Stop to Savour Italian Currant Cornmeal Cookies called Zaleti

Stop to Savour Italian Currant Cornmeal Cookies Called Zaleti
Italian zaleti - a currant cornmeal cookie that's not too sweet and beautifully flavoured with lemon zest.
In the spring of 1998 my mom gave me the excellent cookbook called “Baking with Julia”, a compilation of recipes from a cooking show hosted by Julia Child. On the show top pastry chefs, bakers, teachers and cookbook authors visited Julia in her kitchen to demonstrate how to make his or her signature creation.
Stop to Savour Italian Currant Cornmeal Cookies Called Zaleti

I have made all sorts of special recipes out of that book over the years but none more than these little Italian currant cornmeal cookies, called zaleti.

Not too sweet and beautifully flavoured with lemon zest they are somewhere in between a cornmeal biscuit and a cookie.
Stop to Savour Italian Currant Cornmeal Cookies Called Zaleti
 
I bake two batches every December: one with the recipe below and a second using the zest from a Meyer lemon paired with dried cranberries in place of the currants. Both versions are excellent and I savour the holiday leftovers throughout January.

Currant Cornmeal cookies - Zaleti

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup cold butter
  • 1 cup currants
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
 
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a large bowl combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in cold butter.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together the egg, egg yolk, lemon zest and vanilla.
  4. Add the egg mixture to the dry mixture and stir to combine. Mixture will seem very dry but if you work it with your hands you’ll see how it comes together.
  5. Press dough into a ball, cut into four equal pieces. Form each piece into a 12” log. Flatten slightly and cut into 8-10 pieces, cutting on the diagonal so you have a diamond-shaped cookie.
  6. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden on the edges.

Green Tip:

  • If you like to use lemon zest in your cooking look for organic lemons. If you can't find organic be sure to scrub the skin well with a vegetable brush and non-toxic dish soap before zesting.

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