Skye McAlpine’s polenta and raisin biscuits

You could have these after dinner with coffee, a glass of dessert wine or a sharp grappa – which is what we often do. When I was growing up, however, I would eat them for breakfast, dipped in milk. They are made with polenta, which gives them their deep yellow colour and their name, zaletti, which in Venetian dialect translates loosely as ‘little yellow ones’.

Skye McAlpine


100g raisins
20ml grappa
300g polenta
200g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
150g caster sugar
1 tbsp milk
100g salted butter, diced
1 large egg, lightly beaten

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4. Combine the raisins and grappa in a small bowl and cover with a tea towel. Leave to steep while you make the dough.
2. Put the polenta, flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a bowl and mix well. Put the milk and butter into a small saucepan and leave over a low heat for 1-2 minutes, until the butter has melted.
3. Pour this mixture into the dry ingredients, add the egg and bring everything together. Drain the raisins of any excess grappa and add them to the mixture.
4. Take heaped teaspoonfuls of the dough and shape them into small ovals, roughly the size of a walnut. Arrange them on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment, leaving a little space around each one. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until lightly golden, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. The biscuits will keep in an airtight container for up to a week.

A Table in Venice by Skye McAlpine is published by Bloomsbury, price £26. To order a copy for £19.50 until 8 July visit or call 0844 571 0640; p&p is free on orders over £15.