Thursday, May 26, 2005

Souvenirs: Belli e Brutti

These aren't souvenirs as you'd normally think of them. I just made them tonight, but I made them with Maria Grammatico's recipe. As you may recall, we visited her pasticceria while in Erice. I happen to have a copy of the book she coauthored with Mary Taylor Simeti, Bitter Almonds, which is part autobiography, part cookbook. It appears to include recipes for just about every confection offered in the pasticceria, including the ones we tried during our visit.

Our favorites were the Belli e Brutti, which were translated as "Beauty-Unsightly" at the Pasticceria Grammatico, but as "Good and Uglies" in the book. Ugly though they may be, mine did not turn out as they should. They should have maintained their shape, but instead they spread into very flat cookies. They taste much as I remember the one I ate in Erice - very sweet, lots of almond flavor, and a little lemon.

I cheated a little since I was doing this on a weeknight. I didn't grind my own almonds. Instead I purchased a bag of almond meal. It's possible this was partly responsible for my misshapen uglies, but I'm more inclined to think it has something to do with egg size (which is not specified in the recipe) or the leavening. In any case, the almond meal probably doesn't provide the same almond flavor that freshly ground almonds would, but it made these cookies super easy.

I confess I haven't read this book yet, though it was purchased long before our trip, but I look forward to reading it soon!

Pasticceria Grammatico


santos. said...

ever since i found out that cyanide tastes like bitter almonds, i've embraced the flavouring as my own....

dang, i can taste these already. since almond meal isn't readily available on island, i may be forced to grind my own to try these.

Cathy said...

Hi Santos! Gosh, can't think of any response to that...

These were good - I took them to work today and they went over really well. Starting with whole almonds is preferable for flavor, but strangely, I think it would be cheaper too. I think almond prices are going up in general (bad crop in California, or something), but the price of the almond meal was shocking. Maybe I'm remembering wrong, but I think it was twice as much as what I paid before. Think I'll use whole almonds next time too!

megwoo said...

Hi Cathy,
I just found your site. You have some BEAUTIFUL recipes. And the cutest cat!

Cathy said...

Hi Megan - thanks so much! And I do have to agree with you about Leo (my cat)!

I'm afraid I hadn't come across your site before, but I just spent some time browsing and it looks great! Tons of interesting's going to take me forever to look at it all!