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sicilian pistachio cookies

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pistachio cookies

The upside: this recipe is so easy I could remember it well enough to reproduce, having seen it once. The downside: no idea WHERE I saw it so can’t reference the source. If you recognise the recipe and want to claim the ownership, authorship and patents pending, be my guest.

They are no doubt Sicilian; those southernmost Italians practically live on pistachios, almonds and chestnuts. Various Sicilian dolci use no other flour but ground nuts of one type or another. I somehow don’t think they are all trying to be gluten free (gluten free pizza: just IMAGINE); it’s as incidental here as in arancini.

sicilian pistachio biscuits

Green nutty stuff with egg white, so I imagined something macaron-ish. They were fun to make, a bit like rolling balls of pesto, and looked adorable raw. Baked, not so much. They spread obscenely, the decorative pistachio atop each cookie turned ugly brown colour, the icing sugar coating evaporated so I was not at all hopeful when I tasted the first one.

Wrong, wrong, wrong: they are about the second best thing you can do with only egg whites, nuts and sugar. Up there with madeleines, financières, said macarons, tuiles and croquants. Adorable – and so it’s confirmed again: looks don’t matter. Taste does.

sicilian pistachio cookies

Servings: 12 cookiesTime: 40 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 150g (1 heaping cup) raw pistachios, shelled
  • 150g (2/3 cup) caster sugar
  • ½ tbsp. plain flour (omit for gluten free but note they will spread a lot)
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 egg white
  • icing sugar, for coating


METHOD

1. Place the pistachios in a blender or food processor with 2 tbsp. of the sugar and the flour. Blitz to fine powder.

ground pistachios

2. Add the remaining sugar and process to mix. Pour the mix into a large bowl, add the lemon zest, juice and the egg white and mix it well with a spoon to a smooth paste. Chill for about 15 minutes.

pistachio cookie dough

3. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas 6. Line a large baking sheet with parchment.

4. Shape the chilled mix with wet hands into balls roughly the size of a golf ball. Dip each in the icing sugar to coat thoroughly and place on the prepared sheet. Leave plenty of space between the cookies as they spread a lot.

baking pistachio cookies

5. Bake for 10 minutes; leave them on the sheet to cool, otherwise they’ll disintegrate at the touch. Lift them with a palette knife when cold. Keep in an airtight container.

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