Calabria is a region of Italy located in the toe of the boot of Italy. It is a region to be discovered and one that as of has been relatively untouched by tourism. I myself have spent very little time there but I look forward to going and exploring, mostly because some of the most wonderful Italo-Americans I know came from that region. Most specifically my dear colleague Rose with whom I worked for years at Trinity College. Rose came to America when she married Frank who was also from Calabria but who had emigrated to the US many years before Rose. They made their own wine, their own sausage and Rose is a master baker who would put anyone on the Food Network to shame. She always sent me home for Christmas break with a platter of struffoli - fried dough balls covered in honey and sprinkles - because I pronounced them my favorite at one of our gatherings. But I bet she would make a mean version of these little tartlets. Buttery pastry flavored with lemon zest is filled with ground almonds and chocolate. I am nowhere near as talented as Rose in the kitchen but these still came out pretty well. A smaller tartlet form works best - these should be two bite little treats. Enjoy!
Bocconotti Calabresi (from Cooking with Rosetta)
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch kosher salt
4 ounces unsalted butter, chilled, cut into tablespoon-size pieces
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup almonds, about 3 ounces
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 ounces dark chocolate
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of ground cloves
2 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Make the dough: Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a food processor. Pulse several times to blend. Add the butter and pulse four to five times, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, egg yolk, and lemon zest. With the food processor running, add the egg mixture through the feed tube. Process just until the dough begins to come together.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it gently, just until it comes together into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours. If refrigerated for more than 1 hour, you will need to soften the dough slightly by removing it from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you plan to use it.
Preheat the oven to 375° F
Make the filling: Place all the dry ingredients in a food processor and grind them until you have a fine powder. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold in the dry ingredients in the egg whites, about ¼ at a time. When all the dried ingredients are folded in the egg whites, add the vanilla and stir.
Take a small amount of dough, about the size of a ping pong ball, and using your fingers press it into the tartlet mold up against the edges. Trim excess dough. When all the tartlets are done, place a heaped tablespoon of filling in each tartlet. Place all the filled tartlets on top a cookie sheet and bake at 375F for 15 to 18 minutes until the dough is lightly colored.
Cool on a rack. When cool remove the bocconotti from the tartlet forms. Dust with powder sugar.