Honeyed Biscuit and Almond Clusters
This Sephardic confection consists of clusters of little biscuits cooked in a honey syrup and scattered with toasted almonds. Pinyonate makes a spectacular presentation arranged on fresh, vivid green lemon leaves on a platter.
This unusual sweet treat appears at festive tables and traditionally for the celebratory Bridal Shower - Banyo de novia.
1 tbsp oil
21⁄2 - 3 cups cake flour
For the syrup:
1 cup honey
1 cup sugar
3 cups water
For the topping:
1⁄2 cup blanched almonds, toasted
fresh lemon leaves
Beat the eggs and oil well in the bowl of an electric mixer. Gradually add the flour to make a soft, smooth dough.
Divide the dough into six pieces. Roll each piece into a long rope about 1cm (1⁄3in) in diameter. Cut into 1.25cm (1⁄2in) pieces with a sharp knife and place on a clean tea towel sprinkled with a little flour until all the pastry has been used.
Put the honey, sugar and water in a large heavy-based pan and bring to a rolling boil.
Drop the pinyonate into the syrup a few at a time to prevent the temperature dropping. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 25 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally to prevent the pinyonate sticking to each other. Do not remove the cover during this stage. If the syrup boils over reduce the heat to the lowest setting.
Remove the lid and turn the biscuits gently with a wooden spoon to bring the pinyonate at the bottom of the pan up to the top. Replace the lid and continue to simmer for a further 30 minutes. Then remove from the heat, pour 1⁄2 cup of cold water into the syrup and toss in the toasted almonds.
When the pinyonate cools store in a wide-mouth glass container with an airtight lid. To serve, carefully break the sticky pinyonate into clusters and place on fresh lemon leaves. Arrange on a large platter and serve.