Red crown biscuits

Red crown biscuits

Corolli rossi

By
From
Acquacotta
Serves
36 biscuits
Photographer
Emiko Davies; Lauren Bamford

These pretty pink cookies are made in the local bakery at Porto Ercole. When my temperamental oven was short-circuiting the apartment, I’d buy these to have on hand for serving with coffee to visiting friends. Soft and crumbly and smelling of spices, they’re always a hit. Traditionally made with lard and lots of eggs, and perfumed with citrus zest, the special ingredient – that bright pink pop of colour – comes from Alchermes, a Florentine liqueur.

The name corollo comes from the Latin coronula, which refers to a crown of flowers. These little crowns are also the name of a similar, ancient Sienese pastry, which had the distinct fragrance of aniseed. It was common for corolli or other similar, ring-shaped biscuits, to be strung up with a piece of string and hung like an edible garland across the counter, tempting customers to pluck them off to have with their coffee.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
400g plain flour
200g sugar
1 lemon, zested
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 eggs, beaten
60g melted butter

Topping

Quantity Ingredient
125g alchermes
200g sugar

Method

  1. Combine the flour, sugar, lemon zest and baking powder in a large bowl. Add the eggs and (cooled) melted butter and mix to make a firm dough. If you find it’s a little crumbly, add a splash of the Alchermes (or some water).
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line 1–2 baking trays with baking paper, depending on size.
  3. Take 1 tablespoon of dough and roll into a log about 14 cm long. Bring the ends to meet and, overlapping slightly, press gently together to seal the ring. Continue making rings until you have used all the dough.
  4. Put them on the baking tray (or trays) about 4–5 cm apart from each other (they will puff and rise) and bake for 20 minutes, or until they are puffed and pale golden. Remove from the oven and let them cool on a wire rack.
  5. Pour the Alchermes in a small, shallow bowl. Put about a quarter of the sugar in another small, shallow bowl. Dip each cooled corollo face down first in the Alchermes (just halfway), then directly into the sugar. (The drips of liqueur will create an even finish on the cookies.) Place them on a tray to dry. As the sugar gets used up, top with fresh sugar.
  6. These will keep several weeks when stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.
Tags:
Italian
Tuscany
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