The unmistakable sweet taste of Mandorlato is typically associated to Christmas, the period of the year when this crunchy dessert, almost an almond brittle, is eaten. Modern production of Mandorlato was started in the town of Cologna Veneta in 1852 by the druggist Italo Marani. This dessert with very few ingredients has far more ancient origins than these though: indeed, it was already known and loved during the Serenissima Republic, which dominated almost the totality of the venetian area from the 12th Century a.D.. Both Spain and Sicily have a similar dessert containing the same ingredients – honey, albumen and almonds – but it is cooked differently. This has lead to believe that these recipes may have common arab origins but… Mandorlato is for sure a regional re-elaboration started in Cologna Veneta and spread in the rest of the country only later on.
Ingredients and recipe
80 g of albumen (2 average eggs)
1 Kg of almonds
500 g of honey
1 pinch of salt
(1 pinch of cinnamon for an extra exotic taste)
Thin flat wafer – variable amount
Pour the honey in a double saucepan and fill the bottom pan with water . Put the pans on the stove for 30 minutes and stir continuously making sure the honey doesn’t stick to the pan. Remove from the stove and leave at rest for 30 minutes. Whisk one egg white with a pinch of salt until it is stiff. In the meantime heat the honey once more and then slowly add the beaten egg to it. Softly stir for 30 minutes from bottom to top until all the albumen has been absorbed. Leave at rest the mixture for 30 minutes and in the meantime toast for a few minutes the almonds in the oven, heated up at 120°-130°C. Be careful almonds don’t darken but only toast and dry. Whisk the other egg white with a pinch of salt until it is stiff. Put the mixture on the stove once more and slowly add the beaten egg to it. Softly stir for 30 minutes from bottom to top until all the albumen has been absorbed. Slowly add the almonds and, if you wish an exotic taste, the cinnamon. Leave at rest for 10 minutes and in the meantime cover a tray with the wafer paper then pour over it the mixture and put the tray in the fridge for the Mandorlato to solidify. Preserve in the fridge and… Enjoy!