The word "biscotto" in Italian means "biscuit" or "cookie." More specifically, biscotti are named according to the original method of baking. The root words "bis" and "cotto" literally mean "twice" and "baked."
When Italians first created biscotti in the region of Tuscany many centuries ago, they were careful to bake the cookies twice, in order to form their unique shape and allow the cookies to develop their signature crisp texture. Over the years, these methods became standard practice. Bakers shape the dough into a log, bake it, evenly slice it into cookies and then toast and turn the cookies again until they are perfect.
| Ciarduna - Sicilian Ricotta Filled Dessert
Dough Mix for 30 ciarduna
flour - 3 cups
250 grams of sugar
200 grams of Strutto* (click here for defintion)
2 teaspoons vanila
1 envelope active yeast
30 grams of Ammonia Baking Powder* (ammonium bicarbonate)
Homogenized milk as needed for kneading dough preperation
crushed almonds (roast in oven whole - chill, and then blend finely when cooled)
icing sugar (when decorating the tops of the ciarduna's)
When preparing the dough if it is your first time I would suggest you go to any video display website such as youtube.com and search for making dough. At least you get the technique and then use the dough mix provided above.
Ricotta Mix - filling
Filling: Sieve the ricotta and then whisk in the icing sugar, lemon essence and then add almond dust - mix well and chill.
1 Mix flour, sugar, ammonia, vanila and yeast.
2 Add milk a little at a time until you get the proper consistancy for the dough (consistancy for the dough should not be to hard and not to soft - in the middle). Let the dough rest until it levetates.
3The technique for making the hollow body is simply by cutting the end off a broom stick (non dyed or painted), about 8 inches long and rolling the dough around the wood. You can buy the wood object at a specialty ethnic pastry shop supply company.
4 Put in the oven at 325 degrees until lightly browned to maintain softness and a little cookie type texture. Lightly grease the pan so the pastry does'nt stick or use non stick aluminum paper that is now available at major supermarkets.
5 Remove from oven and then let cool. (traditionally the dough mix was cooked in oil - I personally don't like that - I like the cookie texture the oven gives)
6 Add the ricotta mix in the hollow body of the pastry.
7 For decoration lightly sprinkle icing sugar and bit of almonds.
Enjoy - Please do not copy this recipe unless you intend to give me credit - please let me know if you want to add this recipe to your site. I'm the only site with this recipe that was translated by a recipe my grandmother gave me in Sicily. Please don't use without permission. I will be more than happy to share this with you - just let me know.
*Ammonia Baking Powder: (ammonium bicarbonate) This LEAVENER is the precursor of today's baking powder and baking soda. It's still called for in some European baking recipes, mainly for cookies. It can be purchased in drugstores but must be ground to a powder before using. Also known as hartshorn, carbonate of ammonia and powdered baking ammonia.
*Strutto: Lard is fat from a pig. It may or may not be rendered. Fat from beef is referred to as "beef tallow" or "suet".
For cooking, Lard has been treasured for centuries upon centuries amongst Northern Europeans and Chinese. Now, in many people's minds, Lard is so far out of fashion that they wouldn't allow it into their grocery carts, let alone their homes. It's certainly not used much anymore in processed foods, as that would put off buyers of products who are Muslim or Jewish.
Someone's using it, though, because you still see it at the supermarkets. It never really went out of fashion in cooking in the American South. It's still used a great deal in Chinese cooking, and in all Latin American cooking including Mexican. And, in fact, sales of Lard in America have started to rise again since the early 2000's, perhaps due to the growing Spanish population. And maybe, just maybe, home pastry cooks are sneaking it into their carts again.
It is a great carrier of taste, and has a very high smoke point. In baking, Lard doesn't melt as quickly as butter in crusts and breads, so it allows for lighter finished products. Some feel that while butter gives good flavour, Lard gives the best texture, so they often swap in a bit of Lard for some of the butter in recipes such as pie crusts.
Get permission before using on your website.
