Welcome to my world - a blend of passion, taste, and old-world traditions.

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Friday, March 18, 2011

SPUMETTI –Simple and Delicious Almond Treats

From my previous posts, you know that I have a passion for all nuts, especially walnuts and almonds. And why not. They contain healthy fats. Besides Dolci di Noci and Torroni di Mandorle, I love Spumetti - a perfect marriage of the sweetness of meringue with the intense flavor of almonds.  This is an old and simple recipe that contains the flavors and scents of the past and still manages to be extraordinarily pleasing to everyone.

Lemon - Almond Bites
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When first baked they are crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. As they sit, they get crunchy throughout.

Blanching almonds

Blanching almonds is not hard. It does take time to slip the skins from the almonds, but in exchange for your effort you can save money by purchasing the less expensive skin-on raw almonds. Blanching can be done in advance and the almonds store well in either the refrigerator or the freezer. 


Dip the almonds in boiling water for a couple of minutes. Peel them quickly and let them dry a couple of days. Chop the almonds without reaching the consistency of flour. The secret is to grind them to a medium grain so that the full flavor of the almond is unleashed in the mouth and allowing the cookies to remain soft.

Spumetti 

1 lb. blanched almonds
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup confectioners' sugar
4 egg whites
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 tablespoon of honey
Zest of one lemon, plus 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
Place blanched almond halves over each cookie (optional)

Process almonds and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar in a food processor until medium to finely ground.  Transfer into a bowl and stir in confectioners' sugar.  Putt egg whites and salt and beat on medium until soft peaks form.  Add the remaining granulated sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.  Mix vanilla, lemon juice and honey.  Fold in almond mixture in several batches and stir in the lemon zest.

Preheat oven at 325 degrees.  Put batter in a pastry bag with round tip and pipe 2 inch rounds onto parchment-lined baking sheet.  No pastry bag.  Drop batter by heaping teaspoonfuls, 2 inches apart.  Bake until golden and set, about 15 minutes.  Let cool on a wire rack.