To celebrate our Culinary tour, this week in Sardinia, we have posted two desert recipes: The traditional Sardinian sweets are an important part of meals, and in many homes a large platter of ‘Dolci Sardi’ will appear at the end of lunches and dinners accompanied by a local liquor normally Mirto ( made from Myrtle Berries). There are a huge variety of cakes and sweets, and every region in Sardinia has its own recipes, ingredients and traditions for baking, but in general the main ingredients are almonds and honey.
CASCHETTAS Given to the bride on her wedding day, pastry as thin as the veil of a bride that contain within them honey, saffron, almonds and hazelnuts, this cake is especially prevalent in the Barbagia region, and the local villages vie for supremacy.
Ingredients: 300 gr of Almonds, 100 gr hazelnuts, 4 oranges, ½ cup of honey, 200 gr flour, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon of saffron, 50 gr. of lard
Begin by preparing the filling. Boil, peel and dry the Almonds, then finely chop them. Peel the oranges and lightly bake the peel in the oven and then chop finely. Add the orange peel and the Almonds to the honey in a sauce pan, cooking on a low heat, stirring until you obtain a creamy paste. Then Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
Now it’s time to prepare the pastry leaves: Mix the flour, egg, a pinch of salt and the lard and knead into a ball and then leave it to rest in a cool place. After take the filling paste and roll it into little snakes, about 1 cm thick and 10 cm long.
Then take the pastry ball and pull away small lumps of pastry, stretching them into strips which are wafer thin and almost transparent. For those of you who find this difficult, a cold bottle can be use to roll the pastry into thin strips. The strips should be 3 cm wide and about 10 cm long. Then fold the strips around the ‘little snakes’ and then form into different shapes such as spirals or flowers. Then place the Caschettas on a baking tray and put in a warm oven for about half an hour, until the pastry leaves turn golden.
There are even Italian cakes that use oranges as the main ingredient like the famous Aranzada from Nuoro. Aranzada dates from the late 1800’s and was patented by Battista Guiso. Aranzada is thin threads of orange peel that is candied in honey with addition of almonds. The original maker of these cakes Battista Guiso served many important customers, even the Royal Family.
500 gr. Orange Peel
500 gr. Toasted Slivered Almonds
500 gr. Honey
The secret to making this delicious authentic cookie is the attention to peeling the oranges. All the white pith must be removed full a richer taste of the orange zest. The orange peel wants to be sliced into stripes as thin as possible as this will make the overall cookie sweeter.
Once the orange strips are prepared they need to soak in a bowl of water for two days. Change the water at least once a day and preferably twice. After the peel has soaked drain off as much as possible. Place the honey in a heavy saucepan and heat gently without boiling, add the orange peel and leave it to cook for about half an hour. Finally add the toasted almonds and give it all a good stir. Then place little drops of the mixture into baking cases, leave to cool and serve.