EVENT: BLOGGING MARATHON #88
THEME: REGIONAL CUISINE -DAY 3
Tomorrow is my best best best (note the x3 best) friend’s 60th birthday. Today a lunch was organized by her and her hubby for their friends, as she put it people that have made a difference in her life. I baked a orange saffron semolina cake for her. Well, not going to talk about the party but as I was sitting right across her, I admired how she was glowing in her pink outfit and I just couldn’t believe she is 60! Still very active, no aches and pains to complain about, a recent dazzling grandmother as she likes to call herself. Slim, confident, disciplined, a good singer, can make any party lively. We’ve been friends for the best 35 years, a good listener I can call on her any time of the day when I need her help.
I couldn’t help thinking how I will be when I reach 60 (which is in a few years). I’ll probably hobble to my party if I don’t take my health seriously. I can be well organized about a lot of other things but when it comes to taking exercise seriously I’m the most indiscipline person. I’m my health’s own enemy. Hubby reckons that I should stop blogging and then perhaps that time saved I will dedicate to my health. I recently watched a video about a 90 year old woman who can perform yoga poses without any difficulty. She started yoga at 60 and is so supple and fit. She reckons right now is the right time to begin, age should not be prevention.
Today’s recipe is Zaletti (I’m talking about health and here I present a sweet treat!!!) from the region of Veneto. Veneto is situated to the northeast of Italy. This region extends from the Dolomites to the Adriatic Sea. It’s a region that has extraordinary sceneries from the mountains to the lagoon. The famous city of Venice is situated in the lagoon of this region. Verona, where the setting for the Shakespearian play Romeo and Juliet is also in this region. I’ve had the opportunity to see both places which are breathtakingly beautiful, romantic and full of culture.
Veneto region has a wide cuisine, depending on which part of the region you are in. The people living in the mountainous region depend on meat while the coastal people have seafood. Veneto is an agricultural region with vineyards, orchards, maize fields, rice fields, vegetables like peas, radicchio and so many more. Its a region that makes polenta, risotto besides the normal pasta dishes.
Zaletti is a cookie from Veneto region made from yellow cornmeal with raisins and pine nuts added. They are usually enjoyed with some sweet sparkling wine. The word zaletti comes from the word gialletti which in Italian means the little yellow things. Zaletti gets its yellow colour from the cornmeal and egg yolks. The recipe that I followed had 2 eggs instead of one. This resulted in a batter that could not be rolled or shaped. So this recipe is more like drop cookies. However, they did turn out crispy and yet melt in them out kind of cookies. The raisins are usually soaked in rum or grappa. I soaked mine in some lemon syrup. These cookies have become one of my favorites, I managed to eat for of them as soon as they were cool enough to be eaten.(talk about discipline and health!)
Makes about 32 cookies
1 large yellow lemon
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp water
½ cup raisins
1 cup plain flour (all purpose flour)
½ cup yellow cornmeal flour
3 tbsp pine nuts
1 tsp baking powder
125g butter, at room temperature
½ cup sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp grated lemon rind or zest
- Grate the rind of the lemon, don’t grate the white part. Save the grated rind till required.
- Squeeze out the juice from the lemon. You should have about 2-3 tbsp.
- Mix water, 1 tbsp sugar and lemon juice. Heat it gently over low flame till the sugar melts.
- Add the raisins to the syrup and let it soak for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 160°C.
- Line a baking tray with some parchment paper.
- Mix both the flours, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
- In another bowl, add butter and sugar. Whisk till it becomes soft and fluffy.
- Add one egg and whisk till the egg is incorporated into the mixture.
- Add the other egg and whisk.
- Add lemon rind and flour mixture. Whisk till its mixed properly.
- Remove excess liquid from the raisins and add to the batter. Add pine nuts too.
- Mix well.
- Take about a tablespoonful of the batter and drop it onto the prepared the tray.
- Make sure you leave some space between the dropped batter.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or till the edges turn light golden brown.
- Remove the tray from the oven. The cookies will appear a bit soft, but will harden on cooling. Leave the cookies on the tray for 5 minutes.
- Remove the cookies from the tray and put them on a wire rack to cool.
- Store in an airtight container.
- Use yellow cornmeal and not the white one.
- Instead of lemon syrup soak the raisins in rum or grappa.
- Dust the cookies with confectioner’s sugar before serving. I didn’t add any because it was too humid and the sugar would melt.
- use a cookie scoop if you have one.
You may want to check out my other Italian bakes:
Sending this recipe to the following event: