Crispy Free Form Amaretti

Crispy Free Form Amaretti

Bruno
Amaretti are an Italian bitter-sweet almond flavored macaron. Amaretti cookies or bisquits are often used as an ingredient in some other recipe ( see notes). They can be hard to find in your local grocery stores however and may also be a seasonal item. This recipe is a super easy way to make some yourself with ingredients that every grocery store carries.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Resting Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 40 mins
Course Baked Goods
Cuisine Italian

Ingredients
  

  • 200 g Almond flour or ground almonds
  • 100 g Icing sugar
  • 3 Egg whites
  • 1 tsp Almond extract 2 for a stronger flavour

Instructions
 

  • In a large bowl mix the almond flour or ground almonds with the icing sugar
  • Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks
  • Fold the egg whites and the almond extract into the almond/sugar mixture
  • Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Using a couple of teaspoons, scoop up some Amaretti mix and drop onto the parchment paper leaving a couple of centimeters of space in between
  • Let sit at room temperature for 2 hours
  • Preheat the oven to 150°C
  • Bake the Amaretti for 30 minutes or to a nice golden colour
  • Let cool and store in an air tight container

Notes

An example of one of my recipes that uses Amaretti cookies is found HERE
Keyword almond extract, almond flour, amaretti
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Rosemary and Pecan Biscotti

Rosemary and Pecan Biscotti

Bruno
A savoury biscotti to serve at cocktails or with a hot bouillon. The aromatic rosemary is supported with a hint of cayenne pepper and the pecans round out the Umami of this unconventional biscotti.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 55 mins
Cooling between bakes 10 mins
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins
Course Baked Goods
Cuisine International, Italian
Servings 24 biscotti

Ingredients
  

  • 550 ml (2½ cups) Flour All-purpose
  • 10 ml (2 tsp) Baking Powder
  • 25 ml (1 tbsp) Rosemary Fresh, finely chopped
  • 2 ml (½ tsp) Salt
  • 1 ml (¼ tsp) Cayenne pepper
  • 3 Eggs large
  • 125 ml (½ cup) Butter melted and slightly cooled
  • 25 ml (2 tbsp) Milk
  • 250 ml (1 cup) Pecans coarsly chopped and lightly toasted

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 180°C
  • Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper
  • To a large bowl add flour, rosemary, cayenne, salt and mix thoroughly
  • In a medium bowl beat eggs using an electric mixer until fluffy and pale yellow
  • With mixer running, add butter and milk
  • Add this mixture to the flour bowl and stir until combined
  • Stir in pecans
  • Moisten hands with water and grab half the dough
  • Form dough into a roll about 30 cm long and place on one long side of the baking sheet
  • Moisten hands as necessary and form the roll into a log about 33 cm long and 12 cm wide, flattening it down a bit on the process to get a nice biscotti profile
  • Repeat with the other half of the dough placing it on the other side of the baking sheet leaving a gap of about 5 cm between the two
  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes to a stage where the dough develops some crack and appears firm when gently pressed on
  • Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes
  • Reduce oven temperature to 160°C
  • Place loaf on a cutting board and, using a bread knife, cut crosswise into slices of about 10 to 15 mm cutting at a slight angle
  • Remove parchment paper from baking sheet and carefully place slices standing up on baking sheet maintaining a gap of 5 – 10 mm
  • Bake for an additional 20 – 25 minutes or until biscotti feel dry when touched on the sides
  • Cool and store in a tight container

Notes

This recipe is easily altered to achieve different flavour profiles, e.g.:
  • Use walnuts instead of pecans
  • Use thyme leaves instead of rosemary
  • Add 200 ml of grated Parmesan
  • Use white wine instead of milk
  • Or, use your imagination
 
Keyword cocktail, nibbles, party snack, savoury
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Espresso Chocolate Chunk Biscotti

Espresso Chocolate Chunk Biscotti

Bruno
This Biscotti recipe combines the incredibly rich flavours of fresh ground espresso and luxurious chocolate into a most delightful dipper for your early morning coffee.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 10 mins
Cooling between bakes 10 mins
Total Time 1 hr 30 mins
Course Baked Goods
Cuisine International, Italian

Ingredients
  

Dough

  • 250 ml Sugar granulated
  • 125 ml Cocoa powder unsweetened
  • 50 ml Espresso finely ground
  • 675 ml Flour all-purpose
  • 12 ml Baking powder
  • 1 ml Salt
  • 3 Eggs large
  • 125 ml Milk
  • 50 ml Butter melted and slightly cooled
  • 5 ml Vanilla extract
  • 250 ml Chocolate chunks and chips semi sweet

