Thursday, 24 December 2009
SOUR CHERRY AMARETTI
I have a very sweet tooth: I love good-quality milk chocolate, and I have a penchant for biscuits and cakes made with almonds, especially macaroons and Amaretti biscuits. When I was in northern Italy last summer (Liguria, a region famous for its food), I developed a real passion for soft amaretti biscuits (sometimes called "amaretti morbidi"), and was determined to try and make them. An internet search drew a blank and it was only when I leafed through the Ottolenghi cookbook, that I found a recipe, so easy I can now make these delicious chewy biscuits virtually from memory. They are delicious served with a glass of sweet wine, or Amaretto liqueur, or a cup of good strong coffee at the end of a meal. Actually, they are delicious at any time......
This is the Ottolenghi recipe. The quantities double up easily, and you can experiment with different flavourings, so long as you keep to the basic core ingredients of almonds, sugar and egg whites. I use a very high-quality almond extract: cheap ones just taste of chemicals
180g ground almonds
120g caster sugar
grated zest of 1 lemon
3 drops natural almond essence
pinch of salt
60g dried cherries/cranberries, roughly chopped
2 egg whites
2 tsp honey
plenty of icing sugar for rolling
Mix all the dry ingredients together. Add the almond essence and cherries. Beat the egg whites with the honey until they reach soft meringue consistency. Gently fold in the dry ingredients. You should have a soft, pliable paste. Form into little balls, roll in plenty of icing sugar, and place on a sheet of baking parchment to cook. Bake for about 12 mins. They should be crisp on the outside and chewy in the centre.