Saturday, September 17, 2011

Anna Sultana's Dead Man's Bones / Traditional Maltese Cookies for All Souls' Day

I admit that the Almond Roll with Strawberry Sauce was a long recipe.
Not complicated, but labor intensive.
One of Ma's recipes - Dead Man's Bones - is easier.

Don't panic.
No grave robbing necessary for this recipe.
It's just a name.

A lot of our Maltese dessert recipes are tied to certain holy days.
On November 1, Catholics celebrate the feast of All Saints.
All Saints, both famous and not.
The world celebrates the night before, Halloween.
Halloween comes from "All Hallow's Eve".
The Eve of the Saints, who are all hallowed.
HALLOWED not hollowed.
Hallowed means holy.

Well, Catholics believe there's a place where the not quite hallowed souls are.
We have a door number three.
Almost in Heaven, just need a bit of a clean up.
We Catholics remember these folks on November 2.
We've been doing this since 998.
Madison Avenue had nothing to do with it.

A Maltese traditional recipe for All Souls' Day is Dead Man's Bones.
A nice simple recipe.
Low cholesterol, too.
Nobody's in a rush to be a not quite hallowed soul.

If you'd like a filled Ghadam tal-mejtin with an icing, try
 Anna Sultana's Dead Man's Bones #2

Combine the sugar and ground almonds.  Then add the mixture to the beaten egg whites about a tablespoonful at a time.  You just have to stir enough to get the mixture blended in, the same as you would if you were making a meringue topping.

Instead of dusting with confectioners' sugar, you can brush on a simple glaze made of confectioners' sugar and water.

                        Dead Man's Bones

Preheat oven to 375º
Place the rack in the middle of the oven
Grease a baking sheet

In a large mixer bowl beat until very stiff
2 large egg whites

Gradually beat in 
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
150 g sugar
150 g ground almonds

Shape the mixture into long bone shapes.
Place on the baking sheet and bake 20 minutes.
Let cool on a rack.

Before serving, dust them with
Confectioners' sugar

Easy, no?
The chopped toasted almonds in Carmela's recipe reminded me of the cookies.
Which would also be nice served with berries and cream.
Or sliced peaches and cream.
Or apple sauce and cream.

Just saying.  

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