Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Sweet Inspiration

I'm feeling quite uninspired at the general. I know that might sound crazy, I am in Italy after all, but I lived here for about 8 years and come back every year and maybe it's the heat or the other beautiful distractions (or the sales that just started the other day) but this week I can't be bothered to check out any local markets. Sigh, hrmph.

BUT despite that, something did get me going the other day....

When I do come back to Milan I usually catch up with friends, and this year one dear friend had a special someone to introduce, on his birthday. What do you give someone you hardly know? I don't know about you, but I have always loved the idea of making something as a gift and what better than something sweet! (I didn't really think too much about the fact that this person was a chef from a Michelin starred restaurant whose father was a pastry chef, ummmm, no pressure, anyway, what the heck..)

So I pulled out my new Sicilian cookbook, La Cucina Siciliana for some inspiration. Almonds, sugar, an egg white and flour.

Anyone for a photo of flour? Bahaha.......SO, back to the biscuits.

The recipe did mention 30, but I only got 25 biscuits and I had to add a bit of flour when rolling (even though the recipe only says to use sugar) because they were just so sticky.

I also added some lemon rind for a bit of twang which worked nicely.

Almond Biscuits

1 egg white
125g sugar
125g raw almonds
15g flour
3 tablespoons of icing sugar
Rind of half a lemon

Preheat the oven to 180C/356F. Blanch, peel, dry, then grind the almonds. Put them in a bowl, add the sugar and lemon rind, mix, then add the egg white and flour and mix. Transfer everything to a workable surface covered with flour and mix just a little until you get a compact ball of dough. With about 25 biscuits in mind, separate and roll each piece of 'biscuit' into a 7 or 8 cm sausage then fold into an 'S' shape. Pop into the oven for about 30 minutes or until golden brown. Wait til they're totally cooled on a rack then dust with icing sugar and eat. Store in an air-tight container.