I came back from my two week vacation (don’t miss my next post about it) a few days ago, and I finally have some time to post about a few recipes I made during the holidays. If you are a follower of my blog, you have probably figure out my preference for desserts although I really am a food lover and when I get the chance, I try (and enjoy) a wide variety of dishes.
Today I want to take you to Italy again and precisely to Tuscany. Tuscany is probably one of the region with the widest variety of food and wines in Italy and Cantucci is only of the delicious dessert typical of a city called Prato. Traditionally, these cookies are dipped in a desser wine called “Vin Santo” which is, again, typical of Tuscany. If you are lucky enough to do a trip to Tuscany, you should not miss trying this unique combination of wine and cookies !!!
Here, instead of proposing the classic recipe with almonds and dried fruit, I am going to propose one with pistachios and one with dark chocolate. Here is what you need to make approximately 40 Cantucci:
1 and 3/4 cups (190g) of all purpose flour
3/4 cup and 1 Ts (150g) of sugar
1 and 1/2 ts (16g) of baking powder
a pinch of salt
1 cup (160g) of finely chopped candied peel
3/4 cup (200g) of shelled pistachios
3 bars of Lindt dark chocolate (60 – 70%)
Preheat the oven 350F (180C) and prepare a non stick baking tray with an edge of approximately 1.5 inches (4cm). Peel the pistachios and cut the chocolate in little cubes as showed above. In a large bowl mix the whole eggs with the sugar with the help of a whisk. Remember to add one egg at the time and add the second only after the first one is mixed. Add the sifted flour and continue to mix till well combined.
For the first batch we will use the pistachios and the lemon peel, for the second we will use the chocolate. Once you have mixed sugar, eggs, and flour, add the baking powder and then the lemon peel and the pistachios (for the second batch, you will follow the same procedure but adding chocolate). Don’t worry if the mix is a bit hard; it does not have to be liquid and the doses above are just perfect to obtain the right consistency. At this point, place the mix on the baking pan. Remember that the mix will raise a bit, so do not fill the pan completely.
Place in the oven on the middle tray for about 20-25 min. Time may vary according to the type of oven. You can remove the tray once you see that the mix is light brown on the top. Do not turn off the oven. Place the baked mix on a cutting board and cut it in little pieces and put them back into the tray.
Place again into the oven for another 25 min. Again, time may vary according to the oven. Mine is not ventilated so when I saw that they were browning too much, I lowered the temperature to 480F (250C) and I placed a fork in the oven door to keep a small split so that the temperature would not burn the Cantucci. This last step will allow the cookies to dry. In fact, Cantucci have to be hard, not soft.
Once ready, let them cool down and enjoy with tea, milk, or dessert wine which is probably the best way to enjoy Cantucci. If you are lucky enough to have a bottle of “Vin Santo” (literally “holy wine”), it is a must to try them with it.