To regular readers of this blog, sorry for the long gap between posts, but a nasty bout with bronchitis kept me down and out for a while after my return from Italy. I’m back now, hopefully on a more regular basis, starting with this dessert that I’ll bet very few of you have eaten, or even heard of unless you’re from Abruzzo, or more specifically, a small town in that region of Italy. They’re called “sise delle monache” and you’ll find them only in Guardiagrele.
Sise Delle Monache
From a recipe on the website of the Abruzzo region. Click here to view the page
Ingredients for the dough:
300 grams (1 1/2 cups) of sugar,
100 gr (1/2 cup) of (sifted) potato starch
200 gr of (sifted) flour (2 cups minus 1 T)
After preparing your own recipe for pastry custard (or use the one below), start to make the dough of the dessert.
Beat the egg whites until stiff with 200 gr (1 cup) of sugar and then beat the
yolks with 100 gr (1/2 cup) of sugar. Mix the two mixtures very slowly and add the
sifted flour and the potato starch, until this mixture is soft. On a
baking tray form three little pyramids with the mixture. Put in the oven
for 10 – 15 minutes at 210° Celsius (410 degrees Fahrenheit). When everything is ready, wait until it
cools down, cut in the middle to fill with the custard and then cover
everything with custard… don’t forget to sprinkle with icing sugar!
2 cups whole milk
zest of one lemon (if you prefer not to use lemon, scrape the seeds from one vanilla bean into the milk or add 1/4 t. almond extract)
4 large egg yolks
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour
Put the lemon zest and the milk into a large, heavy saucepan and simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes.
In a large bowl or mixer, beat the egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale yellow. Add the flour and whisk until well combined.
Remove the lemon zest from the saucepan and slowly add the hot milk into the egg mixture, a tiny bit at a time. If you add them too quickly, you’ll scramble the eggs. Then return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over low to medium heat, stirring constantly. Keep stirring until the mixture thickens and starts to boil. If it gets lumpy, use a whisk, or even a hand-held stick blender to smooth it out.
Transfer the mixture to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, against the surface of the pastry cream, so it doesn’t develop a “skin.”Cool in refrigerator.