Today Olivette di Sant'Agata, the patron saint of Catania: a typical Sicilian dessert that you can not miss. The Olivette di Sant'Agata are made of almond paste and traditionally prepared in late January and early February, even if they are found throughout the year in local bakeries. The period also coincides with that of the Carnival, in Sicily during which you can taste the delicious Sfinci SICILIANE SAINT JOSEPH stuffed with ricotta and Crispelle RICE CAKES sprinkled with warm honey and candied orange peel. If you love sweets Carnival, do not waste my article on CARNIVAL SWEET: ALL RECIPES REGIONAL HIGHLIGHTS.
Are some sweets that sources linked to the life of San'Agata. The young, chased by soldiers of the proconsul Quintian, He wanted it for himself and take possession of the assets of the family, tired and hungry, witnessed a miracle: When she bent over to tie a shoe, a plant of Wild olive-tree grew lush in front of her hiding it to the guards and sfamandola with its fruits. For this named olive Agata: are treats made of marzipan, green colored, like olives, and coated with granulated sugar. Anciently as dye they used spinach juice, now using food coloring or, in the variant with Pistachio, pistachios of Bronte. The feast of Sant'Agata in Catania lasts three days: from 3 to 5 February, and it is an unmissable event for the people of Catania and beyond.
Sometimes Olivette di Sant'Agata are also covered in the middle of dark chocolate, but I find them more beautiful and more delicious that way. Now, honestly, don't you think are beautiful? And they are also very easy to do, I swear to you. This was my first attempt, and as you see they came well. So you won't fail you too. Is, given that the period is to Carnival, do not forget to have a look at all my CARNIVAL RECIPES. and at SICILIAN RECIPES. Have a good day!
DOSES FOR A POUND OF DOUGH (25-30 olivette):
500 grams of ground almonds (I'm grinding sweet almonds of Avola)
500 g caster sugar
130 milliliters of natural mineral water
30 milliliters of sweet liqueur (rosolio or maraschino)
the seeds of a vanilla bean Bourbon
Green food coloring, to taste
a pinch of fine salt
granulated sugar to decorate toggles
To prepare the olive groves of Sant'Agata, you need the almond flour: I would recommend it to you using blanched almonds and not roasted: Chop finely with the Blender. Put the sugar in a pan, vanilla and water, bring to a boil. Then add the almond flour and work around until you get a soft dough.
Cook the dough for the olive groves of Sant'Agata over low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring well because the mixture tends to stick on the bottom of the Pan. Stir until the mixture comes away easily from the walls of the pot. Add the liqueur and, drop by drop, the green dye, working the dough until it's of a uniform green: the amount depends on the type of dye you will use. I prefer those gel, after their brilliant colours. Remember that the olive groves of Sant'Agata must be of a not too intense green.
When the mixture has become tepid, pour it on a cutting board or work surface and work it a few minutes with your hands, until it is shiny and smooth. Then, form with hands into small balls and give them the shape of olives, slightly oblong. With a toothpick, drill a small hole on the top of each toggle, as if it were the hole of the petiole. Roll each olive grove of Sant'Agata into the caster sugar and arrange them all in a tray, in a single layer.
Before eating the olive groves of Sant'Agata, you have to let them harden for a whole day at room temperature: in this way they will have the right texture and flavor will become more intense. Perfectly, If kept in an airtight box and away from sources of moisture, for two weeks. Bon appétit!