Maltese Almond Vegan Biskuttini with Aquafaba

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For these traditional Maltese almond vegan biskuttini I use aquafaba instead of egg to bind them.  They are ideal for vegans and any for anyone who wishes to reduce some cholesterol.  I also eliminate refined sugar and used golden raisins blended to a pulp with some water as a sweetener.  You will not be able to taste or see the golden raisins.  Those around me approve of both taste and texture !

*This recipe is vegan, gluten free and diabetic friendly’

You will need:

300g ground almonds
200g golden raisins
30ml water
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon grated tangerine zest
4 tablespoons aquafaba [chick pea water]
2 tablespoons cornflour or rice flour
vanilla
whole almonds to decorate the surface

Heat the oven to 170C.

Soak the golden raisins in the water preferably overnight but an hour is adequate.  Use a hand blender to puree the golden raisins until it looks like a smooth pulp.

Use an electric mixer and beat the aquafaba until it is stiff and looks like a meringue

In a large bowl place the ground almonds, lemon juice, citrus zest, corn flour or rice flour and vanilla.

Mix well and then add the golden raisin pulp.   Mix and finally fold in the aqua faba.  Mix well.  Then use your hands to bring the dough together.

Knead it slightly on a work surface dusted with a mix of ground almonds and cornflour or rice flour [which ever you are using].

Spray the baking tray with some cooking spray.  Cover a baking try with rice paper.

Shape small balls of the almond mixture with your hands. Place the almond balls on the rice paper on the baking sheet.

Place a whole almond on top of each cookie.

Bake for 15 minutes or until they are golden and crisp.  Allow them to cool completely, preferably overnight before removing them for the baking sheet.  If you like a harder consistency allow them to bake for a further 5 minutes.

Lea’s Tip:  If you do not have rice paper use baking paper and spray it with cooking spray.  They freeze well and keep for up to 3 months.

Lea’s Good Food Everyday airs on Smash TV and you can also follow the page on Facebook

 

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Trade Enquiries:
Fry Light Baking Spray is available at Rimus Group

Other baking ingredients by Good Earth Distributors Ltd

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Quick Christmas Almond Muffins

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Quick all-in-one Almond Cupcakes, photo taken by Felix Cesare during a live tv show

‘Mascarpone produces great results in baking as an alternative to butter.  Did you know that 100g of Mascarpone has around 435 calories as opposed to 717 calories for every 100g  of butter.’

This is the easiest and quickest recipe, fresh cupcake in half an hour from start to finish.

You will need:

100g mascarpone
50g brown sugar
4 eggs
125g self raising flour
125g almond flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon honey
the seeds of 1/2 pod vanilla

Simply place all the ingredients in a large bowl and use an electric mixer to combine the ingredients together to a consistent soft and smooth paste. Once your mixture appears even, stop beating and spoon into a muffin tin lined with paper cases.  Top with half a cherry and bake in a preheated oven at 160 C for 20 to 25 minutes.

Tip:  As soon as you mix them, test for a dropping consistency and immediately fill up the papercases in the muffin try and put in a hot oven with as little delay as possible

all in one easy almond cupcakes

I use flour and cherries by St Georges Brand, eggs by Big Fresh, almond flour by Farine Magiche, honey by 3 Leaves, sugar by Tate & Lyle, baking powder by Foster Clark, paper cases and muffin tin by Tescoma.

Anton’s Ricotta and Almond Tart

As seen on TV, a ricotta and almond tart I made on the show with Anton

As seen on TV, Anton’s ricotta and almond tart we made during the show

I adapted Anton’s‘s recipe with no added butter and no sugar and for the crust you will need:

250g plain flour
50g ricotta
25ml olive oil
1 egg
a few drops vanilla
grated rind of half a lemon

I use an loose bottomed tart dish of 23cm, for a larger dish, double the ingredients.

Make the pastry by rubbing in the ricotta and olive oil into the flour, as you would with butter. Add the vanilla and grated lemon zest. Add the egg and if necessary add a few drops of water until you form a dough. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge for an hour. Roll out on a floured surface. Wrap the pastry around the rolling pin and gentle drop it as you unfold it onto the greased tart dish. With the tips of your fingers, gently tap on the pastry to ease it into the mould. Take a fork and pierce the pastry all over. Bake blind and allow to cool.

For the filling you will need:

300g ricotta
50ml yoghurt
100g ground almonds
60g Stevia
50g candid peel
60g glace cherries
50g chopped almonds
2 eggs
grated zest of half a lemon
grated zest of half an orange
flaked almonds and some cherries to decorate the surface of the tart after baking

Preheat the oven to 160 C.

