It's an educative and quite enjoyable read (I mean who knew that the highly explosive element chlorine with which we use to disinfect water and to make plastic pipes is also pumped into flour for its bleaching action, mimicking the natural albeit much slower process of aging and oxidation?). If you have been at some stage engrossed by other books such as "The Taste of Sweet", "Moveable Feasts" or "The Fortune Cookie Chronicles", then "Twinkie, Deconstructed" is one that you will most certainly appreciate.
These almond fingers or ditti di mandorle as they are known in Italian, hide a bounty of strangely processed ingredients like almonds, eggs and butter (shock! horror!). This is a recipe staight out of Gina De Palma's "Dolce Italiano: Desserts From the Babbo Kitchen" which works a real treat.
Italian Almond Fingers
from "Dolce Italiano" by Gina De Palma
250 g unsalted butter, choppedIn an electric mixer with paddle attachment beat butter, sugar, salt, lemon zest and vanilla seeds until creamed.
125 g castor sugar
3 g salt
1 lemon, zested
1 vanilla pod, split and scraped
1 egg, separated
250 g flour
80 g almond meal
1 g baking
200 g sliced blanched almonds
icing sugar for dusting
Add egg yolk and beat until thick.
Combine flour, almond meal and baking powder in a bowl.
Mix thoroughly into butter.
Divide dough into 3 equal pieces.
Roll each on a floured bench into logs about 2 cm thick.
Cut logs into pieces 5 cm long.
Brush each log in lightly beaten egg white and coat with sliced almonds.
Bake on a lined tray at 165ºC for 16 minutes or until golden.
Cool on tray and serve dusted with icing sugar.