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Biscotti con le uova

The name Biscotti con le uova translates to "Egg Biscuits", but "Big Egg Taralli" would be closer in meaning. The biscuits on this page were made in Geneva by Angelo's mother Maria, who grew up in Gambatesa, Molise.

A 'Biscotto con le uova' of Gambatesa, 35 KB

The parents of Vittoria Valente were immigrants from Gambatesa, and she herself grew up in the former Italian colony in Camden, New Jersey; as soon as she saw these biscotti con le uova she said that they looked the way she remembered them from over sixty years ago. Angelo's mother said this was because she had learned to make them from her own grandmother in Gambatesa. The moment Vittoria tasted these biscuits she said: "These taste just the way I remembered them. Delicious."

Recipe Ingredients and Notes

This recipe will make about 13 Biscotti con le uova, about 2 biscotti for each egg used.

Optional: add the grated rind (yellow only) of 1/2 "medium" lemon that has not been treated with pesticides (or before grating the lemon, scrub it with baking soda and water to clean it). In Gambatesa they do not use lemon for this recipe, but Maria adds it for flavor. She also uses sunflower seed oil instead of olive oil.

The method is similar to the method for making the taralli of Gambatesa. As soon as the biscotti rise to the top (It takes about 1 minute), take them out of the boiling water. Cool them a bit (to room temperature) on a dishcloth to drain off the moisture. The oven should be at 250° C; use a shelf in the bottom third of the oven. But as soon as the biscotti inflate, lower the temperature to 220° and move them to an upper shelf so that their bottoms do not burn. Take them from the oven when they look the same color as in the photographs; this takes about 15 minutes. This is how step-by-step these biscotti are made.

The inside of a 'Biscotto con le uova', 25 KB

Biscotti con le uova in Gambatesa

In Gambatesa these biscuits are in the old dialect called Vescot' ca l'ov' and they are boiled and baked like a big tarallo would be, but their finished shape is not so perfect as taralli of Gambatesa are. Also, unlike taralli, these egg biscuits are thoroughly crisp.

In Gambatesa when Angelo was a child he was given a biscotto con le uova for breakfast. He would break it up and drop it into his warm milk, one piece at a time just for a moment until it softened. But he did not like it because it had no taste and it was very dry inside.

Filomena Iacovelli's memory of the recipe from the Italian colony in Camden, New Jersey, is correct, although Angelo's mother does not use salt in this recipe.

Angelo's mother makes taralli 2 or 3 times a year, but she had not made the "big tarallo" in the photographs for many years. She did not have the time because it takes much more time to make these biscuits than it does to make taralli.

A biscotto con le uova is quite large: 5 to 5-1/2 inches across [12.5 - 13.5 cm] and about 1-1/4 inches high [3 cm]. Also, because these biscuits are so large, before you drop them into the boiling water, you must visually divide the biscotto ("biscuit") into three sections and cut 3 times to get the slash all the way around the middle of the dough because the distance is too big for only one slash; Maria uses a single-edged razor blade to make this cut.

'Biscotti con le uova' of Gambatesa, 36 KB

The small biscotti in the photograph are the cantucci of Gambatesa.

In Gambatesa people always have a basket filled with taralli on the table, and inside among the taralli there will be a couple of these big biscuits as well. "Taralli used to be the only pâtisserie ("pastry") in Gambatesa. It used to be the biscuit for poor people."

The URL of this Web page: https://www.roangelo.net/valente/biscuova.html
Last revised: 5 July 2006 : 2006-07-05 by Robert [Wesley] Angelo.

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