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''Yellow'' Country Biscuits

26 September 2014 / 08:09:46  GRReporter
2711 reads

 Danielle Lachana


As previously mentioned, food festivals in Italy, 'sagre', are often linked with religious festivals, and this is the case with today's recipe. The upcoming feast of St Michael (generally identified as an archangel and protector of the Church) is celebrated on September 29th and is the starting point for various festivals throughout Italy. Particularly notable are the celebrations of Bagnacavallo in the province of Ravenna, region of Emilia Romagna, which date back to at least 1202. Over the years they were particularly marked by a race between 3 or 4 very fast Barberi horses (with no riders!) and some say that the name of the town itself would be derived from the existence of a ford close to the first settlement in the area, to cross which on horseback meant that the horses would get wet (in Italian 'bagna' means 'wets' and 'cavallo', 'horse').

Today the feast is accompanied by music and dancing in the squares, art and handicraft exhibitions and, above all, typical gastronomy of the area, highlighting especially the typical autumnal sweets, such as that of today's recipe, a traditional biscuit from the Romagna region: Locally known as 'Piadot', these biscuits are generally known in Italy as Gialletti (due to their colour which comes from the maize flour used  - 'giallo' is Italian for yellow). Such biscuits were popular among the poorer people - since they did not have enough wheat flour, they used maize flour.

From a simpler basic recipe, today sultanas and pine nuts have been added for a truly special and tasty treat. You could also add finely chopped candied fruits, substitute orange rind for the lemon rind, or incorporate other varieties of chopped nuts.

Happy St Michael's day!




(Makes around 28 biscuits)



  *If you cannot find pine nuts, you can use the same quantity of roughly chopped almonds.


 Maize flour, sultnas and pine nuts



Sieve the two flours into a large bowl and add all the remaining ingredients except for the pine nuts and sultanas. Mix, either vigorously by hand or with an electric mixer, until well combined - the mixture will be crumbly, a little sandy in texture. Add the pine nuts and sultanas and mix gently to incorporate. Take about 50 g of the mixture and with the warmth of your hands squeeze and roll to form a ball the size of a large walnut. If the mixture does not stick together you can add 1 tbsp milk or a little more (to the contents of the bowl), until the right consistency is obtained. Continue making balls until all the mixture is used up. Press each ball lightly to flatten.

Arrange on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment (greaseproof paper) with a little space in between.


Bake in a preheated moderate oven at 180o C (350 o F, Gas Mark 4) for around 20 - 25 minutes until lightly browned. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

When completely cold, dust with a little icing sugar, if liked.

Tags: Biscuits Gialletti Italian Mediterranean recipes St. Michael Autumnal recipes
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