If you come to Tuscany, at any time, in any bar of any city or of any little country village, you’ll find those typical sweets: ricciarelli, panforte and Prato biscotti, which means literally baked twice. Ricciarelli and Panforte are mostly related to Christmas holidays, while you can eat cantuccini all year round as a quick dessert with a glass of good vinsanto, a typical Tuscan sweet white raisin wine.
I’m absolutely a teetotaller, so I don’t soak them in vinsanto, but in water… I know, it’s a nonsense… but when I was a child and my uncle used to soak them in vinsanto, I was given a glass of water to dip them in. Since then, this flavour brings me back to after dinner moments in San Gimignano, when the only problem was to choose in between playing cards with my granddad and my cousin or reading comics lying on my Aunt’s huge bed.
With this recipe you’ll get biscuits that are slightly softer than normal thanks to the orange honey. They are spectacular even without soaking them in vinsanto.
- 2 eggs, whites and yolks separated
- 230 g sugar
- 20 g orange honey
- 250 g flour
- ½ teaspoon baking ammonia
- Grated peel of 1 orange
- 125 g unpeeled almonds
- Preheat oven to 180°C, fan assisted.
- Whip the egg whites for about 5 minutes until they are firm, then add the sugar and whip until you get a glossy and thick meringue.
- Fold in thoroughly the honey and the egg yolks, then fold gently in the flour sifted with the baking ammonia and the grated orange peel. Mix in the almonds.
- Line with parchment paper a large baking pan and with the help of a spoon form two loaves of dough keeping them well separated, about 5 cm wide and 30 cm long.
- Bake them for about 15 minutes, then remove them from the oven, let cool for 5 minutes and then cut them slantwise into 2 cm thick slices with a sharp knife, then arrange them cut-side-down in the baking tin and put them back in the oven for about 5 - 10 minutes, until toasted.
- You can store them in a tin for several days.
GREAT NEWS! today I’m really happy, finally Basil, an american web magazine, is on line! Have a look at my monthly column, obviously dedicated to Tuscan Cooking! Tuscany Home Sweet Home… doesn’t it remind you anything? can I indulge in pride and satisfaction for today? Com’on, just for one day!