Southern Italy uses ‘Pasta di Mandorle’ – Almond Paste or Marzipan, for an array of baked and raw sweets, sometimes flavoured with typical perfumes such as citrus, sometimes plain. Here is my easy recipe for a biscuit – come – sweet which will give you a very authentic taste of the Med.
For 25 – 30 sweets you will need:
400g Ground Almonds
325g Fine Golden Caster Sugar
1 tbsp Runny Honey
1 Egg & 1 Egg White
Zest of 1 Lemon OR 1 Orange with 1/2 tsp Orange Blossom Essence
Preheat oven at 190 degrees.
Mix almonds, honey, sugar, flavourings and eggs in a bowl. Mix thoroughly and bring together with your hands.
Turn out onto a surface heavily dusted with icing sugar. Roll into a sausage shape, cutting into portions and forming into desired shape. Alternatively roll into balls then roll them in the icing sugar. Lay on a shallow baking tray covered with greaseproof paper, and press down in the middle with a finger. The icing sugar will with help with the ‘cracked’ effect.
Bake for 15 minutes – the sweets should not be brown! Lift greaseproof paper and lay on a rack. Allow to cool before moving the sweets – they’ll be very soft when fresh out of the oven so take care not to break them!
These delights are better left overnight before eating. Store in a tin.
Traditionally these biscuits may be piped, with a nut or glace’ cherry placed on top before baking. A variation I adore calls for the use of Pistachio nuts. Maybe I’ll try this next..
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