Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Brown Paper Packages Tied up with String

The only real way to pay back generosity is to be just as generous in return. 
Nonno and Nonna are always and have always given more than it seems possible to repay, and although they want for little, it is always nice to feel as if you've done something for them.

For those of you reading who are familiar with Hereford, do you remember Firenze? 

Of course you do.

More specifically, do you remember Firenze at Christmas time? 

When D so carefully decorated the restaurant and pizzeria and B adorned the shelf above the bar with colourful boxes of pannetone and pandoro; and hid a fee sneaky trays of ricciarelle biscotti for his afternoon snack. If you happened to be passing by and he had finished making the evenings pizza dough, he would always invite you in for a chat, cappuccino and one of these sweet morsels at the bar.

Since Firenze shut, B a always asks us to get him some Traditional festive Italian treats, but this year we couldn't buy any ricciarelle. So once again, I leap at the chance to try making something new. Even better that these are great for using up egg whites! This would be a great recipe to do with children. Maybe next year, M will making them for B with me!

Ricciarelle (makes 26walnut sized biscotti)

2 large egg whites
Pinch salt
225g caster sugar
1/2tsp vanilla extract
2tsp almond extract (or amaretto liquour if you feel so inclined)
300g ground almonds
Icing sugar to dust
Line two baking sheets with greaseproof paper or silicon mats.
Whisk the egg whites with the salt in a clean grease-free bowl until they reach stiff peaks.
At this point, gradually add the sugar and whisk until stiff and glossy.
Quickly whisk in the vanilla and almond extracts along with the ground almonds until a paste has formed. You may want to use you hands to bring the dough together at the end.
Take walnut sized pieces of the dough and shape into diamond shapes, using your thumb to flatten them a little bit. They should be no more than half an inch thick.
Place them onto the baking trays with a few centimetres between each to allow for any spreading.
Leave on the kitchen counter overnight to dry out.
The next morning, rush downstairs and preheat the oven to gas mark 1. Cook the ricciarelle for 30 minu.tes until just golden.
When cooked, transfer to a cooling rack and dust with icing sugar to finish


  1. Oh I would have loved to have visited Firenze, love the attitude & sharing. These Ricciarelles look wonderful too, I'd like to make these I think..., yes... I will make these. Thanks for sharing :)

  2. Firenze sounds like a wonderful place, I love those sort of 'homey' places, where everyone is welcoming and kind.
    The ricciarelles look good. I don't think I've ever tried one, but they sound like my type of snack cookie...