food. family. life.

mini limoncello and lemon tortes

Sweet treats and indulgences are one of my life’s secret luxuries. There are those of us who love chocolate (I adore dark chocolate) and those of us who prefer the sweetness of fresh seasonal fruit in a pie or pastry or an ice-cold, creamy gelato.

One of my favorite sweet treats has the essence of fresh lemons (limone.) I will never forget my first trip to the Amalfi Coast in Italia, during the early summer months.

We were driving along the coastline in the very early morning hours, heading south in our open convertible that was welcoming us to experience the warm sun, the soft ocean breezes and a strong, perfume-like aroma that took me by surprise.


photo courtesy of

Along the coastline that morning, we saw grove after grove of the most amazing local lemon trees, heavy with ripening fruit.

Every warm breeze that wafted across our faces brought this intensely fresh, lemony aroma that seemed to say hello… and welcome to summer in Italia.

I took full advantage of these fresh lemons that trip in every meal I ate, from the freshest fish and seafood cooked in wine, garlic and lemons, pastas con limone to some of the most delicious dolci made with the local varietal lemons found on this coastline in Italia.

The Amalfi coast is famous for a lemon digestif type of liquore called limoncello, a sweet, tart and remarkably refreshing drink that you will find on every table, after every meal.

You can buy very good quality brands here in the U.S. but I love the homemade versions I tasted that summer.

I will soon be experimenting with my own limoncello recipe to recreate the flavor and freshness I fell in love with on the Amalfi Coast.

This is a recipe I adapted from one I found in my research in honor of limoncello. This recipe showcases the freshness of this famous drink and the fresh lemons that compliment it.

This is a perfect spring to summer dolci that can be served for elegant gatherings or poolside grilling parties and dinners.cucinadimammina_mini limoncello_lemon tortes_08

{piccola torta al limoncello e limone}: 12 mini tortes


{for the tortes}

1 cup plain greek yogurt or whole milk ricotta (I actually like to use a mixture of both)

2 organic whole eggs

1/3 cup sesame seed oil or grapeseed oil

2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

2 tbsp. fresh lemon zest

1/4 cup limoncell0 (Caravella or other brand of choice)

3/4 cup sugar

1 cup unbleached flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

pinch of sea salt

{for the glaze}

1/2 to 3/4 cup of confectioners sugar

3 tbsp. limoncello

additional lemon zest for topping

additional confectioners sugar for dusting

12 mini fluted metal torte pans

In a large mixer bowl, add in the yogurt/ricotta mixture, eggs, oil and sugar. Blend well until fully combined.

Add in the lemon juice, zest and limoncello and mix well.cucinadimammina_mini limoncello_lemon tortes_10

In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and mix well with a fork.

Slowly add in the flour mixture in sections to the egg mixture, mix until well blended at each addition.

When done, remove bowl from mixer and set aside.

Spray each torte pan lightly with cooking spray until well coated.

Using a large spoon, fill each torte pan about 1/2 to 2/3 full of the batter until all are filled.

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Place all the torte pans on a large metal baking sheet and place in a preheated 325 to 345 degree oven for about 20 to 30 minutes, or until lightly golden in color.

Remove the baking sheet with the tortes from the oven and set aside to cool for about 10 to 15 minutes.

In a small mixing bowl mix together, until well combined the confectioners sugar and the 3 tbsp. or so of limoncello (adjust this mixture as needed until it is a slightly thick glaze.)

Remove all the tortes from their pans carefully and place them back on the baking sheet fluted side up.

Drizzle each torte with some of the glaze, sprinkle some of the zest.

Glaze each one and top with zest until all are completed. Place on a large serving platter and right before serving, dust heavily with confectioners sugar to taste.cucinadimammina_mini limoncello_lemon tortes_18


Note: Photography provided by Annette L. Venditti

Buon Appetito!

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