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Cookies without Nuts
Biscotti per li liguori
Biscotti per li liguori (Biscotti served with liqueur, made with eggs, sugar and flour, flavored with citrus fruit zest)
Originated from: Naples, Campania, Italy
Occasion: Any time & special times
Contributed by: Taken from "Cucina Teorico-pratica" by Ippolito Cavalcanti (1839).

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5 egg yolks
15 ounces powdered sugar [once quindici di zucchero polverizzato]
zest of fresh green citrus fruit
15 ounces of best quality fine flour
5 egg whites, beaten stiff

Original Italian Text
cinque rossi d'ovi
once quindici di zucchero polverizzato
corteccia di cedro verde raspata
once quindici di ottimo fior di farina
cinque chiara d'ovi

polverizzerai con zucchero


Take five egg yolks and cream with 15 ounces of powdered sugar.

Add the fresh green citrus fruit zest.

Add the flour.

Beat the egg whites stiff.

Fold in.

Place in paper baking cups that are shaped like "canaletti" [logs]

Sprinkle some sugar.

Bake in a slow oven.

These cookies should be served with liqueur.

Original Italian Text

Prendi cinque rossi d'ovi, che batterai in un vase di terra, con cui ci mescolerai once quindici di zucchero polverizzato, con della corteccia di cedro verde raspata, batterai il tutto insieme finche il zucchero sia bene unito, dipoi ci unira once quindici di ottimo fior di farina, battendo tutto, quindo batterai alla fiocca le cinque chiara d'ovi e quando saranno bene in ischiuma le mescolerai con la dose; farai de' canaletti di carta, unti di butire caldo, ed in ciascun di essi ci porrai due cucchiaj di dose, che polverizzerai con zucchero, e li farai cuocere a lento forno; quando saran coloriti, li toglierai dal forno, e dalla carta, li adatterai sopra di un tovagliolo per farli disseccare, e cosi saranno ottimi immergendol nei liquori.


The recipe in this entry was taken from the book, "Cucina Teorico-pratica" by Ippolito Cavalcanti (Naples: Di G. Palma, 1839). For the complete copyright-free Italian cookbook visit www.archive.org.... P.S. I tried these cookies but a lot of difficulties presented themselves. First of all, fresh citrus fruit is not available in Montreal, so that was out (I used lemon zest). And second of all, it was hard to know how the cookie was supposed to look like. The cookbook author says that the cookie batter should be placed in paper baking utensils that are shaped like a "canaletti" (Amazingly, it appears that in 1836 cooks had access to paper baking cups and paper baking utensils that came in a variety of shapes! Nowadays what appears in most kitchenware shops are the standard round-shaped paper baking cups. A few Middle Eastern shops in Montreal do carry cannoli-style-shaped paper baking shells but that's about it!). In any case, I had no idea what a "canaletti" paper baking utensil is suppose to look like, as the word, "canaletti," does not appear in any Italian-English dictionary on the web. Googling for images for "canaletti" did not help much, as what popped up were images of famous European canals (Those few cookies that did pop up did not match the name of the cookie I was looking for!). Images for the Italian word, "canaletta," does have an English equivalent and it is "log line." A "log line" is defined as: "The line by which the log is trailed from a ship to determine its speed." Images for "canaletta" on google showed heating duck grills (but no cookies!). From this I gather that the cookie is supposed to look a bit like a log or a tube. As the cookbook author does not say that the cookie should be cut after baking, I gather the end result is not a dozen or so biscotti slices (But maybe it is???). So Cavalcanti's "Biscotti per li liguori" -- "biscotti to be served with liquor" (Can be dunked as well) might either look like a log, a ladyfinger or a biscotti slice??????? It's hard to say. Perhaps those born and bred and presently living in Naples, Campania might know the answer, but the few Italian-Canadians I asked whose parents originated from Campania, don't. The problem with Cavalcanti's wonderful little book is that its author takes it for granted that all his readers are well-versed in Neapolitan cuisine. Nowadays cookbook publishers assume their readers know absolutely nothing, and maybe, just maybe, they're right! Comments and photo: Mary Melfi.

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