It is Christmas time and this small Pasticceria/ Patisserie in Melbourne (callled Dolcetti) is packed to the ceiling!
Marianna with her angels and her elves have been very busy; they have been filling Dolcetti with delicious sweets, artfully wrapped and displayed.
There is no need for me to say much, the photos speak for themselves.
Last year I asked her to provide a simple recipe (it was for Pistachio shortbread in 2013 ) and this year the recipe is for Spicchiteddi/ Spicchiteddi (Spicchitedda in Sicilian). I will include the recipe at the end of the post.
Marianna has arranged her sweets and produce in a number of attractive packages.
The price for the large box above is $85.There is even a gluten-free smaller hamper.
Buccelati are definitely Sicilian…..those types of ingredients are a legacy of the Arabs.
Another Sicilian favourite is Pignolata… I must not leave out the Calabresi as Pignolata is also common in Calabria. The small Pignolata is $11
Notice one of her angels packing a child’s apron with a biscuit…..something for everyone! There are two types of children’s aprons…Both beautiful.
Marianna makes a Dark and a White version of Panforte – this Christmas sweet originates from Siena.
I always fiddle around with Carol Field’s recipe when I make Panforte. I have written her recipe in a much older post called Per Natale, Cosa Si Mangia? At Christmas, What Do You Eat…apart From Panforte?
This Italian inspired fruit cake comes in three sizes: $5.20, $22.50, $64
Notice that Marianna uses Australian apricots – to me this is very important and demonstrates her use of local and quality ingredients.
The small- snail like biscuits are spicchiteddi (spicchitedda in Sicilian). They are typical Christmas sweets from the Sicilian, Aeolian islands and contain almonds, citrus peel, cinnamon and cloves. They also have vincotto ( vinocotto, vino cotto – ‘cooked wine’) and once again Marianna is using some local produce. This one is made by Paul Virgona.
I have used Vincotto in savoury dishes – it has many uses and I have written about this in an earlier post.
As you can see by the shape of the spicchiteddi, children could shape them – they could wear an apron (as mentioned above).
Here is the recipe that Marianna gave me:
100gms unsalted butter
250 mls vinocotto
150 gms sugar
grated rind of 1 orange
675gms plain flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 pinch of ground cloves
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1/2 cup blanched almonds
In a saucepan gently melt the butter and vinocotto.
Remove from heat and add the sugar and orange rind, stir well and allow to cool.
Sift together the flour, spices and bicarbonate of soda.
Add the cooled vinocotto mix and mix lightly to form a dough.
Leave to rest for 10 mins.
Pinch off a tablespoon at a time and roll into a long thin rope approx 2cm thick.
Roll each end into a snail shape.
Decorate with blanched almonds.
Bake at 180c for 10 to 15 mins.
Brush lightly with extra vinocotto whilst still warm.