Monday, April 18, 2011

Anna Sultana's Kwarezimal - Almond Biscotti, Maltese Style

On Saturday I posted Carmela Soprano's Quaresimali.

I know, I have a hard time picturing Carmela making them, too.
It's not that they're hard to make.
But can you picture Tony and AJ sitting down to a plate of them?
Would Christopher bring a box of them to the guys hangin' at Satriale's?
No way.
Well, maybe during Lent.

Kwarezimal is a Maltese Lent basic item.
It is called a Lenten sweet in the Maltese cookbooks.
Our editors are a bit more honest.
Not like Carmela's.
Just saying...

grease a large cookie pan         
preheat oven to 350ยบ        
bake 20 minutes

In a large mixer bowl, mix together
200 g flour
400 g ground almonds
200 g ground rice
400 g brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
a pinch of ground cloves
1 Tablespoon cocoa
1/2 orange rind, grated
1/2 lemon rind, grated

1 teaspoon orange extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
water or milk to make a stiff paste

Divide the dough into 6 portions.
Shape each portion into a sausage shape
Flatten each portion, leaving each piece fairly thick
Place them, 2 inches apart, on the baking pan

Bake 20 minutes
Remove from oven and, Place them on a cutting board 
spread with 
sprinkle with
chopped pistachio nuts
chopped roasted almonds
Cut into slices

Cool the cookies on a rack.
Store in an airtight container.

I have to admit I have a soft spot for the Italian Quaresimali.
When I was a kid in College Point, I was a bit of an oddity.  
My classmates were either Irish or German. 
One thing we had in common was that our mothers baked.
The other was that we were Catholics in a school run by Dominican nuns.

When we were in grade 3 we had to start following the Church's rules on fasting.
My German classmates brought Zwieback cookies to school.
I brought some of my aunt's Quaresimali.
We traded cookies.
The cookies were kind of the same. 

After that, things got a little better at school.
Maybe they figured I was kind of the same, too.

Do I make Kwarezimal?
Like I said, I have a soft spot for the Italian Quaresimali.

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