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Today I would like to tell you about the Jewish holiday of Purim, which we will celebrate next weekend, and about a typical recipe for this holiday: montini, literally little mountains, but in other words, delicious almond mounds.
Purim is a very joyful holiday in which we remember one of the many times when some villains, in this case a minister named Haman under the reign of Xerxes, in 450 BC, tried to take out the Jewish people without success (I go into more detail about this on the Labna page dedicated to Purim).
This holiday is characterized by joy and merrymaking; we eat, drink, party in the streets, and allow children to dress up, similarly to Carnival. One of the traditions of Purim, among other things, is to gift friends with a package of sweets, called mishloach manot.
Every year, I look forward to adding a new recipe to those I prepare for my ownmishloach manot, and this year I chose the montini, almond mounds treats from the typical Jewish cuisine of Trieste, in the North of Italy.
My boyfriend, whose family partly originates from Trieste, asked me for some time to try to prepare these sweets but, until a few days ago, I had not dared to try; there were many versions of this recipe (some with eggs, others without, some with hot sugar, some with cold), and I was terrified of making mistakes.
Then fortunately, my boyfriend’s sister Anna came to my rescue, sharing her recipe for montini: easy, quick, and perfect, of course.
- 600 g of ground almonds or almond flour
- 400 g of sugar
- 2 eggs
- ½ shot glass of liqueur (brandy, cognac or similar)
- First, pour the almond flour into a large bowl. If you have chopped the almonds at home, let the almond flour thus obtained dry at room temperature for a few minutes; if, instead, you have chosen to use ready-made almond flour, proceed with the next step.
- Knead the almond flour with the eggs, sugar, and liqueur, until the mixture is moist and malleable.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Technically speaking, you could forgo baking montini, however, I recommend baking them for a short time to be on safe side, since they contain eggs.
- Form as many small balls, as the almond dough will allow, pressing them to create a mounded, little mountain shape. At this stage, if you prefer, you can add cocoa or colour them with food dyes. If you like, you can even roll each little mound in sugar.
- Cook the mounds in a preheated oven for 7-10 minutes; they should form a thin crust on the surface, but remain soft inside.
- Gently remove the mounds from the baking tray with the help of a silicone spatula and store them in a tin box.