Get your slice of tuscan bischeri pie and all is well!

This recipe made of short crust pastry basket filled with chocolate, rice, raisins and pine nuts comes from the culinary tradition of the Pisa area, and the bischeri are the name of the pastry tips that stick out from the cake. Original recipe was started in the Valdiserchio area and used for celebration days or local catholic festivities because its richness of flavourful aromas and fullness of taste made everybody cheerful.

This is the version we make at home.

Ingredients for the dough:

300 gr of flour

250 gr of sugar

70 gr of melted butter

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1 teaspoon of baking soda

¼ lemon zest

1 tablespoon orange juice

20 gr of Strega liqueur (or rhum)

In a bowl mix all the above ingredients and work until a firm ball of dough is formed, then wrap it in aluminum foil and let it rest for at least an hour in the fridge.

Meanwhile prepare the filling with the following ingredients:

100 gr of dark chocolate

70 gr of short grain rice

150 gr of milk

30 gr of cocoa powder

150 gr of sugar

60 gr of candied cedar

60 gr of candied orange

40 gr of pine nuts

40 gr of raisins (pre-soaked in warm water)

½ teaspoon of grated nutmeg

1 large egg

Boil the rice in milk until well cooked, turn off the heat, discard any excess of liquid and add the dark chocolate in small chunks, mix until the chocolate is all melted and let it cool completely.

In a bowl add to the rice-chocolate mix all the rest of ingredients, stir well and set aside.

Pre-heat oven at 180°. Retrieve the dough from the fridge and split it in 2 pieces, the larger should be about 2 thirds of the whole pastry, roll this out in a large dish that has to cover bottom and sides of a baking pan, previously folded with non-stick paper foil, allowing some pastry to go a little over the pan edge. Now do some oblique cuts on the edge of the pastry at regular distance, and bend the cut part to form little triangles.

Spread evenly all the filling into the dough surface, and with the remaining dough rolled out cut in 2 cm strips, create a grid on top of the filling.

Bake for 50 minutes, remove from the oven and let it cool, Buon Appetito.


Squash or Pumpkin, in Tuscany are tastier !

It’s fall again, and colorful squash are available anywhere in Tuscany. They are celebrated in many food festivals around the region, where they are served as main ingredient for several types of recipes that range from starters to main dishes, soups and desserts.


Here is a nutritious tuscan soup that can be a fulfilling main dish.

Ingredients for 4 people:

250 gr slices of tuscan toasted saltless bread

½ kilo of winter squash

2 carrots

1 small onion

2 celery stalks

400 gr of boiled cannellini beans

300 gr of black kale

extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

Prepare a sautee with finely chopped carrots, onion and celery in 3 spoons of olive oil.

Puree the boiled beans and add them to the pan together with their water.

Now add to the pot the kale and pumpkin cut into small pieces with some salt and pepper.   Bring to boil and simmer for 45 minutes. Serve with toasted bread and seasoned with a drizzle of olive oil (for extra flavor you can instead use a little olive oil and sautee briefly in a small pan with a finely chopped garlic clove and a few rosemary leafs… to pour on top of the dish).

Buon Appetito!

Recipe by Arianna & Friends, for your hands on cooking classes in Tuscany, try the difference!


Tuscan summer appetizer? Here you are.

One of the great gifts that a good summer can offer us is delicious fruits like figs.

There are good just as they are, sweet, soft and juicy, but you can try them in one of the many simple recipes that our ancient tradition in Tuscany can propose.

This following dish is easy to prepare, fulfilling and delicate to the palate. You can use it as a starter or just a snack with a good glass of tuscan wine.

Ingredients for 4 people:

4 slices of tuscan saltless bread

4 ripe medium figs

4 slices of pecorino toscano medium age

2 slices of tuscan ham

Acacia or chestnut honey

Cut bread in 2 cm thick slices, cover each with a slice of pecorino and place on top a quarter fig.

Place the prepared bread slices under hot oven’s broiler until the cheese starts to melt.

Meanwhile, cut in thin stripes the ham and put it in a hot non-stick pan and let it get a little crunchy, then set aside.

Once the cheese is melted, take the slices of out the oven and top them with the crunchy ham and a little honey.



Tuscan summer vegetable soup

We have in the past proposed the classic recipe of Ribollita, the tuscan vegetable soup popular throughout Tuscany.
This is the summer version, where all ingredients are fresh with the full flavors of the seasonal herbs, plus the delicate aroma of the tuscan sheep cheese. Try and make it, the round full taste of tuscan summer will come alive with every spoon you have.

Ingredients for 4 people:

300 gr fresh borlotti beans
150 gr potatoes
200 gr zucchini
200 gr carrots
400 gr black kale
1 large onion
1 garlic clove
2 celery stalks
250 gr fresh tomatoes
250 gr. tuscan bread slices
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ liter of vetable broth
aged tuscan pecorino cheese
salt and pepper

In a saucepan, saute onion, celery and carrot in olive oil.

Add diced potatoes, garlic, coarsely chopped black kale, parsley, basil, fresh beans, salt and pepper, and saute gently a little more.

Add then the chopped tomatoes previously peeled, and vegetable broth.

Cook on medium heat for about 1 hour and until most of the liquid is reduced.

Toast the tuscan bread slices..

Put them in a large baking pan, sprinkle with olive oil, pepper and grated pecorino cheese.

Cover them completely with the vegetable stew, sprinkle on top a generous amount of grated pecorino cheese and cook in the oven under broiler until a good crust is formed.

Let it sit out of the oven for at least half hour. Best served lukewarm.

Seaside flavors of Tuscany

A tuscan recipe where you get a full round taste with the fish being softened by the greens of the chards,… proteins, fibers, vitamins, mineral salts, but most of all, the flavors of italian cuisine you expect to find in Tuscany.


                        photo andreagrecia

This recipe, popular on the tuscan coast, from Livorno to Carrara, and the neighboring Liguria, express its best when the fish, obviously fresh, comes from the mediterranean sea. The local name “Seppia in Zimino” means that the fish (Seppia) is flavored with greens (Zimino), a traditional way to season used in the fishermen’s kitchens.

Ingredients for 4 people:

900 gr cleaned squid cut into strips

900 gr washed and drained swiss chards (beets)

450 gr peeled fresh tomatoes

1 medium size onion

2 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 glass of tuscan white wine (Colli di Luni or Vernaccia)

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

In a large frying pan heat the olive oil and add finely chopped garlic, onion and parsley.

Cook on medium high heat for a few minutes until tender, then add the squid and cook, always stirring, for 2 or 3 minutes more.

Add the glass of wine, let it evaporate, then add the tomatoes, salt, pepper (watch out for the amount of salt since the squid usually has some of its own) and cook for half an hour.

Add now the swiss chards cut into strips, cooking for about 20 minutes more, adding a little warm water if necessary.

Wait a few minutes before serving.