Provence produces the sweetest almonds in Europe and Aix is the un-challenged almond capital of Provence. Its calissons have been awarded an Appellation Contrôlée (like fine wine) for their quality. Popularized commercially between 1830-1860, when the confectioners and pastry-makers of Aix first began to be known all over France, they are made with a proportion of 40% blanched almonds, pounded and slow-baked with 60% glace melons and fruit syrup. For this blending process special machines are used. The following recipe, adapted from the 1896 cookbook by J B Reboul, ‘La Cuisinière Provençale’, produces a not unsatisfactory home version.
Pound the sugar and almonds together finely in a mortar. Sieve & return to mortar. Work in glacé melon & enough fruit syrup to make a smooth paste. Flatten slightly, place in a dish & in a very low oven dry paste to the consistency of stiff pastry dough. Spread
© 1987 Leslie Forbes estate. All rights reserved.