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| Chocolate Almond Biscotti
5 ounces (150 grams) belgian chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup (215 grams) brown sugar
1 3/4 (250 grams) cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (30 grams) cocoa
3 tablespoon (8 grams) very strong espresso
1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking soda
1/3 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons (6 grams) pure vanilla extract
1 cup (150 grams) almonds (toasted and coarsely chopped)
1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
2 To toast almonds: spread on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and place nuts in a bowl. Cool and then chop coarsely. Set aside while you prepare the dough.
3 Reduce temperature of oven to 300 degree F (150 degrees C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
4 In a food processor, combine the chopped chocolate and brown sugar and process until the chocolate is very fine then set aside.
5 Sift or whisk together the flour, cocoa, espresso, baking soda and salt into a bowl then set aside.
6 In the bowl of your electric mixer combine the eggs and vanilla extract and beat to blend, about 30 seconds. On low speed mix in the chocolate/sugar and flour mixtures until a stiff dough forms, adding the almonds about half way through mixing.
7 On a floured surface divide the dough in half. Form each half into a log 12 inches (30 cm) long. Do this by rolling the dough back and forth into a cylinder shape with floured hands. Transfer the logs to the baking sheet, spacing them well apart (width-wise on the pan), and pat to even the shapes. Bake until almost firm to the touch, about 35 - 40 minutes (logs will spread during baking). Remove from the oven, place on wire rack, and let cool for 10 minutes.
8 Transfer the logs to a cutting board. Using a serrated knife cut the dough into slices 3/4 inch (2 cm) thick on the diagonal. Arrange the slices cut-side down on the baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes. Turn the slices over and bake until crisp and dry, about 15 minutes longer. Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack.
You can store in an airtight container for several weeks.
Makes about 32 biscottis
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| Cuccidata - Cuchidahti (Sicilian Fig Cookies)
1 lb of dried figs
1 lb of raisins
1 jar of honey
1 cup of walnuts
1 cup of almonds
Rind of lemon
Rind of orange
1 A meat grinder is best, using a blender can be a big mistake. A food processor may also work.
2 Soak the figs in some water, and stew them for a few minutes to soften them.
3 Chop nuts up fine in a nut chopper.
4 Put a 1/2 cup of sherry and other ingredients into food processor a little at a time, and grind up (no need to add sherry during grinding if you use a meat chopper, you can add that later when you mix in the nuts).
5 Remove from processor and put in large bowl, add nuts and mix well.
6 Add more sherry as needed as to not have mixture too dry. A medium to dry consistency is what to look for.
7 Put in a covered plastic container and store in refrigerator. This can be stored for up to a year. Add a teaspoon of sherry to mixture once a month to keep fermented.
4 1/4 cups All Purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cups butter
1/2 cup plus 5 tablespoons cold water
1 Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl.
2 Add butter and cut in with a pastry cutter or knife until crumbly.
3 Sprinkle the cold water in and toss lightly with a fork until mixed.
4 Add remaining water, a tablespoon at a time, mixing until dough is smooth.
5 Heat oven to 275 degrees and take half the dough on a lightly floured surface, roll it out into a 12 x 18 inch rectangle (it should be about 1/8“ thick).
6 Cut into 3” wide strips and spread 4 tablespoons of filling down the center of each strip, leave about 1“ on either side.
7 Moisten the bare sides with water, fold over and press lightly with a fork to seal.
8 Cut each strip into 6-2” cookies, cut and slit in the fold side of each cookie, almost like giving it gills.
9 Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, bending each cookie into a slight curve. Bake about 20 minutes until bottoms are brown.
3 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp. anise flavoring
Dash of salt
1 While cookies are baking sift confectioner’s sugar into a mixing bowl, add milk, salt and anise flavor and beat until smooth.This is a runny icing that will dry hard.
2 When done baking, remove from each cookie from cookie sheet and cool them on a wire rack, then ice.
3 Repeat with remaining half of dough and filling.
In conclusion: You can use this filling for the italian cookies. Just flatten a small piece of dough and put a teaspoon of filling on it and fold sides up and pinch closed. Bake the same as for the plain cookies. And decorate or leave plain.