Glaze

  • 175 ml Icing sugar
  • 25 ml Water

Instructions
 

Dough

  • Preheat oven to 160°C
  • Line large baking sheet with parchment paper
  • In a large bowl, combine sugar, cocoa and espresso grounds, stirring until no more lumps remain
  • Stir in flour, baking powder and salt
  • In a medium sized bowl and using an electric mixer, beat the eggs until fluffy and pale yellow
  • Slowly add milk, butter and vanilla while continuing to run mixer at low speed
  • Add this mixture to the flour bowl and stir until well combined
  • Incorporate chocolate chunks and chips quickly using your hands
  • Moisten your hands slightly and scoop up half the dough
  • Form dough into a roll about 30 cm long and place on one long side of the baking sheet
  • Moisten hands as necessary and form the roll into a log about 33 cm long and 12 cm wide, flattening it down a bit on the process to get a nice biscotti profile
  • Repeat with the other half of the dough placing it on the other side of the baking sheet leaving a gap of about 5 cm between the two

Bake

  • Bake for 35 to 40 minutes to a stage where the dough develops some crack and appears firm when gently pressed on
  • Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes
  • Reduce oven temperature to 150°C
  • Place loaf on a cutting board and, using a bread knife, cut crosswise into slices of about 10 to 15 mm cutting at a slight angle
  • Remove parchment paper from baking sheet and carefully place slices standing up on baking sheet maintaining a gap of 5 – 10 mm
  • Bake for an additional 25 – 30 minutes or until biscotti feel dry when touched on the sides
  • Cool completely and move slices back together

Glaze

  • Combine icing sugar and water stirring until you get a thick creamy texture*
  • Drizzle the glaze over the biscotti forming several lines along the length of the loafs
  • Let glaze harden overnight before storing in a tight container

Notes

* Add more sugar if the glaze is too thin. It should just barely be able to flow slowly from a spoon dipped in the glaze
Keyword chocolate, cocoa, espresso
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Curry Shrimp Risotto Gratin

This Curry Shrimp Risotto Gratin is based on a classic Spanish dish.

Curry Shrimp Risotto Gratin

Bruno
The Curry Shrimp Risotto Gratin is one of those dishes that may well make it into your regular monthly repetoire. It’s easy to make, tastes great and will impress your friends with the fancy version, i.e. I make two versions of it, a “plain” and a “fancy” one. The fancy one simply adds one large shrimp per person on top as a decorative kicker.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine International, Spanish
Servings 6
Calories 280 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 150 g (1 cup) Risotto rice Arborio but if you can get it – Vialone or Carnaroli preferred
  • 1 Onion finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp Curry
  • 150 ml (¾) cup white wine
  • 350 ml (1½ cups) chicken boullion
  • 200 g large shrimp about 18 shrimp of size 31-40
  • 6 extra jumbo shrimp – size 16-20 optional
  • 1 small jar of Artichoke hearts about 6 pcs., diced
  • 5 tbsp Parmesan grated
  • 180 g 3/4 cup Sour cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Extra butter for gratin

Instructions
 

  • In large pot heat butter and olive oil
  • Add onion and sauté for 2 minutes
  • Add rice and stir until evenly coated, then add curry and again stir to coat, about 2 minutes
  • Add wine to deglaze and cook until nearly absorbed
  • Add bouillon one ladle at a time and continue to cook with minimal stirring, always waiting until liquid is nearly absorbed, about 20 minutes
  • Stir in artichoke hearts, then add shrimp
  • Mix in 3 tbsp of the Parmesan, reserving rest
  • Carefully fold in sour cream, then transfer to a (round) gratin dish
  • Top with remaining Parmesan
  • Decorate with Extra Jumbo Shrimp if using
  • Distribute flakes of butter all over top and bake in pre-heated oven at 220°C for 10 minutes.
  • Finish under grill setting until you obtain a golden crust
  • Serve with a nice glass of white wine
Keyword curry, risotto, shrimp
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Polenta Gratin or “Polenta alla nonna”

If you love polenta or grits and you’re looking for hearty cool weather dish, this recipe will serve you well.

