SWEET “PASTRY BEANS” A LA ROMANA (Fave dolci romane)
updated from original by Countess Morphy (Good Food from Italy)
These fave dolci, or fave dei morti as they are also called, are one of the traditional sweets made for All Souls’ Day.
Have ready ¼ lb / 110 g of lump sugar, and l lb /450 g of almonds, not skinned. Pound a few almonds only at a time in a mortar, till reduced to a powder, with a little of the lump sugar. As soon as the first lot is done, rub through a wire sieve, and any bits of the mixture which cannot go through the sieve should be put back in the mortar and again pounded. When all the almonds and sugar have been pounded and sieved, put the mixture on a pastry-board and work with 2 tablespoons of flour, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, a piece of butter the size of a nut, 1 whole egg, and a little lemon-peel. It would seem almost impossible to make these ingredients into a paste without the addition of water, but by working well the paste becomes quite firm and smooth, and on no account should any water be added.
When done, roll out into a long thin cylinder, and divide this into small bits, the size of a small nut, and shape them to resemble a broad bean. Put them on a buttered and floured baking-tin, and place in a moderate oven (325 -350F / 170 – 180 C / Gas Mark 3 -4) for about 20 minutes, till of a light golden colour. When done, put them on a wire tray to dry – they are apt to be soft when taken out of the oven, but become crisp when cold. The quantities given here will make about 50 fave dolci.