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| Granita - Lemon Ice
3 cup Store-bought lemon fruit juice mix
1/2 cup Sugar
1 cup Water
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Let cool.
2 Stir in the fruit juice and lemon juice and pour into a chilled 10 by 10 inch glass baking dish.
3 Place in the freezer and freeze, stirring every 30 minutes until the mixture is firm.
Makes 4 cups
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| Mascarpone Cream
3 1/2 oz. mascarpone cheese
2 eggs, separate the whites from the yolks
1 tbsp. Rum
1/2 oz. sugar
1 In a bowl mix the egg yolks and sugar together with a hand blender.
2 Add the mascarpone and combine well using a wooden spoon.
3 Add the rum and mix in.
4 In another bowl whip the egg whites until they start to foam.
5 Add the egg whites to the mascarpone, a bit at a time, folding them in gently with a spoon, making movements from bottom to top.
6 Chill for one hour or until cold. Serve in a 8 onz. glass bowl or in single cups with dry biscuits. Serves 4
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| Orange Cream
Grated zest from two untreated oranges
8 Tbsp fresh squeezed orange juice
4 Tbsp sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 In a small pan mix the orange zest, orange juice and sugar over a low heat.
2 Mix constantly until the sugar melts in.
3 Remove from heat and let cool for 5 or 10 minutes.
4 While the orange sauce is cooling put the heavy cream in a bowl and mix with a hand mixer.
5 Continue mixing until fluffy.
6 Add a bit of the orange sauce to the cream and fold it in with a spoon. Continue like this until all the orange sauce is mixed into the cream. Serves 4
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| Panettone (Christmas Cake)
1 oz. baker's yeast
3 oz. flour
2 cups flour
7 tbs. sugar
1 whole egg
5 egg yolks
1/2 cup melted butter
6 tbs. raisins, soaked and squeezed
2 oz. candied orange and lemon peel, diced
1 1/2 tbs. butter
1 Mix the yeast with the flour and as much water as necessary for the dough to be elastic. Wrap in a towel and put into a warm draft-free place (an unlit oven, for example) until doubled in size (it should take approx. 30 mins) and the surface is uneven. Make a small fontana with 4 tbs. flour. Crumble the dough cake on top of it, add 1/2 cup warm water and knead until the dough is elastic. Let rise in a warm place for 3 hours.
2 Punch down the dough, and then, knead in another 4 tbs. flour, with as much warm water as necessary. Place the dough in a warm place to rise for 2 hours. Combine the sugar, the whole egg and the yolks. Mix well and cook in a double boiler for a few minutes, beating the mixture with a whisk so that it becomes light and airy. Let cool.
3 Make another fontana with the remaining flour. Put in a pinch of salt, the risen dough, the butter and the egg mixture into the middle. Knead energetically for 20 mins. When the dough is smooth and elastic, add the raisins and candied peel. Grease and flour a sheet of waxed paper and place the dough in the center. Make a ring around it with a rectangular piece of cardboard and let rise in a warm place for at least 6 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.
4 Cut a cross on top of the cake with a sharp knife and put 1 tbs. butter in the middle. Cook the panettone in a pre-heated 400ºF oven for 40-45 mins. The cake is ready when a skewer inserted in the center comes out dry.
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| Sicilian Cannoli
1 pinch salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp butter
2/3rds cup icing sugar (powdered sugar)
150 g flour
dry white wine
250 g fresh ricotta (saputo)
2 tbsp chopped bitter chocolate
1 tsp cocoa
1 tbsp orange essence
crushed pistachio nuts
1 tsp coffee powder
2 tbsp candied orange and citron
1 To make the pastry case: Place the flour, cocoa, coffee powder, a pinch of salt and the sugar on a pastry board or work surface and mix.
2 Form a well and work in the smoothed butter and enough wine to make a firm dough.
3 Form a ball wrap in cling film and refrigerate for an hour.
4 Filling: Dice the candied fruit and the chocolate.
5 Sieve the ricotta and then whisk in the icing sugar, the orange essence and then add the candied peel and chocolate dice. Refrigerate.
