.....could they be better than French ones? Sacre!!!

Minni di Vergini (Breasts of the Virgin)

Pastry
2-2/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup lard
1 egg
1/4 cup milk

Using an electric mixer, food processor, or pastry cutter, combine the
flour, sugar, lard, and egg. Add milk as needed to make a soft dough; you
may need to use all of the milk. Chill the dough for 30 minutes.

Pastry Cream

6 eggs, separated
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
4 cups milk
Rind of 1 lemon, grated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of ground cinnamon

Prepare the pastry cream. With a wire
whisk, beat together the egg yolks and sugar. In the top of a double
boiler, stir the cornstarch into the milk until it is suspended. Add
the lemon rind, vanilla extract, and cinnamon. Heat the mixture over
very hot water, stirring continuously, until it thickens. Set the
pastry cream aside to cool.

Assembly

4 tablespoons chocolate chips
4 tablespoons chopped candied fruit
1 egg white and 5 egg whites in separate dishes
Confectioner's sugar

On a floured surface, roll out half of the dough. Stir the chocolate
chips and candied fruit into the pastry cream. Drop heaping
tablespoonsfuls of the pastry cream in rows on the dough, spacing the
gobs of cream about 1/2 inch apart. Brush the spaces with 1 egg white.
Roll out the remaining half of the dough and lay it carefully on top of
the layer dotted with filling, pressing down between the lumps to seal
the filling in. Cut the cookies in rounds, each containing filling.
Preheat the oven to 375 Degrees F. Beat the remaining 5 egg whites until
they are stiff but not dry. Spread the beaten egg whites over the tops
of the cookies so that they are smooth white mounds. Transfer the
cookies to a baking sheet and bake them for 45 minutes, sprinkling with
confectioner's sugar just before they come out of the oven.

"These look exactly like what they are
supposed to, and are a traditional Sicilian convent specialty, along
with the cookies named after the breast of the martyred St. Agatha.
There's a funny scene in Lampedusa's famous novel of Sicilian
upper-class life, The Leopard, in which the hero, Don Fabrizio, wonders
about the cookies as he takes some on his dessert plate. "Why ever
didn't the Holy Office forbid these cakes when it had the chance?" he
asks. Not all versions contain pastry cream.
Yield:3 dozen

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