Saturday, December 11, 2010

Carmela Soprano's Venetians (Rainbow Cookies)

Folks are asking for holiday recipes, so I'm switching the order of my weekend posts.  
Hope it helps make your Christmas better.
And this recipe is a bit long.  Not hard, but long.

Okay... I explained the importance of fish for Christmas Eve.
But really, fish - even seven kinds of fish - isn't going to cut it as a mainstay during the holidays.

One needs something to snack on while having a cup of coffee, especially during Christmas Day.

What's Christmas without cookies?
Especially cookies with lots of colors?

Biscotti is good, but blah.
I want something pretty.  
Looking at the Tonys, senior and junior, I don't think they snacked on fresh fruits all the time.
They must have had a cookie or two or a dozen.


The holiday chapter of Carmela's Entertaining with The Sopranos has a couple of cookie recipies: Mostaciolli and Pizzelle.
I'm not impressed by Mostaciolli, spiced chocolate cookies.  And I have a slight problem with Pizzelle, lace cookies that require a pizzelle iron.  I don't have one.


But then, in the Fit for a Bride chapter, I found something that I thought would look pretty on a platter.  The recipe for Venetians, also called Rainbow Cookies, calls for red and green food coloring.

Perfect.  
Sort of.

Even thought they're called cookies and they're baked on 9 x 13 baking pans, we're talking a cake here.  
Think Biscotti with color.
Okay... here's the recipe.
Don't say I didn't warn you.


                        Venetians

Grease 3   9 x 13 x 2 inch baking pans
Line the pans with wax paper and grease the paper.
Preheat oven to 350º 
Bake 10 to 12 minutes

Crumble in a large mixing bowl
8 ounces almond paste
----
Add
3/4 pound unsalted butter, cut up
1/2 cup sugar
4 large egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon salt
Beat until light and fluffy.
----
Beat in until just blended
2 cups flour

****
In another large mixing bowl, with clean beaters, 
beat on medium speed until foamy
4 large egg whites
----
Gradually beat in 
1/2 cup sugar
Beat on high speed until it forms soft peaks.
----
Fold 1/3 of the whites into the yolk mixture.
Gradually fold in the remaining whites.

****
Scoop out 1/3 of the batter and spread it evenly in 1 pan.
Bake 10 to 12 minutes, until set.
----
Scoop 1/2 of the remaining batter into another bowl.
Fold in
6 drops red food coloring, or to desired color
----
Fold in remaining batter
6 drops green food coloring, or to desired color
Spread the batter in the 2 remaining pans and bake.
Cool in the pans 5 minutes.
Transfer to cooling rack, leaving the wax paper attached.
Let cool completely.

****
Place enough foil on a tray to completely wrap the 3 layers.
Place the green layer on the tray and peel off the paper.
Spread with
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
Place the white layer on top and peel off the paper.
Spread with
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
Place the red layer on top and peel off the paper.
----
Wrap the cake in the foil.
Place a cutting board on top to weigh it down and
refrigerate at least 1 hour (overnight is better).

****
Place
8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
in the top of a double boiler
Heat over simmering water until the chocolate is softened.
Stir until smooth.
Remove from heat.
----
Take the cake out the fridge and unwrap it.
Pour the melted chocolate over the cake and spread it, 
leaving the sides uncovered.
----
Refrigerate 30 minutes until the chocolate is set.
Cut the cake into 1 1/2 x 1-inch rectangles.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.


This will give you 6 layers.  
If you have nothing better to do and want 7 layers
you can let the chocolate set until firm, 
melt some more chocolate, turn the cake upside down
and spread it with chocolate.  Chill until set.


Would I make Venetians again?
Maybe.  Not in summer.  Melty messie.
I wouldn't call it a cookie.
And I'd stop at 6 layers.


Another recipe down.  Thirty-three more to go.

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