contact us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

966 West Campus Lane
Goleta, CA 93117
USA

916 217 0935

Bringing you the flavors of Puglia through imported foods and olive oil, & exclusive getaways.

Puglia is a magical place. As the "heel" of Italy's boot,  a peninsula within a peninsula, it is a place where travelers must choose to go. Off the beaten path, trains traversing Italy North to South end their journey here, even the last cobblestones of the ancient Roman Via Appia are laid here.

Thick olive groves, rocky soils, and sea waters on three sides have created a land of unique culture, language, and history. Puglia harbors Italy's best olive oil, ancient vineyards, and some of the best culinary traditions Italy has to offer.  Italians are well acquainted with this "secret", but outside travelers rarely journey to this southern corner of Italy.

We are two sisters with family roots in Puglia. Our mother was born here and so was her mother and her mother. Our family's roots in Puglia are as deep as those of the centuries old olive trees. We have come to appreciate the many gifts Puglia has to offer - from food and wine to its ancient customs. Our mission is to share these with you, to bring you into the fold of Pugliese hospitality so that you too may experience the treasures of this ancient land.

 

 

 

Le Sorelle Blog

Easy Almond Cookies : Paste di Mandorla

Beans

These past few days, our seaside town in California has been enveloped in cooler weather. Autumn has officially settled itself comfortably in our part of the world. Days are getting shorter in Puglia as well, and it is time to flaunt fashionable  warm coats and footwear. With the holidays approaching here in the States, our sweet tooth is ready to be satisfied. In our opinion, almonds offer the perfect balance of fragrant, nutty flavors and crunchy gratification. They are also a popular staple for making sweets in Puglia.


If you've been invited to Sunday pranzo (lunch - but think bountiful and leisurely), then it is almost obligatory that you first stop at a pasticceria and pick up at least a dozen miniature pastries to bring to your host. Below you'll find a quick and easy recipe for the most classic of sweets - paste di mandorla, small almond paste cookies.

I was inspired by the generous number of almond products we can find at our local farmers market. I made my own almond flour by grinding blanched almond slivers in my blender. You could do the same, or buy almond flower at your local grocery store.

We modified the recipe by making it a little bit naughty - we added a splash of rum to give it that je ne sais quoi warmth and yumminess. If you want to be even more naughty serve these with a deep red wine like primitivo or your favorite port. Otherwise enjoy with milk or tea!

This recipe yields about a dozen cookies.

Prep time: 5 - 10 min.
Cooking time: 20min
Total: 30 minutes

Ingredients

1 c. almond flour (almond flours/meals vary - you may need to add more to make your mix less goopy and more solid).
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1 egg
zest of half a lemon
1/4 tsp. vanilla
splash of rum
whole almonds or candied orange peel for topping

Start with the almond flour in a bowl:

Add all the remaining ingredients (except for the whole almonds or candied orange peels) and mix well. I used my hands - the dough is a bit too thick for a utensil and probably not worth getting any sort of appliance dirty. Note the use of lemon zest - this is typical in many Italian pastries. The lemon gives these cookies a lively bouquet.

Your dough should look something like this:


Make one inch balls and put them on a non-stick cookie sheet or on one covered in parchment paper. Press one whole almond or candied peel onto the top of each little ball of dough like this:






Bake at 350 degrees F. for about 20 minutes or until they just start to turn golden on top.


Here is our finished product!

Yum, yum; or as the Italians say gnam-gnam!

Italian cooking is far from precise. Mosts recipes are passed down from generation to generation simply by showing what's done and having a gut feeling for how much of this or that. We welcome any variations on this recipe.

Let us know how yours turned out and any creative twists you may have taken!