I Ricciarelli

Soft Almond Sweetmeats

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Makes About

    12

Appears in

The Italian Regional Cookbook

The Italian Regional Cookbook

By Valentina Harris

Published 2017

  • About

These delicately flavoured Tuscan soft almond sweetmeats can be bought in all good Italian food stores and are traditionally eaten at Christmas time. The bought versions are perfectly shaped, like large lozenges, and pure white in colour. This recipe for home-made ricciarelli gives you slightly less aesthetically faultless results, but they are delicious nonetheless and perfect with a glass of chilled, sweet, amber-coloured vin santo. It is customary to bake these on a host - a small piece of edible paper that forms the base and is eaten with the sweetmeat - but they can also be cooked directly on a sheet of baking parchment.

Ingredients

  • 200 g/7 oz/generous 1 cup blanched almonds
  • 115 g/4 oz/ cup pine nuts
  • 200 g/7 oz/1 cup caster/superfine sugar
  • 5 ml/1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 egg whites
  • grated rind of ½ small unwaxed orange
  • 115 g/4 oz/1 cup icing/confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Method

  1. Pound the blanched almonds and the pine nuts together to make a fine powder using a mortar and pestle, or alternatively, pulse in a food processor.

  2. Transfer into a bowl and add the caster sugar and vanilla. Mix thoroughly.

  3. Put the egg whites into a clean, grease-free bowl and whisk into stiff peaks - you should be able to turn the bowl upside down and the egg whites remain inside.
  4. Carefully fold the orange rind into the egg whites, then fold in the almond mixture.
  5. Line a baking sheet with some baking parchment, then put heaped tablespoonfuls of the mixture on to the parchment, set well apart. Chill for about 6 hours.

  6. Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/Gas 2. Bake the sweetmeats for 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack and sprinkle generously with icing sugar before serving.