Place the ricotta and yoghurt in a large bowl. Mix until they bind together and you have a creamy consistency. Add the stevia, ground almonds and citrus zest, the candid peel and chopped glace cherries. Finally add the eggs.

Pour the filling into the pre baked crust. Top with cherries and flaked almonds. Allow to cook slowly if possible. On tv we had to increase the temperature to speed the cooking time and this resulted in a few overly browned flaked almonds. Allow to cook before serving. This pie is just delicious, thank you Anton for sharing

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Cooking with Lea, ONE TV with Anton B Dougall

Cooking with Lea, ONE TV with Anton B Dougall

Photography Gino Galea

All-in-one quick Almond Cake

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We love almonds on this island, in every shape and form, but especially in sweets and this is one of my favorite easy and straighforward almond cakes.  The result is soft and moist and it is a good way to use up left over ground almonds  You can make it in advance and freeze the cake until you need it.

  • 100 g butter, room temperature
  • 50 g soft brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 100 g self raising flour
  • 100 g ground almonds
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 50 g flaked almonds to coat the top pre-bakingPreheat oven to 160 C. Grease a 20 cm cake tin. Mix together the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, ground almonds baking powder, milk and honey in a large mixing bowl.  When the ingredients are mixed well together, spoon into a prepared tin and level the surface with the back of a spoon.  Sprinkle with almonds and bake for 35 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

 

Mild weather, sunshine and warmth, nearly every day of the year.  How much better can it be ?

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Energy Balls with citrus zest (gluten free, no processed sugar)

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There is something so satisfying when you know exactly what your’re eating. I use a mix of dates, figs, prunes, added almonds and lots of fresh tangerine zest.

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These energy balls are very easy to make and a good activity with the kids. I coated half the balls in sesame seeds and the other half in coconut. You can also make a very large batch and store them in airtight containers or jars.

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You will need:
2 cups pitted dates, roughly chopped
2 cups coconut
1 cup figs
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup grated citrus zest, I used local tangerines
1/2 cup honey, I used local eucalyptus carob honey
1/2 cup chopped flaked almonds
1/4 cup fruit juice, usually I use orange but this time I used purple carrot juice
For rolling balls : 2 cups sesame seeds and 2 cups coconut

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You can use a food processor if you want a smooth even consistency but I always prefer different textures and defined flavors in my food and I used a food mixer fitted with a K beater.

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Place all the ingredients in your mixer and blend until you reach the consistency you prefer.

Using a tablespoon for measurement, roll balls between your hands.

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Line two dishes with a baking sheet and place the sesame seeds and coconut for rolling the balls.

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And the wonderful delicious result which you can store in the freezer or airtight containers !

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Click here for The best energy balls ever

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All Souls Day Traditional Almond Cookies

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A day after Halloween brings All Souls Day, a feast widely celebrated on the island with local food stores and confectioneries selling traditional bone shaped cookies with an almond meal stuffing.

The recipe for these ‘almond bones’ has been given to me by Renato Briffa, a well known pastry chef who is an expert on traditional and local sweets.

For 8 to 10 cookies, you will need :

For the pastry :

625g flour
200g butter
2 teaspoons baking powder
Grated rind of 1 lemon
Few drops good vanilla extract
150g water ( measured by weight not volume)
175g sugar

Tub flour and butter until they resemble fine breadcrumbs.
Add the grated lemon rind, vanilla extract, sugar and finally the water and form the pastry dough.
Leave to rest in the fridge for 15 minutes to 20 minutes.

For the filling you will need :

200g ground almonds
150g sugar
Grated rind of one lemon
1 to 2 egg whites, depending on the size of the eggs.
1 egg white for brushing pastry

Mix everything together until you have the consistency similar to the pastry dough you have just made !

Making the bones ! :

Roll out the dough into a rectangular shape and leave it quite thick.
Brush the surface of the pastry with egg white.
Put some almond filling in the middle.
Roll up the pastry in the shape of a long sausage and secure edges tightly.
Cut the pastry into approximately 100g portions and shape like bones.
Bake in a hot oven at 220 C for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Take out of the oven and leave to cool !

Renato gave me a recipe for fondant icing but I cheated a little with mine. I made glacé icing by mixing a few drops of water into a bowl of confectioners sugar and stirring it until its the right consistency.

