Friday, February 23, 2018

Mombaruzzo amaretti

Many of you might be familiar with the Amaretto liqueur and the amaretti cookies, but have you ever tried our Piedmont amaretti di Mombaruzzo?

First of all Mombaruzzo is a picturesque hamlet in the Asti area and this automatically makes us think of green hills, vineyards, renaissance castles, narrow and steep lanes, brick towers and a cute little piazza. Most def it is worth a visit, especially if you bake or are a cookie lover 😉

Legend has it that at the end of the 1700, Francesco Moriondo, bursar of the royal park of La Mandria (near the Royal Palace of Venaria) fell in love with one of the royal pastry chefs, a Sicilian lady. Her specialty was a cake made with almonds.
Once they left the court duties they moved back to Mombaruzzo where Francesco was born and opened a small pastry shop where they started selling a new kind of cookie: soft and elegantly bitter thanks to the almonds.

Amaretto in Italian means a bit bitter because this is how the first fans of these cookies defined them: good and a slightly bitter.

Francesco realized this cookie by adding a handful of those almonds you find inside the apricot and peach pits. This extra touch is exactly what gives these cookies their traditional bitter accent.
Quickly these cookies conquered everybody and lots of awards; many bakers started making them imitating the original recipe, making them THE Mombaruzzo specialty.
Today they are a PAT or Traditional Agricultural Product whose recipe is protected geographically by the Italian government.

soft amaretti di Mombaruzzo

These cookies are perfect for a gluten free diet as they only contain sugar, almonds and egg whites. Thanks to their slightly bitter flavor, they pair with many things, especially with grappa! As per tradition the best ones you can buy are totally handmade and Pasticceria di Moriondo, the original Mombaruzzo amaretto pastry shop is still open and it also has a café 😋


As customary we are sharing a recipe so you can bake them while planning your trip over to Piedmont.
  • 200 gr - 1 1/3 Cup circa of blanched almonds
  • 20 gr - 1/8 Cup of  bitter almonds or the almonds inside the apricot/peaches pits
  • 2 egg whites
  • 240 gr - 2 rich Cups of powdered sugar
  • some granulated sugar to top the cookies
Oven 150C - 300F 

Toast all the almonds in the oven for just a few minutes and cool down. Finely chop the regular ones  in your mixer together with the sugar. Don't allow the blades to overheat. Separately, finely chop the bitter almonds and then get them together with the other sugary mix.
With a fork, whip the egg whites till they are foamy and add the chopped almonds and sugar. Mix till getting an even dough. 
Roll out tiny ball as large as walnuts and roll them in the granulated sugar.
Line your baking dish with parchment paper and lay the cookies down to be baked at 150C - 300F for about 20 minutes.
Cool down and serve with as many pairings as you can think of!

another post about these cookies here

.... now, pack your suitcase and fly over to Piedmont to compare with the original ones 😜

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