6 Cannoli case:Roll out the pastry and using a round 9'/18cm pastry cutter, cut 18 disks, kneading the dough each time.
7 Stretch each disk out into an oval, brush with almond oil and roll around the bamboo or tin tubes. Brush with a little egg yolk where they overlap and press down to make them stick properly. Lift the ends of the pastry slightly curling them back - makes them easier to remove.
8 Heat the peanut oil in the frying pan and deep fry the cannoli, two at a time. When they are golden brown remove them and drain on kitchen paper.
9 As soon as they cool enough to be able to hold them in your fingers, remove them from the tubes, oil the tubes again and wrap them in more pastry to fry some more.
10 Assembling: Only fill the cannoli when you are ready to eat them or they go soggy. They keep in a biscuit tin for a few days. Decorate the ends with a little crushed pistachio nut, giving the typical green of so many Sicilian desserts.
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4 egg yolks
2 tablespoons of cold water
1/4 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of marsala
1/4 cup diced mixed candied fruit
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
chocolate ice cream
1 Beat yolks well. Add the water, then sugar, the wine and beat well.
2 Place mixture in double boiler over hot water and cook over low heat, beat the entire time until mixture thickens.
3 Remove from heat and cool. When cool, stir in candied fruits and fold in the cream. Pour into a tray.
4 Make chocolate ice cream. When cool, spoon it over the first layer in the tray and freeze overnight.
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2.5 ounce granulated sugar
3.5 ounce butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 liter vegetable oil
6 ounce honey
6 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 Break the eggs and whisk. Add sugar to eggs and mix immediately to prevent sugar from burning eggs. Bring butter to room temperature. Flake butter into the flour.
2 Add vanilla and add them to the sugar/egg mixture. Put mixture into a mixer and mix and slowly add the flour. Let dough rest in a cool dry place.
3 Roll out the dough into small quantities. Cut dough into 1/2-inch strips and cut 1/2-inch pieces from the strips. Place the 1/2-inch squares onto a baking pan.
4 Put vegetable oil into a large pot and bring to 350 degrees. Fry small quantities of the dough squares in the oil and when golden brown, place onto a baking pan lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil. When all dough is fried and let cool to room temperature.
5 In a saucepan, heat the honey (not to a boil) and add small quantities of the fried dough to the pan. Stir lightly with a large slotted spoon. Remove from saucepan and place onto a serving plate and sprinkle with powdered sugar
Makes 4 servings
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1 cup sugar
1/4 cup rum
1/4 cup coffee liqueur
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
16 ounces Mascarpone
1 1/2 - 7 ounce packages ladyfingers
2 cups brewed strong coffee
1 With an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks with 1/2 cup of sugar until thick and very light, about 3 minutes. Add the rum and coffee liqueur and beat until smooth. Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the egg yolk mixture. Add the Mascarpone and cinnamon and beat until evenly combined. Reserve this mixture.
2 In a clean mixer bowl, beat the egg whites until frothy. With the mixer running, gradually add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and beat to stiff peaks. Gently fold the beaten egg whites into the reserved egg yolk mixture until evenly combined.
3 Cover the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch pan with a single layer of ladyfingers. Brush the ladyfingers with coffee lightly. Spread half of the mascarpone filling over the ladyfingers. Repeat with another layer of ladyfinger, soaked with coffee, and mascarpone filling.
4 Sprinkle the surface of the tiramisu with unsweetened cocoa powder and chill for at least 2 hours before serving.
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| Trionfo di gola (Triumph of gluttony)
1 sponge cake
400 gr. chopped pistachios
500 gr. apricot jam
200 gr. candied fruit
For the ricotta cheese filling: 500 gr. sheep ricotta cheese, 300 gr. sugar, 50 gr. plain chocolate, 50 gr. candied fruit, cinnamon.
For the custard: half litre of milk, 3 tablespoon flour, 6 tablespoon sugar, vanilla, 3 eggs, a knot of butter.
