Tag Archives: almond

Mamma Rosa’s Almond Bread

Mamma Rosa’s almond bread should come with a little warning: that if you eat one, you’re guaranteed to eat another four, five, or ten.   Feather light and crispy, I’ve been wanting to have a go at the recipe for sometime now – it appears in the much treasured little book she did for me. Her recipe says “a cup of this”, “three quarters of a cup of that” but her cups generally aren’t standard measure ones, they are whatever coffee or espresso cup she happens to have on hand, so I’ve attempted to convert them to grams here. They keep well in an airtight container.

almondbread (3)

4 egg whites
110g caster sugar
Grated rind of one small lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
120g plain flour
150-180g whole almonds

Making them
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees fan forced. Line a loaf pan with baking paper
2. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, continuously beating, until the mixture is thick and glossy
3. Add the lemon rind, vanilla, flour and almonds and combine gently with a spoon. Pour into loaf pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, it will be slightly golden. Remove from the oven and lift the loaf onto a cooling rack. Once cool, wrap in foil and refrigerate overnight

4. The next morning, finely slice using a serrated knife or an electric slicer if you have one. Heat the oven to 140 degrees, lay the slices out on trays lined with baking paper and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden, turning over half way through


Trifle of almond crumble, mascarpone and fresh figs

This is a great individual dessert I make each Summer when figs are in season, though it would probably also work well with blueberries or strawberries. You can make the almond crumble a day ahead and store it in an airtight container. The mascarpone cream can also be made in the morning, then at serving time all you have to do is assemble. The number of figs will vary depending on the size of your glasses and the size of the figs!  Makes 8-10 depending on the size of your glasses.

4-6 fresh figs, sliced in 3mm slices

Almond crumble
200g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
200g pure icing sugar, sifted
200g plain flour
150g almond meal
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius fan forced. Using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar. Add flour, salt and almond meal and combine with a spoon until it just comes together. Spread over a baking tray, roughly break up with a fork, and bake until golden (about 15-20 minutes), mixing roughly intermittently with a fork to get a crumble effect.  Allow to cool completely then store in an airtight container until ready to use.  If you have any crumble left over, it is great sprinkled over ice cream or  yoghurt.


Mascarpone cream
5 eggs, separated
5 tbsp caster sugar
500g mascarpone
50ml brandy
50ml marsala

Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until thick and fluffy, then add mascarpone and beat at high speed. Stir in the brandy & marsala. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff, then gently fold whites into the mascarpone mixture. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.  You can try this with other alcohol combinations, I’ve also done brandy and Amaretto.

In each trifle glass, put a layer of crumble, then a layer of mascarpone cream, then a layer of figs, and repeat.


Today’s cake – Francesca’s frangipane cake with blueberries

My “cyber friend” Francesca writes a really lovely blog called Almost Italian which I stumbled across one day some time ago and love to read.  One of her most popular posts has been her apricot frangipane cake, which she then tried with raspberries. Since I’m somewhat neutral on apricots, and raspberries and I don’t get along, I thought I’d try a blueberry version; as advertised it is ridiculously easy to make.  It was a hit with the crowd.  Thanks Francesca!


125 g softened unsalted butter
150 g of castor sugar
4 eggs
50 g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
375 g almond meal
2 Tablespoons Amaretto liqueur (I buy Disaronno)
250g fresh blueberries
25 g flaked almonds
Icing sugar for dusting

Making it
1. Preheat oven to 180c or 160c fan forced. Grease a 25 cm loose bottom tin. Line base with baking paper
2.Place butter and sugar and eggs in a mixer bowl and beat for 5 minutes until thick and pale.
3.Stir in the flour mixed with the baking powder, then fold in the almond meal, followed by the Amaretto. Pour into the prepared tin.
4.Arrange blueberries over the top and lightly press down so they are submerged. Scatter the top with the flaked almonds.
5.Bake for 45- 50 mins. Cool in tin, remove and dust with icing sugar.


Almond and Lemon Biscotti


I was inspired to make these after seeing Silvia Colloca make them on her new SBS show.   However the sugar seemed like an awful lot, so I reduced the quantity, and you could probably go even a little less if you didn’t want them too sweet. Some brandy thrown in would work well too!

2 whole eggs
3 egg yolks
300 g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
450 g self-raising flour, sifted
1 tbsp melted butter
pinch of salt flakes
finely grated zest of 2 lemons
200 g blanched almonds

Making them

  • Preheat your oven to 170°C fan-forced and line a large baking tray with baking paper.
  • Place the eggs, egg yolks, sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl and beat until pale and creamy. Add the butter, lemon zest and salt and combine.
  • Fold in the flour, then gently fold in the nuts
  • Divide the dough into two and using floured hands form two logs the length of your baking tray. Place the logs on the prepared tray, spaced well apart to allow for spreading, and bake for 30 minutes or until well risen and pale golden.
  • Remove from the oven and cool at room temperature for 3–5 minutes, and using a serrated knife, cut them on an angle into 1–1.5 cm thick slices.
  • Arrange the slices on the lined tray and return to the oven for 5 minutes. Turn them over and toast for a further 5 minutes or until crisp and golden. Cool at room temperature, then eat! Store in an airtight container.


Today’s Cake – Almond Cake

This recipe is based on one from my cousin’s wife’s aunt, which is how the best recipes are often found. I purchased pure almond and lemon extract from Williams and Sonoma, which has now opened in Sydney (yay). If you’re ever in New York go to the flagship Williams and Sonoma store on Columbus Circle, the first time I went there I thought I’d found Cooking Heaven.

The fragrance of almond extract is devine. Whenever its available, always opt for pure extract over essence, as the latter is a chemically manufactured product.


125g unsalted butter, softened
1 cup caster sugar
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp lemon extract
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
Grated rind of 1 lemon
3 eggs
100g almond meal
1/2 cup self raising flour
Icing sugar, for dusting

Making it
1. Grease a 20cm cake tin and line the base with baking paper
2. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees
3. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar. Add the extracts, vanilla bean paste, and lemon rind and combine
4. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs for 2-3 minutes. Add to the butter and sugar mixture and combine
5. Fold in the almond meal and flour. Pour mixture into prepared tin.
6. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer in the centre comes out clean
7. Remove from tin and place on a wire cake rack to cool. Once cool dust with icing sugar and serve

Almond and Rosewater Shortbread

A delicate and not too sweet treat.



120 gm natural almonds
220 gm softened unsalted butter
75g pure icing sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 egg yolk
30 ml Sambuca
330 gm plain flour
3½ tsp baking powder
2 tbsp rosewater, or to taste
Additional icing sugar, for dusting

Making it
1. Preheat oven to 180C. Spread almonds on an oven tray and roast, stirring occasionally, until golden (5-6 minutes). When cool, coarsely chop and set aside.

2. Beat butter, 75gm icing sugar and vanilla bean paste in an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in yolk and sambuca, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl.

3. Sift in flour and baking powder, add almonds and stir to form a stiff dough, then turn onto a lightly floured surface. Shape into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

4. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to 1.5cm-thick. Cut into shapes as desired and place on baking trays lined with baking paper.

5. Bake until light golden (18-20 minutes), cool on trays for 5 minutes, then sprinkle with rosewater. Dust heavily with icing sugar, cool completely on trays.