Biscotti di Mandorla - Almond Biscuits
Sicily, and especially the South-East, is well known for the quality of its almonds, which are used to make sweets such as granita, sorbet, marzipan and latte di mandorla (almond milk). They are also used in savoury dishes or simply as stand-alone snacks.
The climate around the Iblei mountains and half-way up Mount Etna offers an ideal setting for almond trees. In this climate, the trees do not require any herbicides or pesticides since they are in their natural setting, producing almonds with a strong flavour and a very high quality.
This almond biscuits recipe embodies what we think is a large part of the success and appeal of Italian cooking. It is all about the ingredients - put together in a very simple way.
Begin by whisking the egg whites until they are stiff enough to hold their shape. Then add in the crushed almonds, icing sugar, and the lemon zest. Mix everything in a mixer until it forms a thick, slightly sticky paste. No more liquid is required because the egg whites and the natural oil within the almonds help to bind everything together.
Shape the biscuits in whatever shape you like. You could make small balls and roll them in pistachio nuts, or you could make disk shapes and add some glace fruits in the middle. Just be careful that they are not too thick, which may lead to the outside being cooked, but the inside remaining uncooked. Bake them in preheated oven at 180C° for no longer than 10 minutes, until golden.
They taste best once you've allowed them to rest for 15-20 minutes.