Tuscan Christmas Desserts with Judy Francini (Recorded in 2021)


This workshop already took place, if you would still like to purchase we will send you the full recording of the live class along with the recipe ebook. 

What’s one of the best things about Christmas no matter where you live? The sweets!

And few places can fulfill your sweet tooth the way Tuscany can during the holiday season. At the end of a meal, most tables in Tuscany will be filled with clementines, nuts and trays of pastries bought at the local bakery. It wouldn’t be Christmas without Panettone or Pandoro, the two sweetened yeast breads made for the holidays.

Judy Witts Francini, chef and expert on all things culinary in Italy (you may remember her from the Florence episode of Dream of Italy on PBS), will join Kathy McCabe LIVE FROM TUSCANY for this holiday cooking class on super simple Tuscan desserts. Some are so easy, your kids can make them so have them join us! You will receive a shopping list ahead of time if you would like to cook along with us. Otherwise join us for a demonstration and an invigorating chat with Judy on Tuscan Christmas traditions.

To get our taste buds primed for sugar, Judy will start by making a cup of thick Tuscan hot chocolate. In Florence, you can stop at a café like Rivoire in Piazza Signoria for this sweet drink. Judy’s artisan version is made with real chocolate, which is more like pudding to be eating with a spoon.

The three Ps of Christmas desserts are Pandoro, Panettone and Panforte (the original fruit cake which hails from Siena). These are made at local bakeries (in the U.S. you can find imported versions) and a little tough to make at home but Judy will teach us how to personalize ready-made ones (she will show us how to make a Panettone look like a Christmas tree with a tiramisu filling), fancy up a Pandoro or in the case of Panforte – make an easier version, Fig and Walnut Salame.

Judy says most Tuscans don’t bake at home as gas is expensive, so another classic Salame to make without baking is Salame Dolce, a sort of Italian rum ball made from crushed cookies and cocoa.

Ricciarelli are another treat from Siena. These are gluten-free cookies make from almond flour.

For a fancier dessert, there’s Semifreddo al Torrone. Torrone is the almond candy which is also often on the table for the holidays. This is a simple frozen dessert, served taken out of the freezer so you can slice it, hence semifreddo and not gelato. Gelato also means frozen, semi means partially. Either way, it makes a party.

We will be making the following four items during our workshop:

  • Tuscan Hot Chocolate
  • Ricciarelli
  • Pandoro Tiramisu Christmas Tree
  • Fig & Walnut Panforte

We will also be discussing and showing the other items and you will be receiving recipes for ALL of the above.

Also included:

Shopping List

Recipe Ebook