Saturday, March 3, 2012
Yes, I know it is a funny name (for obvious reasons) so I want to include this picture so my northern Italians friends will know that this little town in Sicily is actually called Caccamo and that I did not misspell or mispronounce another name. The name means, the head of the horse. (And you thought that was just something out of the Godfather....hehehe) The little town is located in the western part of Sicily in the province of Palermo. The cookie for this entry, though (Piparelli) is far east of there from Messina and is a Lenten favorite in the region according to the book Sweet Sicily by Victoria Granof. One of the key elements in this biscotto is the orange peel and I would encourage you to make your own. You will be amazed at how much better you can do it than the factory that puts them in the plastic containers and sells them for a price so steep that you would swear gold was used in the ingredients. I hope you will take advantage of the link to make your own. These wonderful cookies deserve no less!
Candied Orange Peel
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup orange blossom honey
2 egg whites (kept separate)
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons chopped candied orange peel
1 cup unblanched whole almonds
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a baking sheet.
In a large bowl, cream the butter with the brown sugar and honey. Add 1 of the egg whites and mix until evenly blended. Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and spices into another bowl and add the butter mixture, stirring until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead in the orange peel and almonds until evenly dispersed. Divide the dough into 3 pieces and form each piece into a log 8"x2". Place the logs 3 inches apart on the greased baking sheet. Beat the remaining egg white and lightly brush the top of egg log with it.
Bake the logs for 20 to 25 minutes, or until firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. Slice the logs 1/4 inch thick and lay the cookies on the baking sheet. Return to the oven for another 15 to 20 minutes to dry out. The cookies will become crisp as they cool so do not overbake them. Cool on a rack.