Cover the top of the cookies with white icing. Traditionally you would need to dust some flaked nuts before the icing melts. To give these cookies a Halloween touch, I sprinkled mine with orange Confetti !

Almond Snowdrops

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Out of the oven freshly baked, melt-in-the-mouth, the lightest Almond Snowdrops. A perfect recipe, a dough so satiny that it is literally a pleasure to knead and to touch ! You must try them and I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

You will need :

1 cup soft butter
1/2 cup icing sugar plus extra sugar for dusting
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup ground almonds
2 cups sifted flour
Zest of one lemon

Cream butter in a mixing bowl
Add the sugar
Continue creaming until light and fluffy.
Add the ground almonds, lemon zest and vanilla extract
Blend in flour gradually together with salt and lemon rind. Mix thoroughly until it forms a soft dough
Shape into teaspoonful balls
Place on ungreased baking sheet
Bake at 180 C for 10 to 15 minutes
Cover the bottom of a flat plate with icing sugar
Place cooked snowdrops on top and sprinkle with more icing sugar. Rolling the is best.
Shake off excess icing sugar and arrange on platter.

Gorgeous and glorious….an island blessed with all the good things in life.

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Joseph’s Frangipane and Chocolate Tart

I spent the morning with  Joseph Borg, a very talented pastry chef ! 20130917-220423.jpg

 

And we made his special Almond and chocolate tart !

 

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Mixing the pastry dough

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Kneading the dough

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Piping the frangipan mix into the tart shell

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Adding the chocolate spread to the frangipan mix

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Stirring in the chocolate

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Piping in the chocolate frangipan

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Walnuts for the surface !

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The baked tart with a glaze

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Blow torch the orange segments !

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With the glazed apple and figs and caramelized orange …

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Frangipan and Chocolate Tart !

You will need :

10 – 12 inch tart dish with a loose bottom

For the pastry:
650g flour
400 g butter
200g sugar
1 egg
65 ml water

Cream the butter and sugar in a mixer. Mix together the eggs and water. Gradually add the beaten eggs and water.
Add flour and beat in.
This pastry does not need to rest and can be used straightaway ! It is also best used on the day it’s made rather than storing it in the freezer or fridge.
Dust your work surface with flour and knead the pastry lightly dusting with extra flour. This pastry has a wonderful satiny feel and is lovely to work with.
Roll it out with a rolling pin to a thickness of 5mm.
Neatly cover the bottom of the tart dish. This pastry is rich in butter and you will not need to grease the tart dish.

For the filling:
300g butter
300g sugar
1 liter beaten eggs
350g ground almonds
100g flour
Orange and lemon zest
Walnuts or almonds to decorate surface
100g chocolate spread

Preheat oven to 170 C
Cream the butter and sugar in a mixer. Gradually add beaten eggs and citrus zest.
Add the flour and ground almonds and mix in well.
Split the mixture into 2 and add the chocolate spread to half of the mixture.
Using a piping bad pipe strips of plain frangipane mix into the tart shell leaving a gap to strips of the chocolate frangipane mix in between. If you do not wis to use a piping bag, spoon the mixture neatly.
Decorate the surface with whole almonds or walnuts.
Bake in a preheated oven for 40 minutes.
Allow to cool and brush with some heated apricot jam for a glazed surface.
Decorate with fruit of your choice. Joseph used caramelized oranges, apples and figs.

Stored in a jar…chili, honey and rosemary nut mix….

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It’s always good to have a snack that is available to have with drinks and I prefer buying nuts and dried fruit completely additive and flavor free and making my own mix with herbs or spices that take my fancy.

I made this mix using chili, honey and rosemary and I store them in airtight jars. The flavors are delicious and it is very easy to eat the whole lot in one go so you will need a bit of self discipline! I find that they last for up to a month depending on local weather conditions.

You will need :
A mix of nuts, quantity and selection according to preference, I used whole almonds, flaked almonds, chopped hazelnuts
Coconut Flakes
Dried Rosemary
Chili flakes, finely chopped
Honey
Maldon Salt

Dry roast the chopped chili flakes and rosemary in a heavy pan on high heat. Add the nut mix and half the coconut flakes. Do not leave it on the heat while you are doing something else as they brown very quickly.

Add a drizzle of honey, stir and remove from pan.

Add some Maldon salt and the unroasted coconut flakes. I like leaving half the flakes unroasted as the color and texture make the mix more interesting.

Allow to cool and store in airtight jars.

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The last of the prickly pears on the island