More Christmas Balls. Almond Flowers from Agrigento

A few days ago, I made a batch of SicilianĀ Cherry and Chocolate Amaretti,Ā (Amaretti di Cioccolato e CilegieĀ ). They disappeared too quickly: some were wrapped up and given away, others popped into our own merry mouths.Ā Sicilian sweets taste so evocative, medieval and ancient. All the flavours of the island seem to be rolled up in these little festive biscuits- dried fruits and figs, orange and lemon peel, Marsala wine, Arabic spices, honey, almonds, pine nuts and pistachio, to name a just a few ingredients favoured by the Siciliani.

Gid
Ready to go out the door. Fior di Mandorle.

This year’s festive cooking is beginning to look like a cook’s tour around Sicily. Last week Siracusa, now today’s festive balls, Fior di Mandorle,Ā a specialty of Agrigento. Come to Sicily with me this month as I delve into my collected recipes from each major town. Map provided, inĀ aidĀ of travel fantasy.

I love a good map.
I love a good map.

Fior di Mandorle. Ā Almond pastriesĀ with honey and spice

  • 200 g freshly ground almonds or almond meal
  • 50 g/3 tablespoons of fragrant clear honey
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • grated zest of Ā 1 small organic orange
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 Ā large, or two very small beaten egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • icing/confectioners sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 150c.

Mix all the ingredients together, then knead until the oils from the almonds are released into the pastry.

Shape into smooth little cakes around 3 cm in diameter. Place onto a baking paper lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack, then dust generously with icing sugar. Makes around 20.

Adapted from Flavours of Sicily, Ursula Ferrigno 2016.

xx
Fior di Mandorle. A taste of honey and spice. Very Arabic.

My next Sicilian instalment will beĀ Nucatoli, from Modica, which are similar to last year’s Cuddureddi, but come in an amazing shape.