Carosesa Creations, with Katie and Giancarlo, of Caldesi
Carosesa works in pretty much every recipe, by both enhancing and inspiring. To create an Italian inspired dish, we gave a jar of Carosesa to Katie and Giancarlo, the commendable couple who have dedicated themselves to spreading their knowledge and love of typical Italian cooking. They own two restaurants, one in centrally located Marylebone, London with their cooking school next door and one in beautiful Bray. Between them they have written a host of brilliant authentic Italian cookbooks, (I have ‘The Long and the Short of Pasta’). As well as having starred in their own BBC TV series ‘Return to Tuscany’, the pair often pop up on cooking shows sharing their Italian cuisine tips and recipes.
They came up with sumptuous Sicilian inspired biscotti with Carosesa centres, which are so easy and tasty, you simply must give them a go yourself…
Sicilian Almond Biscotti with Carosesa centres
These traditional almond biscuits are made all over the sunny island of Sicily off the south coast of Italy. Often decorated with jewel-like candied fruits or jam, they are easy to make and happen to be gluten-free. In this case I have used the delightfully sticky and intensely nutty Carosesa made from carob molasses and tahini. Carob trees once grew in abundance in the hills of Sicily; they provided much needed shade. Over the centuries the shiny dark beans were used for currency and mock chocolate for sweet-toothed Sicilians while the pods were used for animal fodder.
Makes approx. 24 biscuits
300g ground almonds
75g icing sugar, plus 30g extra for rolling
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon almond extract
3 tablespoons egg white
3 tablespoons (apx) Carosesa
Preheat oven to 170°C fan. Mix the icing sugar, ground almonds and baking powder together in a large bowl or a mixer. Sieve the extra icing sugar into a separate bowl.
Add the honey, almond extract and egg white and mix together until you have a smooth paste. Roll the paste into small balls, approximately 2cm, and drop into the extra icing sugar to coat them. You can put several balls into the bowl at a time and shake it to coat them.
Put each ball onto a lightly greased baking tray (or line it with baking parchment), spaced apart by approximately 5cm. Press the centre down lightly with your finger to make a small well. Use two spoons to drop half a teaspoon of Carosea into the centre of each one. Bake in the oven for approximately 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wired rack to cool.
For more information on the Caldesi family and their restaurants visit www.caldesi.com