This year, my parents rented a house lost in the vineyards and olive trees of Tuscany, just a few kilometers from Siena. A small paradise where one feels alone in the world, and where the silence is only disturbed by the crickets. When you rent a house, the kitchen equipment is usually a bit basic, so we mainly cook fresh pasta and salads, taking a break from baking. But when we arrived there were a mixer and an oven, so I thought that, this year, we had to make ricciarelli biscuits to honour the region.
I fell in love with the ricciarelli biscuits last year, and when I returned to the stalls of Sienese pastry shop, I remembered that I had promised myself to make some one day. A bit like a vacation memory, we tend to forget about it when we come back home, so this time I wanted to strike while the iron was hot and make them in our rented home. Above all, I thought that it was necessary to make the most of the exceptional view that would bring justice to these delicious ricciarelli biscuits way better that a staged elaborate shoot at my return. Unfortunately, by the time the biscuits were cool, it was already too dark outside to take pictures and I was going back the next day. So, we kept most of them (an almost impossible task…), and my father took the pictures while my plane was taking off. Well then, yes, the staging of biscuits is not the most original, it somehow feels like a garden gnome you took before several landscapes ;-). But in the end, I think my daddy managed quite well, and he certainly succeeded in highlighting the view of the vineyards!
So here they are, the easiest version of ricciarelli biscuits and Tuscan landscapes. They are so tasty and fast to make it would be a shame to spend another year without them. A marvel to enjoy like a candy!
Prep time: 15mn
Cook time: 15mn
Makes about 25 ricciarelli biscuits
- 70g good quality candied orange peel
- 100g icing sugar + 30g to sprinkle
- 100g of sugar
- 200g ground almonds
- 1 teaspoon of bitter almond extract (or 2 tablespoons Amaretto )
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 pinch of salt
- 2 egg whites
- Place the orange peel and sugar in the bowl of a blender and blend until the orange peels are broken tiny pieces. Add the ground almonds, baking powder and almond extract. Blend for a few seconds to mix well.
- Beat the egg whites not too firm with a pinch of salt. Then stir them gently to almond mixture with a wooden spoon or spatula. You should have a texture close to home made marzipan.
- Form a large roll of dough and wrap it with plastic film. Put in the refrigerator overnight.
- Preheat oven to 150°C. Cut the roll into 5mm thick slices then press dough between 2 fingers to get rounded rectangles. Place them not too close to each other on baking tray covered with a baking sheet. Sprinkle with icing sugar.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, the cookies should crack but not colour. Sprinkle icing sugar again ice when you take the biscuits out of the oven. Allow to cool 15 minutes on the tray before gently removing the ricciarelli biscuits from the baking sheet.
- Cool completely before serving. You can keep the ricciarelli for two weeks in an airtight container but they are best fresh (and then frankly unlikely that remains more than 2 days...).