Polenta Gratin or “Polenta alla nonna”

Bruno
This polenta is actually a polenta, ham, tomato and cheese gratin. A very tasty dish for the cooler times of the year.This recipe uses a couple of ingredients you may not readily find but can easily find substitutes for.The first one of these is “Bramata Polenta” which can be replaced by any brand of coarse ground corn meal or “grits”.The other one is “Raclette” cheese. This can be substituted with (in order of my preference): Jarlsberg, Emmentaler (aka Swiss Cheese) or then Gruyere. If you’re really stuck, use “Mozz”.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 15 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian, Swiss
Servings 8
Calories 275 kcal

Ingredients
  

Polenta

  • 250 g Bramata Polenta coarse yellow corn meal
  • 10 g Butter
  • 1/2 tsp 2 ml salt
  • 1 L Water
  • 150 g Raclette cheese

Filling

  • 250 g Pancetta or cooked ham sliced
  • 1 Onion finely chopped
  • 1 Garlic clove
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 1 can 400g Tomatoes, stewed, diced, preferably Pelati or Romano
  • Salt pepper and nutmeg to taste

Instructions
 

  • In a large pot, bring water, salt, and butter to a boil
  • Add the corn meal and cook on low heat until desired consistency is reached 9depending on the type of corn meal used, this may take from a few minutes to 1 hour)
  • Wile the polenta is cooking…
  • Preheat oven to 200 °C (395 °F)
  • Cut pancetta or ham, thin slices or small cubes
  • Chop onions and garlic, fine
  • In a sauce pan melt butter and saute onions and garlic
  • Add ham and cook briefly
  • Add tomatoes and cook 10-15 minutes
  • Add salt and pepper to taste (also add a pinch of dried basil, if desired)
  • Chop 100 g of the Raclette cheese into small cubes and gently stir into the polenta once it is fully cooked
  • With heat off, let sit for 5 minutes, then stir once more, adding a pinch of nutmeg if desired
  • Working very quickly now as polenta will solidify rapidly making it difficult to spread, add half the polenta to a buttered baking dish of sufficient size and evenly spread out
  • Add sauce and spread remaining polenta over top
  • Grate remaining Raclette cheese over top
  • Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until you have a nice golden brown top
  • Serve hot
Keyword bramata polenta, grits, polenta
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Dried Cherry, Hazelnut and Pecan Biscotti

Dried Cherry, Hazelnut and Pecan Biscotti

Bruno
The flavour sensations of dried cherries, lightly toasted hazelnuts and pecans and with the added zing of lemon zest, make this biscotti an all-time and perennial favourite. Visually appealing with the dried cherries looking like glistening rubies, serve them with your choice of coffee, or just eat them by themselves. Note that while ordinary lemons will do the job, use Meyer Lemons for that special extra if you can find them. You can also just use only hazelnuts or filberts in this recipe, substituting equal quantities for the pecans.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 50 mins
Course Baked Goods
Cuisine International, Italian
Servings 48 Biscotti

Ingredients
  

  • 1000 ml (4 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 10 ml (2 tsp) baking powder
  • 2 ml (½ tsp) salt
  • 125 ml (½ cup) of hazelnuts cut in half, lightly toasted
  • 125 ml (½ cup) pecans coarsly chopped, lightly toasted
  • 250 ml (1 cup) dried cherries
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 4 eggs large
  • 225 ml (1⅓ cups) sugar granulated
  • 125 ml (½ cup) canola oil
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) lemon juice
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 160°C (325°F)
  • Prepare large baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Take a large bowl and combine flower, baking powder, salt, lemon zest, hazelnuts and pecans
  • In a medium bowl and using a hand mixer, beat eggs until fluffy and lightly coloured. Now slowly add the sugar, followed by the oil, lemon juice and vanilla.
  • Make a cavity in the flower mix and pour in the liquid
  • Fold in the flower and mix until liquid is mostly absorbed, then add the cherries and stir until well combined
  • Moisten hands and divide dough in half
  • Pick up first half and on a clean surface quickly form into a log about 30 cm long
  • Place log on parchment paper lined baking sheet and shape into a flattened loaf about 10 cm (4 in.) wide by 35 cm (14 in.) long, moistening hands as necessary.
  • Repeat with second half of dough, keeping loafs about 5 cm (2 in.) appart
  • Bake for 35 – 40 min. or until the loafs start start to show cracks and tops take on a golden colour
  • Remove from stove and let cool until loafs are safe to handle
  • Using a bread knife, cut loafs at an angle into slices about 15 – 20 mm (1/2 – 3/4 in) thick wiping knife with a damp cloth if it becomes sticky
  • Put slices back on the baking sheet, standing them up and spacing them about 5 mm (1/4 in) apart
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 150°C (300°F) and bake biscotti for an additional 30 -35 minutes until dry to touch
  • Remove from stove, cool completely and enjoy. Store airtight in a dry place.
Keyword biscotti, dried cherries, hazelnuts
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Lemon, Vanilla and Almond Biscotti

