Italian "la dolce vita" and Tuscan cookies. How to make delicious cantuccini cookies
Tuscany is one of the most beautiful regions in Italy and the most popular destination. Lovely old hill towns, cypress alleys, vineyards and olive groves. It is a perfect place to relax not only for architecture and monuments enthusiasts. Tuscany is also a foodie's paradise.
Italian cuisine is considered the most popular all over the world, especially for pizza and pasta. But an authentic Italian meal is not complete without the taste of la dolce vita. The term "la dolce vita" became popular after the success of the film of the same name, the film by Federico Fellini. Translated from Italian, it means "sweet life" and this is how we can describe the sweets that Italians love to eat after the main meal. No meal in Italy is complete until it is crowned with "il dolce".
From tiramisu, panettone, panna cotta to zabaglione (zabajone), amaretti, cantuccini. The Italians do not lack creativity, so it is not easy to make a complete list of all Italian sweets. That is why today I will present you the most popular Tuscan sweets.
Tuscany has been famous for sweets for centuries. The most popular are "Canticcini Toscani", traditional cookies from Florence, and the sweets from Siena, "Panforte" and "Ricciarelli di Siena". These Tuscan desserts are not to be missed on the go, they are perfect for sweet holiday gifts.
Tuscan cuisine offers many delicious sweets, I will highlight the 10 most famous ones, although I guess each of you has your "top 10".
1. Cavallucci - traditional Italian Christmas cookies. The main ingredients of cookies are flour, honey, nuts, candied fruit and spices. They blend in perfectly with the Tuscan Vin Santo.
2. Ricciarelli di Siena - almond cracked cookies. are the most traditional Siena sweets. Perfectly tender on the inside, but crispy on the outside. It is prepared with almonds, sugar, egg whites and candied orange peel. Every bakery and pastry shop in Siena has its own secret recipe, so try it out in several places. In Tuscany, they are a traditional Christmas delicacy served with Vin Santo.
3. Panforte di Siena - traditional dough, or rather a sweet dried fruit cake with a dense and compact structure. "Panforte di Siena" is a type of gingerbread, made of nuts, dried and candied fruit, flour, butter and spices. All the ingredients are combined with each other and, after baking, generously sprinkled with powdered sugar.
4. Torta Pistocchi - creamy, thick and very moist chocolate cake The main ingredients of the cake are dark chocolate, cocoa and cream.
5. Torta Mantovana - traditional Italian cake that comes from Prato. The ingredients of the dessert are flour, eggs, butter, sugar, lemon peel, almonds and pine nuts. After baking, the cake is sprinkled with powdered sugar and served with a glass of sweet Italian wine, Vin Santo di Montepulciano.
6. Castagnaccio - a cake made of chestnut flour, olive oil, rosemary, raisins, pine nuts and sometimes Italian nuts. Sugar and plain flour are not added to it. After baking, the dough is thick, rubbery inside, and has a crispy and characteristically cracked crust.
7. Zuccotto - a Tuscan dome-shaped dessert that is said to resemble the famous dome of the Florentine cathedral. Pieces of soaked biscuit dough are placed in a bowl, and the center is filled with a creamy filling. Finally, they are turned upside down.
8. Torta della Nonna , or Grandma's Cake - is a crumbly tart, which, after baking, is filled with custard cream and sprinkled with pine nuts and powdered sugar.
9. Bomboloni - Italian donuts with filling. They are usually filled with custard or chocolate cream, as well as jam. Bombolini taste best while still warm and served with a cup of coffee.
10. Cantuccini Toscani - hard and brittle almond cookies. They look like tiny slices of bread. Cantuccini are hard and taste best when dipped in sweet Italian Vin Santo wine. We can also dip them in coffee, tea or milk.
Today I propose a recipe for Cantuccini, the most popular Tuscan cookies. They are also known as Biscotti di Prato - cookies from the city of Prato. They are delicious, full of almonds and taste best when dipped in Vin Santo. I learned how to make Cantuccini cookies in Sienna during a culinary workshop with Mrs. Lella Cesari Ciampoli in her school Scuola di cucina di Lella. My recipe is almost traditional, because I enriched the cookies with the taste of oranges.
- 450 g of 500 g flour + 50 g for sprinkling
- 250 g sugar
- 150 g peeled almonds
- 3 L eggs
- 3 yolks
- 1 egg to spread (or any remaining protein)
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- 100g candied orange peel li>
- grated peel of 1 orange
- Roast the almonds briefly in a dry frying pan and cool.
- Beat eggs and yolks with sugar until fluffy.
- Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and the grated orange peel.
- Combine the dry ingredients with the egg and knead it.
- When we obtain a homogeneous mass, place the dough on a pastry board sprinkled with flour.
- Add candied oranges and almonds and knead them together with the dough.
- Form three rolls from the dough, each about 30 cm long and 3 cm wide, slightly flatten and smear with the unfolded egg.
- Heat the oven to 200 ° C and bake the dough for about 15 minutes.
- Then remove the baked rolls of dough and reduce the oven temperature to 150 ° C.
- Carefully cut the dough rolls into "slices" with a sharp knife.
- The sliced pieces are placed flat on a baking tray and bake for about 10 - 15 minutes.
- Take out, if necessary (it all depends on the oven), turn the cookies over and bake for a while.
When you go to Italy and you are in Tuscany, do not forget to bring a bottle of sweet Vin Santo wine from your trip. As you have noticed, most sweets are served with this wine. Cantuccini are delicious when dipped in coffee, but once you have tasted such Vin Santo dipped in coffee, you will miss this taste for a long time. I know, because my supplies of this unique dessert wine have just run out... Time to plan another Italian vacation.
This post was written in cooperation with with Itaka