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Biscotti Di Pesach Della Mamma

April 05, 1998

(Mother's Passover Biscotti)

1 1/3 cups sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup olive oil, plus extra for work surface and baking pan

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

3 eggs

3 cups matzo cake meal, about

1 cup whole almonds

This recipe is from Edda Servi Machlin's mother, Sara Di Capua, who was born in Rome. According to Machlin, the word "biscotti" in Italy has come to mean all sorts of hard cookies, but in the U.S., it has retained its original meaning--"bis" derived from Latin and meaning "once more, twice," and "cotti," Italian for "cooked." Biscotti are just that--cooked twice; so is mandelbrot, the name of which comes from the Yiddish "mandel" (almond) and "brot" (bread). "Mandelbrot is almost the same thing as biscotti. We made them for Pesach with no leavening," Machlin told Nathan. Serve them a la Machlin, with sweet vermouth and tea. During the rest of the year, substitute all-purpose flour for the matzo cake meal.

Beat sugar, salt, oil and vanilla and almond extracts with electric mixer fitted with paddle or by hand until creamy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition.

Add enough matzo cake meal to make soft but manageable dough. Fold in almonds.

Spoon dough onto oiled work surface and divide into thirds. Oil hands and shape dough into 3 (15-inch-long) cylinders. Place on greased baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees 25 minutes.

Remove from oven. Increase temperature to 450 degrees. Cut each cylinder diagonally into about 20 slices. Lay slices flat on greased baking sheet and bake 8 to 10 more minutes.

Cool biscotti thoroughly before storing in airtight container.

About 60 biscotti. Each biscotti:

71 calories; 23 mg sodium; 11 mg cholesterol; 3 grams fat; 14 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram protein; 0.14 gram fiber.

MERINGUE BASKETS WITH LIME CREAM JEAN-LOUIS

LIME CREAM

Grated peel of 5 large limes

1 cup lime juice

1/2 cup pareve margarine or butter

3 eggs

3 egg yolks

3/4 cup sugar

MERINGUE BASKETS

8 egg whites

1 1/2 cups sugar

Ann Amernick's piquant lime cream scooped into individual meringue baskets makes an unusual Passover offering. The lime cream recipe was adapted from that of Jean-Louis Palladin, the chef at the former Restaurant Jean-Louis at the Watergate in Washington, D.C., where Amernick worked as pastry chef for several years.

LIME CREAM

Bring lime peel and juice and margarine to boil in 4-quart heavy-bottomed stainless steel or enamel saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat.

Mix eggs, egg yolks and sugar in medium bowl until just combined; do not beat.

Stir 1 cup hot lime-and-butter mixture into eggs to warm them. Then add egg mixture to remaining lime-and-butter mixture in pan. Stir vigorously with whisk over medium-high heat until thick and smooth, being sure to touch all points of bottom of pan to prevent burning, 5 to 8 minutes,

Strain lime cream into stainless steel or glass bowl and quickly cover with plastic wrap, pressing to touch surface of cream to prevent skin from forming. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate up to 2 weeks until ready to use.

MERINGUE BASKETS

Beat egg whites with whisk attachment of electric mixer until light and foamy. Slowly add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until incorporated. Beat meringue at medium speed until stiff and very glossy, 8 to 10 minutes.

With ice cream scoop or 2 large spoons, drop 18 mounds of meringue on 2 baking sheets lined with greased parchment paper. Make deep pocket in each meringue by pushing back of spoon into center and using blunt knife or back of spoon to push meringue away from center.

Bake meringues at 200 degrees 1 1/2 hours. Turn off oven and leave meringues inside oven until dry, several hours or overnight. Cool. When ready to serve, fill each with 2 heaping tablespoons lime cream.

18 baskets with lime cream. Each basket:

175 calories; 87 mg sodium; 95 mg cholesterol; 7 grams fat; 27 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams protein; 0 fiber.

MACARONES

(Passover Macaroons)

2 cups blanched almonds or peeled hazelnuts, plus 30 blanched almond halves or peeled hazelnut halves

1 cup sugar

3 egg whites

1/2 tablespoon lemon juice

Dash salt

Instead of grinding the nuts and sugar in a food processor, you can use a metate, or grinding stone, as Elisabeth Rosenfeld did in Mexico. Instead of lemon juice, you can substitute 1/2 teaspoon almond extract.

Grind 2 cups almonds and sugar in food processor until nuts are finely chopped but not pulverized. Pour into bowl.

Stir in unbeaten egg whites, lemon juice and salt.

Roll heaping teaspoon of dough between palms to make ball. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper and compress slightly. Press blanched almond half into top of cookie. Repeat with remainder of dough, leaving 4 inches between each cookie.

Bake at 350 degrees until cookies spread and are lightly browned, 18 to 20 minutes. Cool and separate cookies with spatula, taking care not to break them.

30 macaroons. Each macaroon:

98 calories; 14 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 6 grams fat; 9 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams protein; 0.28 gram fiber.

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