Zaleti (Venetian Cornmeal Diamonds)

These are crumbly and not too sweet, and perfect after a hearty Italian meal.


  • 1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 12 tablespoon unsalted butter, cold
  • 3/4 cup currants or dark raisins
  • 2 large eggs
  • Grated zest of 1 small lemon
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  1. Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Rub in the butter finely, leaving the mixture cool and powdery.
  3. Stir in the currants or raisins.
  4. Or pulse the dry ingredients in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade.
  5. Add the butter, cut into 8 pieces and pulse again six or eight times until finely mixed.
  6. Pour into a bowl and stir in the currants or raisins.
  7. Beat the eggs with the lemon zest and vanilla extract. Stir into the flour mixture with a fork.
  8. Flour the dough lightly and divide it into 4 pieces. Roll them into cylinders about 1 inch in diameter. Flatten the cylinders slightly and cut them diagonally at 1 1/2-inch intervals, making diamond shapes.
  9. Arrange the zaleti on paper-lined cookie sheets and bake at 350 degrees F for about 15 minutes, until they are light golden in color.
  10. Cool on racks and dust with confectioners' sugar.

Makes 2 1/2 to 3 dozen.

Source: Great Italian Desserts - Nick Malgieri

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