Salt, Pepper and a Dollop of Cream

One Woman's Journey through Her Cookbooks

Richard Bertinet’s Italian Biscuits – Heaven on a Plate

I had promised myself something sweet this weekend.  I don’t know what it is but maybe I’m feeling in need of a sugar burst!

A little while ago, I treated myself to Pastry by Richard Bertinet (Ebury) having fallen in love with the millefeuille on the cover that just oozes crème patissière. This is a lovely book filled with accessible recipes that I think anyone can cook from the amateur {i.e. me!} to the more advanced cook, and which will please and satisfy all.

There’s a lovely mix of sweet and savoury recipes, from churros, prune and rum tarts, rhubarb and white currant tarts to onion tartlets, pumpkin and ricotta tarts, and duck pie.  The book starts off with an explanation of the basic pastries – salted, sweet, puff and choux followed by chapters of recipes for each type.  Now some of you know, my pastry skills need SERIOUS HONING and I was delighted to find photographs of each stage in the pastry making process so now I know what mine should look like.  Thank you Mr. Bertinet!

I’d picked out two recipes based on what’s in my larder – an apricot tart and Italian biscuits.  These little biscuits are reminiscent of amaretti with their strong almond flavour but the addition of a filling provides a lovely moist finish that amaretti lack.   I filled half of mine with apricot jam and the other half with plum.  I sat on the floor in front of my oven diligently watching the biscuits bake.  And to my delight, they looked SO CLOSE to the photos in Richard’s book!  Now believe me, that doesn’t happen often so YES, those are my biscuits in the photo!

Simple to make from a few ingredients, there is an added bonus as the biscuits are gluten free so these are ideal for anyone on a coeliac diet – like my dad.  These biscuits are a joy to make and so delicious to eat that I will be making them over and over again.  One thing I learnt for next time  is to make a deeper impression in the dough and fill it with lots more jam!

And it is with much delight that I can reproduce the recipe for you below by kind permission.  Enjoy!

Makes about 36-40

300g icing sugar, plus a little extra for rolling out
300g ground almonds
2 tsp honey
3 egg whites
Butter or baking spray, for greasing the baking trays
Leftover apricot jam, crème patissière or flaked almonds to finish


Mix the icing sugar and ground almonds together.  Add the honey and egg whites and mix until you have a smooth, firm dough.  Leave to rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the over to 150oC/Gas 2 and lightly grease two baking trays.

Divide the dough into four equal pieces.  Dust a work surface with icing sugar and roll each piece of dough into a rough sausage shape.  Slice each sausage into 8-10 equal pieces.

Lay these rounds of dough on the prepared baking trays, then gently press your thumb into the centre of each so that it leaves an indent.  Fill the indents with a little jam, crème patissière or flaked almonds.  Bake for around 15 minutes.

To test that the biscuits are ready, take the trays out of the oven and tap them lightly on a work surface.  The biscuits should release themselves from the trays.  Leave to cool.

If you would like to purchase a copy of this beautiful book for yourself , please click here.


5 comments on “Richard Bertinet’s Italian Biscuits – Heaven on a Plate

  1. Sam
    February 24, 2013

    These look beautiful!

  2. laurasmess
    July 24, 2013

    Oh, I know exactly what you mean about the difficulty of getting ‘your version’ of a baked treat to look just like the book’s photograph! These biscuits look wonderful though, so it’s no surprise that they’re close to Bertinets! I love Italian biscuits. I used to visit some elderly Italian people for work and they’d always make me a batch of biscotti or other yummies. I felt so spoilt! xx

  3. Carrie
    December 17, 2013

    When I tried this the cookies spread widely. they are delicious but don’t look good. Maybe too much liquid?

    • Hi Carrie,

      It could be too much liquid, it could be the oven temperature, it could be that they needed more beating. The dough should be firm but chilling it is absolutely essential. I would chill the biscuits again once formed and filled before baking to make sure they hold their shape. Try again and let me know if that helps.

      Regards, Paula

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