Almond paste embodies the authentic essence of Southern Italian cuisine, representing a true gastronomic jewel that has deep roots in Sicily, Calabria, Puglia (especially in Salento), Campania, Lazio and Sardinia. This delicious ingredient is the beating heart of numerous traditional desserts, each of which brings with it a rich culinary history passed down from generation to generation. In each region it stands out for its versatility and its ability to impart a unique and enveloping flavor to every culinary creation, transforming every dessert into an unforgettable sensory experience.
Almond paste, origins and history
The origin of this delicacy is shrouded in mystery. It is believed that the Arabs, in the 6th century, introduced the practice of preparing foods based on cane sugar to Sicily, spices and dried fruit, combining sugar and ground almonds to create the first version of this delicacy.
The most accredited story, however, dates back to the year 1100, in Martorana convent in Palermo, where the famous was born martorana fruit, almond paste sweets that perfectly imitate fruits.
In Sicily, in fact, it is a true symbol of gastronomic excellence and is used in many desserts. In Calabria, however, it is an integral part of the religious holidays, celebrated with the famous "morticeddi", sweets carefully prepared for the Feast of the Dead.
Puglia, with its Salento, is land of confectionery art and sees almond paste as the undisputed protagonist of its typical dishes, such as fish and almond lamb, essential delicacies during the Christmas and Easter holidays.
Even Campania, with its rich culinary tradition, cannot help but exalt the virtues of this ingredient, using it in famous desserts such as the famous amaretti.
Finally, in Lazio and Sardinia, almond paste fits harmoniously into the varied palette of traditional desserts.
How to prepare it
Almond paste embodies an ancient and fascinating culinary art, made with simple but precious ingredients: shelled almonds, sugar and water. The process begins by immersing the almonds in hot water and then being peeled and blended until a fine, fragrant powder is obtained.
This powder is then combined with sugar dissolved in water, creating a soft and mouldable mixture, ready to be transformed into delicious desserts confectionery creations.
After a cooling period which allows the flavor to fully develop, the almond paste is transformed into a work of culinary art, ready to enrich tables and special moments with its delicacy and its irresistible taste.
This delicacy is not just a delight for the palate. Almond paste is a tangible symbol of the gastronomic culture of Southern Italy, rich in traditions and passion for good food. With its versatility and timeless charm, almond paste continues to win the hearts of sweets and pastry enthusiasts of all ages, passing on a culinary heritage of inestimable value across generations.