If you are in Italy or the south of France get to the nearest beach ASAP for the best display of summer as Italians celebrate Ferragosto (Assumption Day in the Catholic Church and an important summer holiday throughout Italy)!
Although I have been working since late last night preparing one too many eggplant parmigiana to take to the beach for a group of 20, I am also looking forward to the overflowing Braccheto D'Acqui (sparkling red wine) that is served almost all day on the beach, the food that will be shared, and the gorgeous fireworks display at the end of the day.
I think the best part is the feeling of relaxation that fills the air throughout the day. If you are Italian it is almost illegal to work or think of work on August 15; you must only thoroughly enjoy the day.
Anyway, to finish up a meal on the beach, here is a cookie especially made in the Campania region for today's feast. It makes a great accompaniment for the Braccheto sparkling wine served all day. Enjoy!
Taralli Di Ferragosto (Biscuits for August 15th, from The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays & Special Occasions, 2nd ediiton)
10 eggs, separated
2 lbs flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup anise liqueur
1/2 cup water
Pinch of salt
Juice of one lemon
For the icing: Mix 2 cups powdered sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, and 2 tbsp milk.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, place 3 cups flour, egg yolks, and a pinch of salt. Blend for about 10 minutes into a dough. In another bowl, whisk egg whites till peaks are formed. Fold in remaining flour, then fold this mixture into the flour/egg yolk dough. Blend till a smooth dough is formed. Form into small, wreath-shaped cookies, about the size of a quarter. Bake on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper for 40 minutes in preheated oven. Remove from oven, let cool.
Blend icing ingredients together till smooth and top cooled biscuits with this. Place cookies on parchment paper till icing hardens.