Let me be clear, I don’t give a flying fuck if Marie Antoinette said brioche, chelsea buns or if she said bugger all…I’m saying it now…”let them eat cake”. In particular, let them eat this cake. Amaretti biscuits have always been a favourite of mine. If memory serves me well, which caveat is close to an oxymoron, my first encounter with an Amaretti was pyrotechnic rather than gastronomic. There was a time in my life when lunchtime extended from the middle of the day to the end of it and involved very little eating. At some point in the drinking a tired and desperate owner/waiter/manager would bring coffee to the table in the hope that, in some sort of catering Esperanto, we would understand that this signified the end of the meal. What we understood was that the arrival of coffee merely signified a change from the vinified to the distilled. Amaretti biscuits were often delivered with the coffee and, as eating them was of no interest whatsoever, I became very taken with their delicate tissue paper wrappers and even more taken by them when I was shown that, when ignited with a match, they rose majestically from the table like blazing Montgolfiers. It was at a much later period in my life, after I had been shown the apparently more accepted and certainly less tiring version of lunch, that I was to become as infatuated with their flavour and crumbling texture as I had once been with the incandescence of their wrapping. But the story was to take another serpentine twist: we moved to the depths of the French countryside where there were no Amaretti to be had, not even for ready money. The Amaretti free years slowly passed until suddenly, this summer, a bag of them appeared, as if by magic, in the kitchen: the magic of Ryan Air had brought them to me in my thoughtful wife’s luggage. I was envisaging our intimate dinners in the dark winter evenings ahead illuminated by floating Amaretti fireballs when I noticed my Amaretti were naked…not a stitch of tissue paper between them.My upper lip stiffened and I resigned myself to memories. Suffice it to say that soon after this disappointment and just before all the biscuits were eaten I saw this very good recipe for a cake with Amaretti biscuits and raspberries which, as cake goes, is a pretty good combination, and so it proved to be.
About Food,Photography & FrancePhotographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
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