Prep Time: 15 minutes + time to prepare the almonds
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Keywords: bake dessert gluten-free vegetarian almonds egg white sugar Christmas Italian
Ingredients (Serves 16)
- 10.5 ounces / 300 g prepared almonds (see below for details)
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons / 125 g [vanilla] sugar, possibly ultrafine (otherwise, granulated), divided
- 1/4 teaspoon grated zest from an organic lemon
- 2 large egg whites, possibly from pastured poultry
- 1/2 teaspoon vaniglia extract, if you did not use vanilla sugar
- 2 coffee beans and some halved almonds for the decoration
InstructionsHow to prepare the almonds
Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Toss almonds into the boiling water. After one minute, take the pot off the heat, drain the almonds in a colander, then cool them under some cold water.
Twist each almond between your fingers to free detach the skin, then gently squeeze to make the almond pop out. Repeat until all the almonds are peeled.
In the meantime, preheat the oven to 300 F / 150 C. Spread the almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper and place in the oven until they are dry. Take them out of the oven and let them cool completely before using.
Weigh the almonds for use in the recipe once they are cool.How to prepare the torciglione
Preheat the oven to 350 F / 177 C.
Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
Finely chop the almonds in the food processor fitted with a steel blade, together with a couple of tablespoons of the sugar and the lemon zest. Do not pulverize the almonds: the granules give a nice varied texture to the final product.
Place almonds in a bowl, add the remaining sugar and stir. Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form and gently fold them and the vanilla extract in the almond mix, which becomes wet and sticky. I suggest you wet your hands before manipulating it in the next step.
Transfer on the lined baking sheet and shape into a slightly coiled snake. Press well to eliminate any empty space inside the dough.
Decorate as you like. This is the fun part. In my version, coffee beans become the snake's eyes and an almond half becomes its tongue, impertinently sticking out of its mouth. I use a spatula to make short slits on both sides and finally align some halved almonds along the middle of the tail end of my torciglione.
Bake until golden. Check after 25 minutes and gauge the remaining baking time. In my oven it takes 30 minutes. Without moving it from the baking mat or parchment paper, transfer the torciglione to a rack to cool. Let it cool thoroughly before slicing.