweet Sicily is an unforgettable exploration of the desserts of the world's most beguiling island.

Author Notes

Victoria Granof is a food stylist who was classically trained at Le Cordon Bleu. She has worked as a cooking instructor and as a chef and pastry chef at several restaurants in Los Angeles and has done recipe development or food styling for numerous cookbooks as well as for Bon Appetit, Food and Wine, Vogue, and Instyle and film and television. She lives in New York City and Taormina, Sicily

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Sicilian sweets are more than simply desserts-each one has a particular significance in the island's varied and unique culture and history. In this, her debut work, Granof, a New York City chef who trained at Le Cordon Bleu, wonderfully integrates the myth and mysticism of Sicily with solid, easy-to-follow recipes and gorgeous photos. N'zuddi, for example, are orange and almond cookies shared in a square to honor Messina's patron saint, the Madonna della Lettera, and the letter she brought to the town from Jerusalem in A.D. 43. Minni di Vergine, or virgin's breasts, are small mounds of pudding encased in pastry dough with candied-cherry nipples, which Sicilians eat "with reverence" to honor the martyred Saint Agatha. The Rice Fritters of Siracusa were originally made in the 18th century by Benedictine monks, and Jasmine Gelato uses flowers originally planted by Arabs over 1,000 years ago. Some Sicilian desserts, known as Cannoli, are well-known in the U.S., but Granof presents them in their classic form. Feature pieces on Sicilian bakers, like Franco Ruta of Modica's Antica Dolceria Bonajuto, are great fun, as are the author's recollections of her own experiences eating in Sicily. With inspired confidence, Granof offers an unusual addition to the crowded shelves of Italian cookbooks. (June 1). Forecast: Part history book, part travel memoir, this original, beautiful book seems destined for success and will certainly appeal to fans of Mary Taylor Simeti and Carol Field. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Pastry chef Granof begins her cookbook with a time line and history of Sicily. This chronology is a story not just of political conquest but of culinary influences that makes for enjoyable reading. An overview of Sicilian festivals and lessons on how to stock a Sicilian pantry follow. The recipes are divided according to type (e.g., cookies, fried pastries, cakes, etc.), and most don't require many ingredients and steps. Each is preceded by an amusing anecdote, a brief history, or additional interesting commentary (e.g., what makes the texture airy). Granof also includes a listing of cafs and pastry shops to visit in Palermo. Beautiful photographs of the dishes and of Sicily make this book a treasure to own. Highly recommended for public libraries or for colleges that support culinary arts. Debra Mitts Smith, Jamaica Plain, MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

La DispensaRicette di BaseBiscotti e DolcettiFrittelleTorteGelatiDolci al CucchiaioTorroneConserveLiquori e Bevandi
Introductionp. 1
A Brief History of Sweet Sicilyp. 5
Festive Sicilyp. 23
Baking by Heartp. 39
The Sicilian Pantryp. 43
Basic Recipesp. 49
Cookies and Small Pastriesp. 65
Fried Pastriesp. 117
Cakesp. 141
Frozen Dessertsp. 155
Spoon Sweetsp. 169
Confectionsp. 177
Preservesp. 187
Liqueurs and Beveragesp. 197
Sicilian Pastry Shopsp. 207
Sourcesp. 210
Bibliographyp. 211
Acknowledgmentsp. 212
About the Photographersp. 212
Indexp. 213