Another beautiful bright and happy Mediterranean day, the church bells ringing and there is an air of celebration as St Peter and St Paul are remembered on the island !
It is one of the holiday highlights of the year…. I am excited today as I have always admired these beautiful almond soft bakes with their glistening cherries but have never attempted to make them.
A few days ago, I asked Renato to provide me with his recipe for Cherry Pastini. He is always willing to share his vast knowledge of local sweets and pastries and I am surprised as this is such an easy recipe with very few ingredients.
I have just taken them out of the oven …. they not only look so inviting but the smell is divine and I am now eating some with a lovely espresso as I write. Citrus, almonds, a moist soft texture with a fine crispy crust….. They are so easy to make and although I have piped them, you can also make them without using a piping bag and simply roll them in some ground almonds. There is nothing like home baking and the taste is far superior to the shop bought ones.
This recipe yields 35 to 40 Pastini.
Preheat oven to 160 C
You will need:
250g ground almonds
250g caster sugar
Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
3 drops good vanilla extract
2 egg whites
40 g glacé cherries
I have also added the grated zest of half an orange in mine as I love the flavor of local oranges.
You will also need a piping bag with a star nozzle but this is optional.
In a large bowl mix the ground almonds, sugar, lemon zest and vanilla. Gradually add the egg whites one by one until you achieve a dropping consistency. If necessary add another egg white.
If you are using a piping bag, prepare it with a star nozzle. Line a baking tray with baking paper and pipe the Pastini onto the baking sheet
If you are not using a piping bag, dust your hands with ground almonds and using a small cookie scoop roll into balls and place onto the baking sheet.
Cut the cherries into quarters and decorate each Pastina with a cherry.
Bake for 15 minutes.
Leave to cool on baking tray.
These Pastini will last for up to a month in an air tight container.