The Sicilian almond pastries are one of the symbols of the island's pastry, spread in different shapes and textures all over the Island: each type is yummy, temptress like cherries, because one leads to another. They are the almond pastries, in Sicily we call them ' almond paste ': Messina are small and candid, S-shaped in Catania, in Bronte there is the fantastic pistachio variant, in the area of the Nebrodi and Etna that hazelnuts. All Sicilian almond paste can be left in their simple perfection or decorated with almonds, cherries and candied orange peel or even other types of dried fruit, as the pine nuts. The differences however are only outward, because the Interior is done always and only of ground almonds, that in Sicily are Avola almonds, granulated sugar and egg whites. Then a slight citrus hint given by lemon zest.
The video recipe of almond pastes
To make your job easier, I went to Corsino Pasticceria Palazzolo Acreide and I turned VIDEO RECIPE the production of Sicilian almond paste: a job done even by hand, from grinding almonds.
My tips for perfect almond pastes
With only three ingredients no difficulty, You'll say. But no. These almond pastes would have been born in Palermo, around 1100, from the work of the tireless nuns of the Convent of martorana (from which the colorful Martorana fruits). They look like easy treats but hide a pitfall: If you do not respect rest times melt in the oven like snow in the Sun. I, When should I bake a sweet can't wait to get it to eat it as soon as possible, I melted well 4 trays in various times. And I am telling you this: leave your almond paste cookies to rest in the refrigerator for a night or 12 hours, so you'll have a truly optimal.
These cupcakes will keep well for several days in an airtight Tin, or you can wrap them one by one in white tissue paper: so will also become a beautiful Christmas gift. I remind you that the almond cakes are also popular in Calabria, Salento and Sardinia. And I like all. If you love sweets of my Sicily bedda, have a look at all my SWEET SICILIAN RECIPES.
200 grams of peeled almonds of Avola
180 grams of caster sugar
20 grams of honey
60 grams of egg whites (2 medium egg whites)
grated rind of one lemon organic
powdered sugar for working the almond paste and decorate, to taste
whole or candied almonds of Avola, to taste
Before you prepare the almond pastes, look at the VIDEO RECIPE Corsino. To prepare the almond paste, put the almonds and sugar in a blender or in a food processor and blend until the almonds are not evenly chopped. When they're like a coarse flour, Add the egg whites, honey and lemon zest and whisk for another minute or two, until you have a smooth and firm.
At this point, If you are brave, you can put the mixture to the almond paste in a vent pastry bag or starry smooth and form your biscuits. Seen that, though, It is a very dense dough and therefore rather hard to squeeze with the piping bag, I would recommend that you form with your hands wet cords and then into balls of approximately 2 cm in diameter. Roll the balls in powdered sugar and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Slip on each cupcake an almond, a candied cherry or a candied orange peel.
Place plaque with almond pastes in the refrigerator and 'forget about it' throughout the night and up to 12-24 hours. After the interval of rest, preheat the oven to 220 degrees static and bake. Cook for a minute, then open the oven to lower the temperature and continue cooking to 160 degrees for about 5 minutes, or at least depending on the size of the almond pastes. Remove from the oven pastries with almonds, allow to cool completely and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Bon appétit!
RESPECT THE REST TIMES: do not rush, rest in the refrigerator is absolutely critical. I advise you to wait before cooking your treats that, Once cooked, They will be retained for a long time closed in an airtight box.