Torta Pere E Amaretti (Pears and Amaretto Biscuit Pie): An Award Winning Italian Dessert


Silvia Ubiali, Reporter

What makes the Italian cooking characteristic? We have a lot of pasta, that’s true, but it’s not just that. I think, with generations of grandparents passing many recipes along to family and the passion for cooking and eating together, it’s probably for this reason that if someone ask me what is the place where I like eating the most I would always answer my grandma’s house.

Probably one of the major differences between Italian and American cuisine is Americans are more open to different foods of the world, which are mixed together in their cooking. Italians, instead, follow their tradition and the recipes that the grandmothers passed down, which are being perfected from generation to generation until they become perfect.

My grandma is an example of the typical Italian grandmother, full of recipes that she got from her family and from Italian tradition, that she learned and perfected during the years. She learned her first recipes from her mom, when she was young, but, seen that she has older sisters that used to cook for her at home, she didn’t have a lot of time to practice. She had alway wanted to learn how to cook better, so when she married my granddad, she decided that it was the time to do it. She received from some of her friends, as wedding present, a book called Il Cucchiaio D’Argento (The Silver Spoon). It is a big book full of recipes from the Italian cooking tradition. I personally have one at home. It is really heavy, but very helpful.

Learning how to cook wasn’t easy for my grandmother. It took a lot of time and work. She always tells me how one of the first times she was cooking for her husband, she spent all day in the kitchen and had to throw the meal away because she confused salt with sugar. But when you have the passion and the time, you try and try again, until you get better and better, and now I personally think she is the best cook!

Every time I eat at her house everything is perfect, but it is not just about the cooking; an important characteristic of Italian meals is that we eat together at the same table where we talk and laugh for a long time, and you feel at home. It’s this atmosphere that makes everything better; it makes you appreciate the food on the table even more.

One thing my grandmother makes well are cakes and pies (some years ago she won a prize for the best cake in town. She was nominated “Miss Cake,” and I’m really proud to be the granddaughter of “Miss Cake”). One of the best pies she can make is the Torta Pere e Amaretti. This pie originated from the town where she grew up. Her mother taught her the recipe so my grandmother had a lot of time to practice, and now, every time she makes it, it is perfect. I always try to find as many excuses as I can to get her to make it. She agreed to share the recipe for this pie with all of you, hoping you will try to make it:

Torta Pere E Amaretti (Pears and Amaretto Biscuit Pie) Ingredients & Directions:

  • 13 oz of white flour
  • 2 oz of potato starch
  • 3 oz of butter
  • 2 oz of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 3 egg yolks
  • grated peel of 1 lemon
  • 2 spoons of dry Marsala (or any other dessert liquor)
  • 2 oz of fresh pears
  • 7 oz of amaretto biscuits

Put flour, potato starch, butter, sugar, honey, yolks, grated lemon peel, and liquor in a bowl. Mix until doughy. Fold into plastic wrap and leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Then peel and cut the pears into wedges, removing the core. Put them into a stainless steel pot, without any sugar or water, and put the lid on it. Cook it on low heat for 15 minutes. Then, always with the lid, cook it at medium/high heat for half an hour, sometimes stirring, ensuring that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Keep the pot on the heat, removing the lid, stirring frequently, until the cooked pears have the consistency of a puree. Let it cool down, and when it’s cold, drain the liquid that had been created on the bottom. Coarsely crumble the amaretto biscuits and add them to the pears puree. Bring a circular pan for the cake that is around 11 inches diameters, or a square one that is 10×10. Remove the dough from the fridge, spread a little more than half in the pan to cover the bottom and the sides. Then pour the pear puree with amaretti biscuits inn and cover with the remaining dough. Prick with a fork the top of the cake many times, and then cook it in a preheated oven at 350°F for an hour. Cool and serve with powdered sugar on top.

I really like this dessert, and I hope you will too!