Monday, 23 November 2015

Getting Ready For Christmas Part 14 - A Recipe for Ricciarelli - the Almond Factor

Getting ready for Christmas is not just about preparing actual items for the Christmas Pantry but arming yourself with the recipes to make those unusual specialities which the shops charge an arm and a leg for.  Lets take Ricciarelli for example.  Made from Ground Almonds these little Sienese biscuits are light, very Moorish and delightful. Certainly a little tit bit to tempt you on the Christmas table. Marks and Spencers currently have these in the shop for £6 for a small tray of perhaps no more than 10 of these delightful little biscuits in. 

Almonds, Chestnuts, Walnuts, Hazlenuts , Pecans, all put in an appearance in one form or another on the Christmas table.  Take almonds for instance they make the marzipan (or marchpane)  it used to be known.

The first time I tried Ricciarelli was from Waitrose about four years ago.  And then they were on the reduced rack.  But £6 for one box with not many in.    I therefore determined to find a recipe and pronto.

I had scoured the Internet and come up with a specific recipe but I had it on my favourites reading list which unfortunately because of the upgrade to my computer I have ended up losing.  However all is not lost there are recipes out there and without realising it I had a recipe to hand in "Do Ahead Christmas" by James Ramsden.  ISBN 978-1-909815-42-1.  Its a nice little book with some very useful recipes in. They can be made up to two weeks ahead of the day which is useful if you have a lot of sweetmeats to prepare.

Makes 20


200g/7oz/2 cups ground almonds
200g/7oz/1  x 3/4 cups sifted icing sugar (confectioners sugar) plus
100g/3 1/2 oz/3/4 cup
1/2 tspoon baking powder
2 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract


Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C/350 degrees F/Gas mark 4.

Line a baking sheet with baking parchment.

In a bowl mix the almonds, 200g/7oz/1 x 3/4 cups sifted icing sugar and the baking powder.  In a separate grease free bowl (rub a lemon/lemon juice round the bowl to get rid of any grease whisk the egg whites until stiff.  Add the vanilla extract to the mixture then fold the egg whites through the mixture using a metal spoon until combined to form a stiff dough.

Tip the remaining  100g/ 3 1/2 oz/3/4 cup of icing sugar onto a baking tray or plate.  Taking a small walnut sized piece of the dough to form a ball and roll in the icing sugar then pat into a flat diamond shape.  Shake off any excess sugar and place on the lined baking sheet.  Repeat until you have used up the dough.

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until light and golden.  Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.  Store in a cool dry place/airtight container.

They are freezable.

If making a double quantity or more only use 1/2 tsp extra of vanilla extract per quantity increased.

They are ideal for giving as a little gift to a friend but I guarantee you will want to eat more than one  - so make plenty/

Catch  you soon.



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