July 31st 2008 13:57
Biscottini Di Prato (Prato Cookies)
About Biscottini Di Prato
These crisp almond cookies come from Prato, a town on the outskirts of Florence. They are served with a glass of Vin Santo for dipping and sipping at the end of a hearty meal.
About Vin Santo
Vin Santo (holy wine) is an Italian dessert wine. This traditional Tuscan wine is made from Trebbiano and Malvasia grapes, and is typically very sweet.
The grapes are hand picked and hung from the rafters of a well-ventilated room. Once dried, the grapes are pressed and the juice is poured into caratelli for fermentation. Caratelli are small cigar-shaped barrels. After the initial fermentation the caratelli are sealed and placed under the roof of the winery, sometimes as long as ten years. The wint developes a deep golden or amber colour, and a sweet, often nutty, taste.
Vin Santo is typically enjoyed as “cantucci e vin santo”, a glass of Vin Santo served with almond or hazelnut biscuits. These biscuits can be dipped in the Vin Santo to soften them and accentuate their flavour.
2 cups sweet almonds, unpeeled
4 egg yolks
2¼ cups granulated sugar
4½ cups all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
For the cookie sheet
butter, as needed
flour, as needed
1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Spread the almonds out in a shallow baking pan and roast for 4 – 5 minutes.
2. When cool enough to handle, skin and chop finely. Turn down the oven to 375 ºF.
3. Beat the egg yolks and sugar together in a mixing bowl until pale and fluffy.
4. Stir in the flour, almonds and salt gradually, using a fork and then combining by hand.
5. Knead the mixture quickly but thoroughly on a floured work surface. Shape the dough into long cylinders about ½ inch in diameter.
6. Transfer to a buttered and floured cookie sheet.
7. Bake for 25 minutes.
8. Remove from the oven and raise the temperature to 400ºF.
9. Slice the cylinders diagonally into pieces 1½ inches long, and return them to the oven for 10 minutes more, or until pale golden brown.
**From “The Encyclopedia of Italian Cooking” and “Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia”**