When I was little I was always happy to go to visit relatives or family friends taking a tour of some villages of Sardinia. Usually we did these trips during the holidays, especially Christmas or Easter, and every time and in every home, we found sweets of all kinds, always made in the traditional way, and sometimes with recipes handed down from generation to generation. Do not miss and ever-present the papassini, with or without icing, tasty cakes, with lot of raisin, walnuts and almonds and lightly flavored with orange peel and lemon and fennel seeds (in the north), the ingredients of which, as often happens, vary not only according to different areas of the island, but from family to family. Commons throughout Sardinia they are a typical dessert of this island, traditionally prepared for the holidays (especially on the Feast of All Saints) and which owes its name to the presence of raisins in the dough (“papassa” is the Sardinian translation of raisin).
- 500g flour 00
- 200g lard
- 200g sugar
- 2 eggs
- 80ml of milk
- 100g peeled and toasted almonds
- 100g of raisin
- 10g of baking ammonia
- 250g caster sugar
- 1 egg white
- 1 glass of water
- candy tails or beads
You have to prepare this recipe in two different times. First of all you have to put in advance the raisin to soak in a bowl with water. Mix together flour, sugar, lard, and eggs. Heat the milk, which should be warm, and dissolve ammonia, mixing thoroughly. Gradually add to the dough and knead to mix. Add, a few at a time, the raisin well squeezed and the almonds, coarsely chopped with a knife, until the mixture is smooth, soft and workable. Forming the classic ball, wrap in shrink wrap and let rest in the refrigerator for a few hours(you can prepare the dough the night before and let it rest overnight).
After resting the dough, roll out a part of it on a floured surface to a thickness of 5 mm. With a sharp knife, cut out many rhomboidal pieces and place them, spaced (during the cooking process will increase in volume), on a baking sheet lined with backing parchment. Do this with all of the dough. Bake in preheated oven at 170 °C for about 20 minutes, or until golden on the top. Leave to cool completely before proceeding to the icing.
For the frosting: beat the egg white. Meanwhile in a small saucepan, melt the sugar in the water (low heat), then add slowly to the beated egg white, and stir in constantly with a whisk until you have a shiny glaze. If the mixture is too thick, add a little of water until you have an optimal consistency. Glaze with a knife each cookie, and decorate it immediately with tails and then leave it to air dry.
NB: baking ammonia, also called ammonium bicarbonate is a leavening agent commonly used in the preparation of cakes, which serves to give a particular consistency and greater durability. In Italy you can it also in pharmacy, specifying that it is for food. The smell that you can perceive while papassini are baking in the oven is completely normal and it will fade with proper cooking and during the cooling period. We also recommend that you avoid replacing some of the ingredients: butter with lard and yeast with baking ammonia, since doing so will change in an important way the taste and texture, and you’ll have less durability.
You can taste the papassini with a glass of moscato (see post) served at a temperature of 18-20 ° C.
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