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Recipes with Cantucci biscuits
Cantucci are the most famous Tuscan biscuits in the world. They were first created in the city of Prato in the middle of the 17th century, but they only gained renown at the end of the 19th century thanks to Antonio Mattei who even brought them to the Paris Universal Exhibition of 1867.
Cantucci are only made from flour, eggs, sugar, butter (amounting to at least 1.5% of total weight) and almonds which must be sweet, whole and unpeeled. The dough is shaped into a loaf and baked; it is then sliced and arranged again in the shape of a loaf. These biscuits are baked twice, which makes them very crunchy.
What’s the best way to eat Cantuccini biscuits? You would probably say: “With Vinsanto dessert wine!” and you’d be right. Cantucci and Vinsanto are the winning duo that is always served at the end of a meal; all restaurants in Tuscany brag about their Cantucci biscuits.
That’s great, but there are many more options. Cantucci can also be used as an exceptional ingredient to make desserts, pastry creams, ice creams and different kinds of cakes. Let’s take a look.
Tiramisu with Cantucci
Classic Tiramisu is, of course, such a delight and so are Cantucci biscuits. Put them together and you will get an even more incredible dessert.
This recipe still calls for the traditional Tiramisu custard; to make it, you need to add, for each 500g of Mascarpone cheese, 125g of sugar, 4 yolks and one beaten egg white.
The difference lies in the biscuit base. You can replace traditional ladyfingers by Cantucci biscuits; crush them and soak them in coffee or Vinsanto wine, it’s up to you. The success is guaranteed either way.
I love Cantucci cheesecake, because in my opinion these crunchy and crumbly biscuits perfectly complement a rich and velvety cream.
To make the cream, mix 500g of spreadable cheese, 100g of Ricotta cheese, 200g of fresh cream and 150g of granulated sugar. To make the cheesecake biscuit base, mix 200g of Cantucci biscuits and 70g of butter. All you need to do is crush the biscuits, melt the butter, mix everything together and line a springform cake tin.
The cherry on top is, literally, a copious spoonful of sour cherries in syrup, which create a nice contrast with the sweet cream and the crunchy cheesecake base.
It is a very easy, but also extremely sophisticated dessert. To make it, you only need 100g of Cantucci biscuits, 250ml of fresh cream, 60g of sugar and two eggs. Whip the cream and put it in the fridge, then beat the egg whites until very stiff. You obviously have to wash and dry the whisks very well when you are using them for different mixtures, but you already knew that, right?
Crush the Cantucci biscuits, beat the yolks with the sugar and slowly pour the four mixtures together, alternating between them. If you want, you can add one spoonful of Vinsanto wine or ground almonds, but to me this parfait is already exceptional the way it is and it doesn’t really need anything else.
Pour the mixture in a plum cake pan and let it rest in the freezer for at least 6 hours. Remember to put it in the fridge at least half an hour before serving, otherwise it will be too cold. Before serving, pour a lot of melted chocolate on top.
Mock apple pie with Cantucci
It isn’t an actual pie, since it looks more like a crumble, but in this case, you will use Cantucci biscuits instead of hand-kneaded buttery crumbs.
This dessert is as simple as it is delicious. Try it out and you’ll make it again and again. You only need 200g of Cantucci biscuits, 50g of butter, half a kilo of peeled and washed apples and 40g of cane sugar (even better if you can find Muscovado sugar).
Crush the biscuits, mix them with small apple dices, sugar and melted butter. I also like to add one pinch of cinnamon powder and one handful of raisins, but you don’t need to if you don’t like them.
Once you have mixed everything together very well, pour the mixture in a tart pan and bake in a preheated oven at 170°C for 50 minutes and the (mock) pie is ready. Is it beautiful? No. Is it elegant? Not at all. But its taste goes straight to the heart.
Zabaglione custard and Cantucci
It is a classic recipe, but instead of Marsala wine, we are going to use – you’ve guessed it – Vinsanto wine. Take the same amount of yolks, granulated sugar and Vinsanto wine, beat the yolks and sugar and add the Vinsanto wine.
Cook in a small saucepan to pasteurise the eggs; you should ideally check that the eggs have reached a temperature of 80°C with a kitchen thermometer. Once it has cooked, whip the mixture with electric whisks to obtain an even creamier consistency. Pour it in a nice cup, dunk the Cantucci biscuits and serve immediately.
Cantucci are much more than biscuits, they are the symbol of Tuscan confectionery. They taste amazing on their own, but they are also incredible ingredients to make mouth-watering desserts. Are you ready to be delighted by their crunchiness?