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Real Pittsburgh Biscuit Tortoni

The tortoni stands alone


  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup almond macaroon crumbs, made from either homemade, or packaged (amaretti), or a combination*
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 egg whites
  • dash of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp. almond or orange flavored liqueur
  • 3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 12 maraschino cherries

Toast the almonds in a 350 degree oven and set aside to cool.

Place the egg whites in a metal mixing bowl (such as the one that belongs to your stand mixer) and let them come to room temperature, about one hour. Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan. Stir over low heat to dissolve. Boil, uncovered, without stirring, for 5 minutes, until the entire surface is covered with large bubbles.

While the syrup is boiling, put the mixing bowl of whites over the syrup, and whisk until foamy. Beat whites with salt at high speed until stiff peaks form when beater is slowly raised.

Continue beating the whites on high, and carefully pour in the hot sugar syrup a slow stream at the edge of the bowl. Beat constantly until very stiff peaks form when beater is raised. Refrigerate the mixture for at least half an hour.

Whip the cream cream with vanilla and almond extracts, and liquer until quite stiff. Fold chilled meringue into heavy cream, along with the macaroon crumbs, until no streaks remain.

Scoop the mixture into a dozen large muffin cups lined with paper liners. Top with the toasted almonds and a cherry. Freeze for at least 4 hours.

*I recommend the combo of crumbs – the homemade macaroons are chewey and marzipan-y; amaretti are crunchy and more almond-y. I like the recipe on the Odense marzipan site.

Tortoni in muffin pan

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