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I prepared these rustic cornmeal biscuits yesterday afternoon when I had just come back from Cuneo, where this weekend Manuel and I were at the “Writers in the City” festival, for a Jewish cuisine cooking show.
The cooking course was an excellent opportunity to meet many readers of Labna, but also to visit the city of Cuneo and discover its historical pastry shops, full of local, very characteristic products such as the cuneesi, the mustaccioli, the Cherasco kisses, and the meliga cornmeal cookies.
Overtaken by the excitement of the local sweets, on the way back, at the Alba market I purchased corn flour to make the meliga cornmeal cookies. Unfortunately, I did not find the medium grain “fioretto” corn flour required by the traditional recipe, thus I settled for a coarser-grained corn flour, with which I prepared some delicious Italian cornmeal cookies, similar to the traditional meliga treats but more rustic and peasant-style.
Rustic Italian cornmeal cookies
- 125 g of cornmeal (it should be the fioretto type, but I have used an ancient type, very coarse variety which is called pignoletto type, but I have used an ancient type, very coarse variety which is called
- 250 g of 00 flour
- 125 grams of sugar
- 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
- 250 g of butter
- a little grated lemon peel
- seeds from 1/2 a vanilla bean or a few drops of vanilla extract
- Put the corn flour, the 00 flour, and the granulated sugar in a bowl.
- Sifting the flour should ensure a more uniform result, but I believe this step is completely optional; on the other hand, if like me you cannot find very fine corn flour, mix both flours and the sugar in the blender for two minutes, in order to obtain a finer flour.
- With a wooden spoon, mix the flours and the softened butter well, then add the vanilla, the eggs, and the lemon zest. You should obtain a creamy and smooth dough.
- Transfer the dough into a pastry bag; separately, preheat the oven to 180 degrees and cover a baking sheet with baking paper.
- Squeeze the dough onto the pan with the pastry bag, forming small rings. If, like me, you do not have a pastry bag on hand, make balls of dough and poke the center with the help of a teaspoon.
- Keep in mind that while cooking, the cornmeal cookies in will spread a little. It is best not to make your shapes too chunky, and make a wide the hole in the center.
- Bake the cornmeal cookies at 180° for about 15 minutes, until they are dry, nice and golden.
- Take the cornmeal cookies out of the oven by helping with a flat scoop or skimmer and place them on a wire rack to cool them, then transfer them to a tin box for best storage.
P.S.: if you prepare these cookies, treat yourselves and also make zabaione eggnog to dunk them in: I highly recommend it!