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Ricotta cookies from Castellano and Pizzo-MANY years ago

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When I lived in Tampa, I always shopped at Castellano and Pizzo(this was 1993 to approx 1998/2000.There was a woman who made pastries(DELICIOUS) and the most spectacular ricotta cookies. Just before we left she was very,very ill and I assume she discontinued her business. I have tried to duplicate her cookies over the years to no avail.Is there anyone out there who has figured them outT They were cakey but light with little air pockets thruout. They were about 2- 3 inches high in the center and slopped downward. I know this is not a very culinary description but the best I can come up with. I have been using Nick Malgieri's recipe from Cookies Unlimited and have tweaked it every Christmas but they continue to elude me. I've tried other recipes but his is the closest. PLEASE HELP! I live in NYC now and have tried every Italian bakery from Arthur Ave. to the tip of Manhattan.You would make me very,very happy-Thanks in advance UpperWestside Cook(UWSCOOK) Manhattan Board

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  1. Finally, someone else who shares my pain! I have been on a hunt for these cookies for years. I grew up eating this woman's amazingly delicious cookies every week and was devastated when she was no longer baking for castellanos. I was wondering if you've had any success recreating the recipe yet. I'm about to start experimenting myself and would love to share recipe success and failures.

    2 Replies
    1. re: amandajane

      I make these same cookies Carole Ann made for years at Castellanos & Pizzo. First of all, you cannot substitute margarine or shortening for butter. I kept her supplied with her Tupperware measuring cups and spoons for many years. One of the secrets is butter. Butter makes all the difference. I make these cookies all the time. If you are in the Tampa Bay area, I would be happy to make a batch for you and if you like them, I will share the recipe and/or teach you how to make them. I think the cookies they have now are just store bought. I don't buy sweets there since Carole passed away. I began baking again since retiring now that I have the time.

      1. re: ladybaker

        I've since moved to Georgia but I would absolutely love it if you would share your recipe with me. Her desserts were some of the best I've ever had and those cookies strangely enough hold a dear place in my heart. If you'd like to exchange emails or something, I'd love to stay in contact with you. Thanks so much for the reply!!

    2. I have Carole's recipe Barbara if you want to email me.

      1. Let me get this straight: the incessantly touted superiority of New York cuisine in all areas of endeavor is being questioned? Tampa actually makes (well, made) something better than New York? (But maybe because you are originally from Tampa, this doesn't count. Maybe I would have to search for a born and bred New Yorker admitting that this is the case!)

        Seriously, I can't help you, but I mourn the passing of Castellano and Pizzo. That deli/grocery store had so many excellent things!

        1. I used to live in Tampa and adored those cookies as well. I have experimented with several recipes also and have yet to duplicate!! If someone is willing to send me the recipe I would so appreciate it!!

          1. I hope that ladybaker will share the information here in this discussion. It's nice to send a tip by email, but that helps just that person. Sharing it here will help us all make these cookies and they sound awesome!