March 15, 2012 by Johanna Burani
The Easter meal is a grand event all over Italy. The different regions prepare their local traditional recipes – all delicious. When it comes to dessert, however, there is a standard commonality. All over the country, a “Colomba” cake is served to herald the last of the several Easter meal courses. “Colomba” means “dove” in Italian, the shape of this butter cake. To accompany our Colomba, I often serve these delicately glazed almonds. Sometimes they disappear before the Colomba!
- 2 cups (10 oz) blanched, roasted almonds
- 3.5 oz 90 % cocoa dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
- 3 oz semi-sweet morsels
- pinch salt
- ⅓ cup freshly brewed espresso coffee (regular or decaf)
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp Grand Marnier or Cointreau orange liqueur (optional)
- To blanch almonds: Place almonds in a medium sauce pan, cover with water and boil 2-3 minutes. Drain. When cooled, slip off the outer layer and pat the almonds dry.
- To roast almonds: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange almonds in a single layer in a jelly roll pan. Toast for 15-20 minutes. Cool before using.
- If an espresso machine or coffee maker is not available, use instant espresso coffee granules and follow instructions on the jar.
- Place the almonds in a single layer on parchment paper to form a 13” x 6” rectangle.
- In a small double boiler, mix the chocolates and gently melt, using a small spatula to blend. Add the pinch of salt and mix.
- Brew the coffee and immediately add to the chocolate mixture. When well blended, add the butter, allow to melt. Stir to blend thoroughly. If using, add the liqueur and mix well.
- Carefully pour a thin layer of the mixture evenly over the almonds. Allow to air dry overnight or refrigerate for at least 2 hours before cutting into pieces.