01 Apr “Sweet Lamb” Easter cake – cooking “Agnelletto” Macerata’s way!
If you are an animal lover (or just a cake lover!)
If you are looking for a traditional Easter’s dessert (or just for a dessert!)
this “Sweet lamb” cake, known in central Italy as “Agnelletto”, is the perfect end for a spring lunch or the best (and funniest) alternative to lamb meat (it’s sweet and it doesn’t hurt anyone!).
We checked the recipe in our master-chef-book: Tina’s! You already met her during our Limoncini cooking-session. There are several versions of “sweet lamb”, here we present the one made in a town in Macerata hills, Loro Piceno. Such a tiny village that you can’t keep a secret…that’s the reason why they all cook Agnelletto almost the same way!
The recipe is not difficult, you only need tons (really tons!) of ingredients and a little bit of creativity for making the lamb shape (or you can ask uncle Google and download it! Here’s one.).
For the dough:
400 g flour, 150 g butter, 1 egg, 2 yolks, 150 g sugar
For the filling:
100 g amaretti (or other almond biscuits), 200 g almonds, 2 yolks, 150 g sugar, 100 g candied fruit*, 100 g dark chocolate, 100 g raisins*, 2 cups of coffee, 2/3 little spoons of rhum, 1 lemon peel, vanilla extract, 2/3 little spoons of cinnamon.
*if you do not like them or you can’t find them, you can choose not to put them and add more almonds or chocolate.
For the icing:
2 eggs’ whites, 200 g powdered sugar, a pinch of salt.
We start from the dough: knead flour and warm (not melted) butter, then add the egg, 2 yolks and sugar. Knead till it becomes homogeneous and let it rest while you prepare the filling.
Take a big bowl and put inside crunched amaretti (or almond biscuits), minced almonds, minced dark chocolate, candied fruit, raisin, sugar, 2 yolks, coffee, 2/3 little spoons of rhum, the vanilla extract, 2/3 little spoons of cinnamon and lemon peel. Mix them all using a fork or by hands.
Now take a piece of wax paper and draw (or trace) the lamb shape with a pencil.
Divide the dough it in two parts, take one and roll it up. It should cover the paper lamb’s shape entirely. Now take your paper lamb’s shape, put it over the kneaded dough, and start tracing the lamb’s border with a knife (BE CAREFUL: this passage is just to impress the lamb shape on the dough, so use the part of the knife that does not cut! Try to make a little scar on the dough).
Now that you have a guide line on the dough you can definitely cut it following the guide (now use the knife’s blade :) ). We used a pizza cutter instead of a knife, so if you find yourself more comfortable with it you can do the same.
Take the remaining part of the dough and do the same: this time cut the shape at least 3 cm bigger than the border you drawn because we need a bigger shape to close the filling between the 2 lambs’ shapes.
Start spreading the filling on the smaller dough’s shape keeping the filling 1 cm away from the borders. When it’s done, put over it the remaining bigger shape and close the borders by pressing carefully with fingers.
If at this stage you break the dough shape by accident or because it was too thin (that’s our case :) ) just take a little bit of dough from the leftovers you cutted and stich it carefully on the holes.
Take one raisin or a chocolate flake to make the lamb’s eye and put everything in the owen at 175° for half an hour (however, check it and take it out from the owen when it gets a golden surface).
Now prepare the icing beating two eggs’ whites with sugar and a pinch of salt.
When the sweet lamb has cooled down, cover it with this white icing and have fun decorating it as you like! Wait till the glassa dries.
PS: if you do not like icing, you can cover the lamb with powdered sugar too.
Easter dessert is ready! Yummy!