” But as we approached the Amalfi Coast, I came across the familiar sight of local farmers selling their wares at the side of the road.” Antonio Carluccio, 1937 – 2017, Talking about his birthplace, Vietri Sul Mare.
The southern gateway to the Amalfi Coast, Vietri sul Mare is left uninvaded by tourists and remains unspoilt. Yet it is every bit as colourful and vibrant as the more ‘famous’ Amalfi Coast towns. Its ceramic trade was established in the 15th century and continues to exist.
On our last visit, after a morning of ceramic shopping, we took our daily coffee at the beachfront bar, Trattoria di Mare U’Chevalier restaurant. A shot of espresso accompanied with Ricciarelli biscuits. I came home and started my quest for the ultimate recipe, and here it is.
115g (4oz) blanched almonds * 15g (½oz) candied orange peel * 15g (½oz) plain flour * 85g (3oz) caster sugar * 5 tsp water * 115g (4oz) icing sugar, plus extra for dusting * 55g (2oz) cornflour * 1 large egg white * ¾tsp baking powder
Place the almonds, candied orange peel and flour in a food processor and pulse to form a paste. Place the caster sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes, or until reduced to a thick syrup. Remove from the heat, add the almond paste and mix together. Transfer to a bowl and leave to cool for 1 hour.
Pre-heat the oven to 140oC/275oF/Gas Mark 1. Line a large baking sheet with rice paper. Reserve 1 teaspoon of the icing sugar and sift the remaining icing sugar and cornflour onto a work surface. Place the egg white and reserved icing sugar in a large 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 onto the work surface and roll into a log shape about 6cm/2½ inches thick, then flatten until it is 4cm/1½ inches thick. Cut into 1cm/½ inch slices, place on the baking sheet and form into a diamond shape.
Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 30 minutes or until risen, but still soft in the centre. Leave to cool on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve dusted with sifted icing sugar.
I have collated all my favourite recipes into one book: FOOD FOR ALL OCCASIONS.
There are more recipes in the section THE ITALIAN JOB, a selection of authentic Italian recipes.