Brutti e buoni (‘Brut e bun’ in Piedmontese dialect), literally ‘Ugly but good’, are irregular, roughly shaped cookies with extraordinary flavour, hence their name.
The recipe is very simple and requires PGI Piedmontese hazelnuts, sugar and egg whites, nothing else.
Sometimes the cookies are flavoured with vanilla, cocoa, cinnamon or green tea, and in some versions the hazelnuts are replaced by almonds.
They are said to originate from the town of Borgomanero in northern Piedmont and to have subsequently spread across the rest of Piedmont and to other Italian regions, such as Tuscany and Lazio.
AREA OF PRODUCTION
Mostly Piedmont, Italy.
41% PGI Piedmontese hazelnuts, sugar, egg white.
PGI Piedmontese hazelnuts (‘Tonda e Gentile delle Langhe’), from the Langa hills, a UNESCO world heritage site.
Universally acknowledged as the best in the world, they are much appreciated for their excellent aroma, delicate flavour and low fat content.
They are supplied by the Azienda Agricola Lurgo Flavio farm in Corneliano d’Alba, Piedmont, Italy.
The eggs of the Società Agricola F.lli Rosso farm in Sommariva Perno, Piedmont, Italy.
Ugly but good – Brut e Bun are produced by pastry chef Gianfranco Tibaldi in his ‘Laboratorio di pasticceria artigianale Tibo’ workshop at Strada dei Magliani 47 Frazione Scaparoni, Alba, Piedmont, Italy.
The workshop produces traditional Piedmontese confectionery with artistic flair, often revisiting it with imaginative innovativeness.
Gianfranco Tibaldi refuses to compromise over the quality of his ingredients and produces everything himself, entirely by hand and with huge passion.
In addition to the classic version presented here, Gianfranco Tibaldi also makes Brut e Bun al cacao (with cocoa) and the innovative Brut e Bun al tè Matcha biologico (with organic Matcha tea).
The mixture is made by whipping the egg whites with the sugar, as if preparing a meringue.
The hazelnuts are roasted, crushed with a pestle and folded into the mixture.
The mixture is then transferred to a pan and cooked on a high heat for about 20 minutes until it comes away easily from the bottom.
Using two forks, the Brut e bun are then shaped into small spheres in a baking tin, following the same technique that housewives in the Langa hills adopt for the filling of ravioli del plin, the typical first course in holiday and special meals.
The Brut e bun are baked in the oven for 20-25 minutes at 150°C.
PERIOD OF PRODUCTION
Ugly but good – Brut e Bun are produced continuously and may be bought and consumed all year round.
Ugly but good – Brut e Bun, which are free from preservatives, have an average life of 120 days from their date of production.
These dainty little cookies may be enjoyed on any occasion.
There are no words to describe their unique flavour and texture. So all that remains for you to do is taste them!
Gianfranco Tibaldi’s tip is to enjoy the cookies listening to a nice piece of blues. He suggests ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ by Johnny Cash.