A few weeks ago I picked all the lemons from the trees in mamma’s yard. They’d had a bumper year but it is spring and the season has come to an end. I have been frantically using them all up – preserving them, baking cakes with them and scattering the zest on most savoury dishes. I resisted the urge to make Dirty Girl Kitchen’s lemon curd (because it is far too delicious and gets eaten far too quickly). This week I was searching through my cookbooks for more recipes using lemons (I have a lot of them) and found lemon taralli.
Taralli come from Southern Italy. I have eaten them as a bread-like ring-shaped savoury snack, laden with fennel seeds (a perfect accompaniment to a glass of white wine I might add). I found a recipe for a sweet knot-shaped version with lemony icing sugar in Fabrizia Lanza’s “Coming home to Sicily”, but one of the ingredients was lard (and I had none). So I searched online and came up with this recipe from the blog Memorie di Angelina, which I modified. I then shaped them into knots and iced them as Fabrizia had suggested. Well they were heavenly! I posted a photo on Instagram and there were many comments – it seems that sweet taralli brought back many fond memories of childhood, lost recipes and grandmothers who baked them. For me this is one of the most rewarding part of cooking – bringing back those memories of shared meals, distant times and loved ones. Please enjoy this recipe – it is quite easy and the taralli are meant to keep well for a few days, though I cannot vouch for this as they were so good that we ate them all on the first day…
A quick reminder about my cooking classes in the next few months. There are a few places left in two of the classes (my crostoli class in October just sold out) – I hope you can come along. I would really love to cook with you:
– Saturday 14 November – learn how to trim and prepare artichokes (in North Fitzroy) – click here for details
– Saturday 21 November – 4 course spring lunch (in Chewton) – click here for details
taralli al limone
makes about 20 taralli
350g plain flour
125g caster sugar
1 heaped tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
175ml sunflower oil
1 teaspoon almond essence
zest of one large lemon
150-250g icing sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the remaing ingredients and beat with a hand held mixer or a wooden spoon for a couple minutes until well incorporated. Tip out onto a work surface and knead the dough for a couple of minutes until it is smooth. It should be quite soft, sticky and pliable. Break off sections and roll into logs (like you would for gnocchi). Cut a section that is about 12cm in length and twist it into a loose knot. Place on a tray lined with baking paper. Repeat with remaining dough making sure you space the taralli on the tray as they tend to spread.
Bake for 20 minutes until golden. Make the icing whilst they are baking by sifting the icing sugar into the lemon juice and then whisking until it dissolves. Add as much icing sugar as you need until the icing becomes thick, white and creamy. Dip the top of your warm tarallo in the icing mixture. Place on a wire cooling rack (the icing sugar will drip a bit) and if you want thicker icing, dip it again (mine were dipped twice). Allow to cool completely. Taralli will keep in an airtight container for a couple of days.