Cleopatra (69 a.C - 30 a.C), the Egyptian queen of legendary beauty, was famous for her amatorial charms that rendered her irresistible to the men who met her. She had a child with Caesar, Cesarione, then, after Caesar's assassination she fell in love with Anthony causing much jealousy amongst the Roman Senators many of whom accused her of being a witch. Anthony, stabbed by Octavius, dies in her arms and Cleopatra, realising her end was near lets herself be poisoned by an asp. This recipe has been deciphered from a hieroglyphic. These sweets were served at wedding banquets and given their high energy value, we imagine that Cleopatra offered them to her lovers to restore their spirits.
- Mix the almond flour (milled almonds, grind your own in a food processor or blender if you like) with the sugar and enough orange essence to form a paste.
- Place a little of this paste between two walnut halves and press.
- Melt the sugar in a pan with a few drops of water and when it starts to turn to caramel, remove it from the heat source and dip the nuts inside to coat them with caramel.
- Set them out on grease proof paper to dry.
- Note: for an easy shortcut you can use store bought marzipan or almond paste and simply knead the orange extract into that instead of preparing your own from alond flour in step 1; then proceede with the rest of the recipe as written.
What a decadent confection! Equally lusty and intriguing is the recipe description -- which, honestly, hooked me! These little gems are no let down. Quite a sweet treat; the orange almond paste almost melts on your tongue once you bite through the caramel bathed walnut. I used superfine sugar with a great result. Earthy, sweet, sensually citrus scented... don't pass up the chance to try this unique treat.
The description does sound divine but this recipe is deceptively simple. I've ruined two batches now. All in all I would not recommend this for anyone who doesn't have experience working with caramel. There are important details missing like 1) the fact you should always use icing sugar when making marzipan 2) yes orange essence will not be enough to make this a paste and 3) getting the caramel right is not easy. I'm sure they taste wonderful but I guess I will not find out.
These are beautiful and delicious. I had difficulty with the paste coming together and was reluctant to add more orange extract, so I just added a tiny bit of heavy cream and it came together beautifully and the taste was not affected. I toasted the walnut halves, as I prefer a toasted nut. The sugar syrup was wicked hot and I ended up with blisters on my fingers in 3 places. I also had to melt more sugar than was called for because the original amount kept cooling too quickly, making the candies difficult to dip. But anyway--these are utterly exotic and delightful and I will make them again. Thank you.