These thin, crisp almond-and-hazelnut wafers are a specialty of Aosta, capital city of the Val d’Aosta region, Italy’s French-speaking enclave. Aosta has everything — breathtaking mountain views, Roman ruins, and excellent food. The wonderful Pasticceria Boch, right in the center of the city on Piazza Chanoux, is a typical Old World pastry shop. There is an elegant salesroom, a bustling stand-up bar, and indoor and outdoor café tables where residents and tourists alike savor coffee or other drinks and, of course, the heavenly pastries.
Tegole have been part of the Pasticceria Boch’s assortment of cookies since early in the century, when the establishment was founded by the grandfather of the present owner,
If you use unblanched almonds and hazelnuts, the finished tegole will be attractively speckled. If the nuts are already blanched, the cookies will be lighter in color.
Combine the almonds, hazelnuts, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade and pulse repeatedly to grind to a fine powder. Pour into a medium bowl and stir in the flour. In a clean, dry bowl, whip the egg whites with the salt and continue whipping until they hold a soft peak. Stir the egg whites into the nut mixture. They will fall, but it does not matter, since the tegole will leaven slightly while they are baking.
Butter 4 or 5 jelly roll pans or cookie sheets thickly. For this purpose it is better to use very soft (but not melted) butter, applying it with a brush. Place twelve
Immediately upon removing the pan from the oven, pry the tegole off the pan with a flat, sharp-edged spatula and drape them over a rolling pin or a roll of aluminum foil so that they curve and become crisp. Repeat with the remaining batter. Remove the tegole from the rolling pin or roll of foil after they have cooled enough to hold their shape, and finish cooling on a rack.
Store the tegole airtight or they will absorb humidity and become soggy.
© 1990 Nick Malgieri. All rights reserved.