Golden brown biscotti from Sicily are just a bit rustic with almonds and a beautiful orange blossom and spiced scent.
“Piparelli” are crunchy and delicious Sicilian biscotti, created in the city of Messina. They look similar to other Italian cookie (“Cantucci”, for example), but they have small, significant differences. Piparelli are made with two simple, but precious, Sicilian ingredients: almonds and honey orange (or orange blossoms). Candied fruit and a mixture of spices (clove, cinnamon and nutmeg) complete the key ingredients of these very luscious specialty.
Seemingly simple, these cookies have elaborate preparations that requires a lot of patience and skill in the process. After mixing together the ingredients (in addition to those already mentioned, sugar, flour, lard, fat used in antiquity) is added to the flour. The dough rests for 24 hours, after which they are cut and placed in trays for the second cooking step in a moderate oven.
Introduced by the Arabs who brought in Sicily many spices and sweet specialties, the piparelli are a traditional dessert all over the Island, usually eaten with the excellent Sicilian dessert wine such as Malvasia.
The surface is golden brown and the dough can be easily distinguished. Color and flavor are rustic just as almonds that are left whole in the mix. The scent is very intense, unmistakable thanks to the mixture of spices.
At one time, these cookies were prepared only for the holiday important. Today they are available in the best pastry shops and bakeries of the island.
I suggest to buy them in Italian specialty stores because the recipe has a high cost due to the quality ingredients and, above all, to the long stages of cooking. In any case, if you want to try to make them at home, this basic recipe is one of those classics preserved in the notebooks of the Sicilian grandmothers (I only changed white flour and sugar with those unrefined).
- 500 g (17 oz) whole wheat flour
- 150 g (5 oz) raw sugar
- 250 g (9 oz) honey
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp grated orange zest
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp cloves
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 150 g (5 oz) softened butter
- water to taste
- 300 g (10½ oz) toasted almonds,
- Mix the flour with the rest of the ingredients, except for the butter, water and almonds. When the mixture is blended, add the butter, cut into pieces and a trickle of water. When the mixture reaches a firm consistency, add the almonds and cut the long strands. Arrange them on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake for about 15-20 minutes at 180 ° C (350 ° F / gas 4). Remove from the oven and let cool. Cut the biscuits into slices, arrange on a baking sheet for the second stage of cooking. Bake the cookies at 150 ° C for another 10-15 minutes ( turn them in half cooking so that they gold on both sides).