Grana Padano ‘Baci di dama’ biscuits

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Grana Padano ‘Baci di dama’ biscuits
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Details

. Difficulty: Hard . Serves: 4 people . Preparation time: 30 minutes
I love Baci di Dama, they are an iconic recipe from Piedmont, the region of incredible hazelnuts. A few years back ,when I tried to explain to our guests what “dame’s kisses” were people would raise their eyebrow at me (understandably, it is a strange name) so I would simply justified myself by saying that they are the Italian answer to French macaroons. Luckily, things have changed, and more and more people are accustomed to these tasteful biscuits, so much so that I could not resist to create a savory cheesy version using Grana Padano PDO, the iconic cheese from Northern Italy.
Full of umami flavour these tasty bites are the perfect accompaniment for your in-house aperitif with a glass a bubbly Prosecco DOC, for example.

 

Ingredients

For the dough
35 g of grated Grana Padano
50 g of 00 flour
50 g of ground almond
50 g of softened unsalted butter
15 ml of whole milk
Salt and pepper to taste

For the Grana Padano filling 
150 g of ricotta (or cream cheese)
50 g of grated Grana Padano
20 g of chopped pistachios (or your favourite nuts)
Chopped herbs optional
Salt and pepper to taste
 

Preparation

To make the pastry, sieve the flour and knead all the ingredients well until smooth. Wrap the pastry in cling film and let it rest for 30 minutes in the fridge.
Now, with your hands prepare small balls of around 5g each (2 or max. 3 cm in diameter) and place them as you go on a parchment-lined baking tray. Meanwhile heat the oven at 180 degrees.
Bake the Grana Padano biscuits for about 7/8 minutes, until evenly golden. Let them cool and prepare the filling. 
In a mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese (or ricotta) with the finely grated Grana Padano. If the mixture results too dry, add just a touch of double cream to it (for extra fluffiness use whipped cream). Season to taste and, if you like, add chopped herbs like chives or dill to the mixture. Place the cheese mixture into a pastry bag and start placing abundant dots of filling over half of the baci di dama. Now top each of these with the other halves and gently press together (they will look like 2 lips kissing, hence the funny name). Use the slight excess of filling that goes over the edge of the baci di dama to stick the chopped pistachio on them by rolling them gently into them. Place them onto a bowl and your Grana Padano baci di dama are ready to be enjoyed.

Chef’s tip: "Prepare the cookies in advance and store them in an airtight container. Fill them with the cream cheese only before serving."
Danilo Cortellini
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