The church biscuit; a Sunday quest: 8. Italian ricciarelli

Italian ricciaretti

Attempt at Italian ricciarelli

Recipe taken from: 1001 Cupcakes, Cookies & other tempting treats, ed. Susanna Tee (Parragon Books, 2009) where they are called mistakenly called ‘ricciaretti’, a mistake which I think has evaded the proof reader’s eyes.


125 g /4 1/2 oz blanched almonds

15 g/1/2 oz candied orange peel

15 g/1/2 oz plain flour

60g/2 1/4 caster sugar

4 1/2 teasp. water

100 g/3 1/2 oz icing sugar (plus extra for dusting)

50 g/1 3/4 oz cornflour

1 large egg white

3/4 teasp. baking powder

Place almonds, candied orange peel and flour in a food processor and pulse to form a paste.

Place caster suger and water in a saucepan. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 mins or until reduced to a thick syrup. Remove from heat, add the almond paste and mix together. Transfer to a bowl and leave to cool for about an hour.

Preheat oven to 140 degrees C/120 degrees C for a fan oven/275 degrees F/Gas Mark 1.

Line baking sheet with rice paper (I large or 2 small baking sheets)

Keep back 1 teasp. of icing sugar. Sift remaining icing sugar and cornflour on to a work surface.

Place egg white and reserved icing sugar in a bowl and whisk until stiff. Add the baking powder to the almond paste, then fold in the whisked egg white until combined. Turn the mixture on to the work surface and roll into a log shape about 6 cm/2 1/2 inches thick, then flatten until it is 4 cm/1 1/2 inches thick. Cut into 1 cm/ 1/2 inch slices. Place on the baking sheet and form into diamond shapes.

Bake in preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until risen but still soft in the centre. Leave to cool on the baking tray for 2-3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve dusted with sifting icing sugar.

Italian ricciaretti (from 1001 cupcakes, cookies & other tempting treats. ed Susanna Tee; pub. Parragon Books, 2009)

Italian ricciaretti (from 1001 cupcakes, cookies & other tempting treats. ed Susanna Tee; pub. Parragon Books, 2009)

So many things went wrong with this recipe but the ricciaretti turned out to be delicious.

1. I used ground almonds, not blanched. My almond mixture never turned into a paste.

2.The sugar and water bit never turned into a syrup, but just encrusted the saucepan. A good splurge of Agave nectar seemed to work very well instead.

3.Egg white and icing sugar never got especially stiff. Thick, yes; stiff, no.

4. So the whole rolling out procedure never happened. I just dropped spoonfuls of the somewhat sloppy mixture on to the icing sugar/cornflour work surface and rolled the dollop into a little cushion. (There seemed to be far too much cornflour.)

This recipe was intimidating and I obviously got most things about it wrong. I think next time (what next time?) i won’t cook them for quite so long. They were, however, rather lovely with a crisp outer coat and a nougat-like centre. Interestingly, no one guessed there was orange peel. 

Post script. I have just googled riciaretti (so-called in recipe book) only to find they are ricciarelli. Those  shown in an article in the Independent  look just like mine. Other recipes look easier than the one I tried, so I might have a go again.


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