Lemon, Vanilla and Almond Biscotti

Bruno
This biscotti recipe is probably the most basic one found on my ZenGourmand site. One of the perennial favourites, it is however super delish on its crunchy own or as a dipper with your coffee or tea.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Cooling between bakes 10 mins
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins
Course Baked Goods
Cuisine International, Italian
Servings 36 Biscotti

Ingredients
  

Dough

  • 90 ml Butter softened
  • 150 ml Sugar granulated
  • 150 ml Sugar brown
  • 10 ml Vanilla extract
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 2 Eggs large
  • 700 ml Flour all-purpose
  • 15 ml Baking powder
  • 5 ml Salt
  • 150 ml Almonds sliced

Icing

  • 150 ml Icing sugar
  • 10 ml Lemon Juice
  • 20 ml Water

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 160°C
  • Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper

Dough

  • In a large bowl and using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugars, vanilla, lemon zest and juice to a soft an creamy consistency
  • Add eggs, one at a time, while continuing to mix at medium speed
  • Add flour, baking powder and salt
  • Mix using a wooden spoon until smooth
  • Fold in the almonds using your hands (dough will be sticky)

Bake

  • Moisten your hands slightly and scoop up half the dough
  • Form dough into a roll about 30 cm long and place on one long side of the baking sheet
  • Moisten hands as necessary and form the roll into a log about 33 cm long and 12 cm wide, flattening it down a bit on the process to get a nice biscotti profile
  • Repeat with the other half of the dough placing it on the other side of the baking sheet leaving a gap of about 5 cm between the two
  • Bake for 25 minutes or to a stage where the dough develops some crack and appears firm when gently pressed on
  • Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes
  • Reduce oven temperature to 150°C
  • Place loaf on a cutting board and, using a bread knife, cut crosswise into slices of about 10 to 15 mm cutting at a slight angle
  • Remove parchment paper from baking sheet and carefully place slices standing up on baking sheet maintaining a gap of 5 – 10 mm
  • Bake for an additional 20 – 25 minutes or until biscotti feel dry when touched on the sides
  • Cool completely and move slices back together

Icing

  • Combine icing sugar, water and lemon juice stirring until you get a thick creamy texture*
  • Drizzle the icing over the biscotti forming several lines along the length of the loafs
  • Let icing harden overnight before storing in a tight container

Notes

* Add more sugar if the glaze is too thin. It should just barely be able to flow slowly from a spoon dipped in the icing
Keyword almonds, lemon, vanilla
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Pear Crostata

This tart appeals to me because of its fee form and organic shape. It has the look of freedom and spontaneity. It looks artistic and has a certain wow factor.

Pear Crostata

A Crostata is an Italian baked tart or pie. More specifically, it is a rustic, free-form version of an open fruit tart. It can be made with a variety of fruits. Here we use bosc pears, one of my favourite pears.
Prep Time 1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 1 hr 55 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Canadian, Italian
Servings 8
Calories 424 kcal

Ingredients
  

Pastry

  • 425 ml (1 3/4 cups) All purpose flour
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) sugar
  • 2 ml (1/2 tsp) salt
  • 150 g (6 oz) butter room temperature, cut in small pieces
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 45 ml (3 tbsp) water, cold

Filling

  • 6 pears bosc, ripe, peeled and cored
  • 25 ml (2 tbsp) lemon juice
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) sugar, granulated
  • 45 ml (3 tbsp) butter

Glaze

  • 1 egg white slightly beaten
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) sugar, Turbinado

Instructions
 

  • Place flour, sugar and salt into a food processor and add the butter pieces
  • Pulse on and off until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs
  • Mix egg yolk and water and with food processor running, add to the mixture
  • Turn off after a few seconds and turn mixture out onto a floured board
  • Gently knead dough into a ball, flatten into a half dome and refrigerate for 1 hour
  • Preheat oven to 200 °C (400 °F)
  • Slice pears into 8 sections, place into a baking dish, sprinkle with lemon juice and sugar and dot with butter
  • Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until crispy tender
  • Let cool off
  • Remove dough from fridge and roll out on a floured surface to a circle of about 33 cm (13 in)
  • Carefully transfer onto the back of a floured baking sheet
  • Using a fork, pick up pear slices and arrange on the pastry dough in a circular fashion starting in the middle, leaving a clear border of about 7-8 cm (3 in)
  • Reserve remaining pear juices
  • Fold the border over the fruit in a loose fashion, leaving the centre open
  • Glaze the pastry with the egg white and sprinkle Turbinado sugar over pastry and fruit
  • Bake on middle rack for about 25 minutes or until the pastry is a nice golden brown
  • Boil the pear juices down to a lightly syrupy consistency, about 5 min., and pour into the centre of the tart.
  • Serve warm or cold
Keyword fruit, pears, tart
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