Calissons: The Prized Delicacy of Aix-en-Provence

The diamond-shaped delicacy with a hint of bitterness, the Calisson is undoubtedly the star of Aix-en Provence. Delighting Queen Jeanne at her marriage to King René in 1454, this delicate confectionary was compared to a "caress" or “calin”, and thus inherited a name on a par with its gourmet taste.
By Mélissa Darré

Serves 4
Preparation time: 35 minutes
Leave to rest overnight
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Cost €

Ingredients: 200g ground almonds • 300g icing sugar • 1 tbsp. orange flower water • 200g candied melon • 50g candied orange • 2 drops of almond extract • 1 egg white • Sheets of rice paper

1. Finely chop the candied orange and melon then put them in the blender. Add the almond powder, orange flower water and almond extract and blend to a fine and homogeneous paste.

2. Put 150g icing sugar in to a pan with a base of water, then bring to the boil until it melts to a syrup. Add the syrup to the batter and mix until incorporated.

3. Spread a sheet of rice paper on your work surface and place a square frame on top. Pour in the preparation and smooth using a damp rolling pin. Let stand overnight in a cool dry place.

4. The next day, prepare the "royal icing" by beating egg whites and the remaining 150g of icing sugar with a whisk, until you obtain a soft and fluid mixture. Pour it over the Calisson pastry, smoothing with a spatula, and leave to dry for at least an hour.

5. Cut the Calissons in diamond shapes with a cookie cutter, wetting it regularly to cut cleanly through the sticky dough. Place the Calissons on a baking sheet and bake them in the oven at 130°C for 5 minutes to set the frosting without coloring it.

6. Allow to cool and serve.

Tips:
1. In step 5, if you do not have cookie cutter, use a sharp knife and cut diamonds about 2cm wide x 4cm.
2. Your Calissons can be stored for up to one month, provided they are kept in a cool and dry place, preferably in an airtight container.

Calissons: The Prized Delicacy of Aix-en-Provence
Calissons: The Prized Delicacy of Aix-en-Provence
Add the syrup to the batter and mix until incorporated
Photography: José Nicolas
Calissons: The Prized Delicacy of Aix-en-Provence
Calissons: The Prized Delicacy of Aix-en-Provence
Spread a sheet of rice paper on your work surface and place a square frame on top
Photography: José Nicolas
Calissons: The Prized Delicacy of Aix-en-Provence
Calissons: The Prized Delicacy of Aix-en-Provence
Cut the Calissons in diamond shapes with a cookie cutter
Photography: José Nicolas
Calissons: The Prized Delicacy of Aix-en-Provence
Calissons: The Prized Delicacy of Aix-en-Provence
The diamond-shaped delicacy with a hint of bitterness, the Calisson is undoubtedly the star of Aix-en Provence
© Fotolia - Picture News

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