For apricot jelly: 500 gr. ripe apricots, 1 lemon, 500 gr. sugar.
For the marzipan: 500 gr. almond flour, 500 gr. sugar, vanilla, 125 gr. water.
1 You need to prepare ingredients in advance. Cut sponge cake in two disks; place a disk on a dish and spread apricot jam. Apart prepare the marzipan: dilute sugar in water and cook on a very low flame; turn it off when caramelizing, add almond flour, a pinch of vanilla and stir well to prevent curdling.
2 Pour the mix into a dish, flatten it and let cool down. Roll a sheet of marzipan and cover with jam, the custard and the ricotta cheese cream. Top with the other sponge disk.
3 Spread apricot jelly on top of the cake. For the jelly: wash and dry apricots, take kernels out and put into a pan; add water and cook on a very low flame, pressing now and again; turn the flame off, let it cool down and sieve; put on the flame again, add sugar, a lemon juice and stir for about half an hour.
4 When ready turn the flame off and let it get cold. Cover the cake with the jelly, adorn the edge of the cake with chopped pistachios and decorate with candied fruit. Keep in the fridge for about half an hour before serving.
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4 large egg yolks
4 Tbsp. sugar
7 Tbsp. dry Marsala wine
1 Using an electric hand blander beat the egg yolks, add in the sugar in a medium sauce pan until fluffy and light yellow. Use the medium-high speed.
2 Add the Marsala wine without stopping to mix the batch.
3 Immediately after mixing in the Marsala set the sauce pan in an other pan with simmering water or on the top of a double boiler. You should never stop mixing from when you start until it is ready.
4 Beat the sauce for about 10 minutes while holding the saucepan in the water. Remember, the water doesn't have to boil.
5 The Zabaione is ready when the cream has doubled in volume and it is fluffy and soft.
6 Serve it immediately. Serves 4
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1/3 cup white wine
2 cups water
2 cups flour, sifted
Olive oil, for frying
2 teaspoons powdered cinnamon mixed with 1 cup sugar
1 Put wine and water in a pot. Bring to almost a boil. (It shouldn't come to a full boil.)
2 Add the flour all at once and stir constantly with a wooden spoon. When the dough comes out of the pot in a single piece remove it from the heat.
3 Place on kitchen counter surface. Knead by pounding with a rolling pin. Do this for 10 minutes so as to make it smooth and homogeneous.
4 Roll the dough into snakes about as thick as your finger. Pull off small pieces of dough, rub the dough between your hands and pinch ends together to make small rings.
5 Heat the oil and fry the zeppole a few at a time. Prick balls with a skewer as they fry, so the dough will bubble out and they become crunchier and more golden. Drain them on paper towels. Dredge them in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Serve hot or cold.
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| Zuppa Inglese
4 egg yolks
2 1/2 cups milk
about 21 Savoiardi (lady fingers)
3/4 cup sugar
one piece lemon zest
1/2 cup flour
fresh whipping cream
1 cup Alchermes liqueur
2 tbls chocolate chips (optional)
Alchermes is a red Italian liqueur made from rose and jasmine extract added to nutmeg, cinnamon, and coriander distillation.)
1 Warm up the milk in a nonstick sauce pan.
2 In a large bowl beat the egg yolks with the sugar, add the flour and combine the ingredients until well mixed.
3 Add the milk, a little bit at the time to the egg mixture, mixing well.
4 Put the mixture into the sauce pan and cook it on the stove at a medium low heat. Mix the cream continuously with a wooden spoon. When it starts to thicken remove it from the heat and pour it on a large plate to cool off.
5 Stir the cream now and then so that the top doesn't harden.
6 Dip quickly both sides of the savoiardi in the liquor. Layer them one at the time in a glass bowl large enough to contain 7 savoiardi.
7 Spread 1/3 of the cream and repeat the layer with savoiardi. Finish with the cream.
8 Refrigerate for at least 4 hours better yet overnight. Before serving decorate the zuppa inglese with whipped cream. Serves 8
9 Sprinkle chocolate chips on top to decorate
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