Monday, December 20, 2010

Les Calissons, homemade

A few years ago a French girlfriend gave me some Calissons for Xmas. It was love at first bite, and I always wanted to make them myself.

I looked around on the net, as you do, but I didn’t find a recipe I liked, or a recipe that made me think of that taste… one blog had a recipe with apricot jam among the ingredients, but I was sure I didn’t taste apricot jam in those Calissons from Aix en Provence!

So I got out my copy of the Laorusse Gastronomique, a good French tome, not very precise when it comes to describe Italian food, but for French food… well, it is my best reference. There was not a recipe, only indications that they are made with 40% blanched almonds, and 60% crystallized fruit (melon with a little orange), mixed with sugar syrup and a little orange flower water.

I blanched some almonds, like for the marzipan, and used my usual mixture of candied melon/papaya. I had some orange blossom water, very strong, so I decided not to add candied citrus peel.

I used 80 g of almonds for 120 g of fruit. I didn’t want to add more sugar to the mixture, so I heated the fruit with 50 ml of water until the water was almost all evaporated and the fruit was soft. I blended the fruit with the almonds and then added the orange blossom water. The mixture wasn’t very fine, I suppose it was too little to mix properly in the food processors, but I also liked the texture I got.

I spread it over a rice paper sheet, and covered it with some baking paper to roll it evenly with a rolling pin.

Then I made the icing, traditionally this is made with egg white and icing sugar, but Vegans can use water. This need so much sugar! About 8 tbsp for an egg white, depending on its size.

I spread the icing over the Calissons, and then I waited for one hour and made some incisions with a knife. I did this because I feared that if I were to cut the Calissons when the icing was set it would crack. Also note that I do not have a Calisson mould, I had to invent my own method!

I left the Calissons to rest overnight, and then I cut through the incisions.

Very pretty, very tasty, and guess what my French girlfriend is getting this year for Xmas from me!

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©


  1. Calissons are the best treat ! As you said so pretty and tasty. I like the idea of adding candied papaya too.

  2. Thanks Vanilla, and here in NZ it is difficult to find candied melon. The papaya has a very similar taste.

  3. molto belli questi dolcetti.
    non li conoscevo.

    ma ho capito bene? si fanno senza cuocerli?

    perdonami ma il mio macaroni english leaves the times it finds ;-)

    auguri se non ci si risente (bellina il nuovo avatar)

  4. Oh how cool, I love the texture and color. I would love to try this.

  5. Si' Gaia, niente cottura, anche se io ho 'cotto' i canditi in un po' d'acqua per farli piu' teneri e sciropposi.

    E poi le mandorle, le ho sbollentate per pelarle.

    Niente glutine :-)

    Buone feste!

  6. Cara Alessandra questi dolci sono davvero molto buoni e golosi e fatti davvero bene!!! Colgo l'occasione per farti i miei piu' sinceri auguri di un sereno Natale!!!

  7. oooh, c'est bon, c'est beau! magnifique!


  8. Ma che fantastica ricetta! A presto

  9. Wow! Che bella ricetta, Alessandra! Non li avevo mai visti... ma quante cose sai? Mi sorprendi sempre...
    Che gola, questi dolcetti, ne vorrei uno adesso...

  10. They turned out beautifully. I've never seen candied melon. I'll have to search it out. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  11. What an impressive treat! They are really beautiful and full of delicious flavors. I'll definitely try to find candied melon!

  12. Wow! Great step-by-step pictures! I never heard of calissons, it sure looks good!

  13. Ma che belli e che buoni devono essere! Particolarissimi senza cottura
    Un abbraccio

  14. agree they are just too pretty to eat :)

  15. Lovely and super informative. Thanks for the details and pics.


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