Amaretti ( singular amaretto) refers to crisp and crunchy classic Italian almond flavored macaroon (a variety of light, baked confections which have the form of meringue-like cookies) with a chewy interior.
History of Amaretti
The Italian word "amaro" means "bitter," and hence the literal meaning of "amaretti" is "the little bitter ones." They are called amaretti because they are flavored with bitter almonds. Francesco Moriodo, pastry chef at the court of Savoy, first made them in the mid-17th century.
Amaretti recipes may vary in flavor from one another. Here is one of the standard and simple amaretti recipes Commonly used ingredients for the cookie are ground almonds, castor sugar, egg white, amaretto liquor, and butter.
Method for Preparation
For standard amaretti recipes, the oven is first preheated to 170C/325F/Gas 3. The egg whites are beaten in a large bowl, until they are firm. The sugar and ground almonds are gently mixed into this. To this mixture is added the amaretto liquor, and is gently blended with the rest of the ingredients to make a smooth paste. Now greaseproof paper is placed on a baking sheet, brushed with butter. The mixture is taken with a teaspoon and placed on this is the form of small heaps which are kept 2 cm apart. The gap is kept because the mixture would expand on baking. These are then baked in an oven for about 15 minutes, till they turn golden brown. The delicious biscuits are now ready. Almond flour should preferably not be substituted with any other kind of flour in amaretti recipes; else the biscuits would not taste the same without their essential almond flavor.
Amaretti biscuits can be served for any time snacking. They well with a cup of hot coffee. They are also a popular after-dinner treat, served with sweet wine and/or liqueurs.
Varieties of Ameretti Recipes
Amaretti may be of different forms or flavors, and may also be used as an ingredient in other dishes or desserts.
Amaretti di Saronno refer to an amaretto macaroon that is traditional to Saronno, a comune of Lombardy, Italy. It is a traditional Amaretto biscuit, which is widely available commercially, the most popular brand being Lazzaroni.
Amaretti biscuits are also used as an ingredient for other sweet preparations. There are many amaretti recipes for preparing different kinds of desserts and trifles.
Panna Cotta Varient
A Panna cotta variant is also prepared by using crumbled Amaretti biscuits. It is prepared by heating cream with coffee and the biscuit crumbs. Gelatina is then added to this and the well blended mixture is cooled in a refrigerator for the cream to set.
Amaretto Tiramisu Cake is a dessert made of zabaglione cream, mascarpone cheese and Amaretto biscuits.
Amaretti biscuits are also used as an ingredient in preparing trifles. One such recipe involves crumbling the biscuits and placing them at the bottom of a glass. On this some Canberry jelly is poured. A layer of raspberries and then a layer of a mixture of yoghurt, crème fraiche, honey and lemon zest is put on this. Some more biscuit crumble is then added, and covered with some cranberry syrup. This is left in the refrigerator for a few hours before the trifle is ready to serve.