Saturday, March 29, 2008

Orange and rosemary jelly

Perfect for breakfast on bread, with your oatmeal or cereal; but also for pork or game. Try it. You'll be surprise!

orange and rosemary jelly (5)

 

750 ml unsweetened apple juice
50 gr fresh rosemary
2 oranges, juiced and zested
400 gr granulated sugar
35 gr (1 package 1 1/3oz) fruit pectine

Bring to boil the apple juice with the rosemary. Let rest 15-20 minute so the rosemary will infuse the juice.
After this time train it through a cheesecloth and squeeze it so to release all the flavor and juice.
Pour the aromatized apple juice with the pectin and the orange juice and zest in a pan and bring to full boil. At this point, stir in the sugar in once and let it cook for other 5 minutes. Remove from heat and skim off foam with a metal spoon. Immediately ladle jelly into sterilized jars.
Let rest few weeks before consuming.

 

Note: I've served it on toasted crostini and brie. Yummy!!!!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Cinnamon "Angelica"

This is an old and traditional Italian recipe. It quite simple: it just a bread dough, enriched with sugar, butter, egg and few other ingredients. But its presentation is quite stunning in its simplicity!

The recipe comes from an Italian book "Pane e roba dolce" (Bread and sweet things) of Margherita e Valeria Simili, two sisters that dedicated their life to teach the best of Italian cuisine worldwide.

I made some variation, though, because I love experimenting with the recipe. In this case I add some cinnamon to the dough and I made a richer filling using an almond cream instead of simple butter.

It takes a while to make it, because the dough as to rest and raise. But it's truly worthy!

 angelica alla cannella

Starter:

135 gr bread flour

5 gr di active dry yeast

75 gr warm water

Mix all the ingredients and let rest until doubles in volume.

Dough:

200 gr bread flour

200 gr all purpose flour

75 gr granulated sugar

5 gr cinnamon

3 egg yolks

1 teaspoon salt

120 gr butter, softened

120 gr  warm milk

Put all the ingredients in a stand mixer and with the hook mix very well, until the dough will pull off from the bowl.Pour the dough on a slightly floured board and incorporate the starter, kneading well so that the two will mix together. Put this dough into a greased bowl and let raise, again, until double in volume.

Filling:

150 gr almond cream

75 gr di drunken cherries

75 gr di chocolates chunks (or chips), any kind (I prefer bittersweet)

When the dough is well double, roll it out thin, trying to obtain a rectangular shape. Spread the almond cream all over the dough; sprinkle the cherries and the chocolate chunks e roll it pretty tightly from the longest side. At this point, make a cut in the center of the roll lengthwise, obtaining two long stripe. Braid the two stripes, keeping the cut side on the outside, and then put them together so to have a "wreath".

Put the shaped dough onto a baking sheet (covered with silpat or parchment paper) and let raise again for 30-40 minutes, no longer!!!! Bake in a preheated oven at 375 F for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. If after this time is not cooked yet, reduce the oven temperature and bake it longer.

Remove it from oven and sprinkle immediately with powdered sugar or a simple icing or glaze.

 Note: click here to see how this bread is made!

 

festa italiana

 

This recipe participate to the wonderful initiative of Festa Italiana

 

Monday, March 3, 2008

Almond Cream

This is a rich and still delicate filling, that needs to be cooked, though. It perfect to be used to fill pie, croissant, bread pudding... It just up to your creativity!!! Anyway you need to try it!!!

almond cream croissant detail

 

125 gr butter, softened

250 gr sugar

3 eggs

80 gr flour, sifted

180 gr almond finely grounded

 

Whip the butter until becomes light in color; stir in the sugar and beat well. Add the eggs, one at the time, and mix well. Stir in the flour and the grounded almond and mix well.

Note: it keeps refrigerated up to 3 weeks.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

SFOGLIATELLA RICCIA

... aka shell-shaped Flaky Ricotta Pastries, a specialty dessert from Naples (Italy). You have probably heard this pastry mentioned on The Sopranos, but if you ever have tasted it, you'll remember forever!!!

The sfogliatella's history is intriguing, because there are a lot of versions about who, when and where it was created. One legend says that it was born in the 1700’s in the kitchens of the monastery of the Croce di Lucca as a welcome cake offered to the visiting prelates. It was, in fact, a strip of very thin puff pastry - more likely like a phyllo dough - which was wound around itself to enclose a filling of ricotta, sugar and small pieces of citrus and which took on the appearance of a seashell. Later on or, according to another legend, the sfogliatella was reintroduced (or created) in a slightly larger size by the nuns of the convent of Santa Rosa who enriched the filling with patisserie cream and fruit jam.

We know for sure the official date of when the first sfogliatella was produced outside the convents: it was in 1818, when Pasquale Pintauro, innkeeper of a tavern in via Toledo, decided to produce a continual stream of sfogliatelle, thus serving them to his customers still hot. This had an enormous success, with people cueing up along the street, waiting their turn. All the pastry shops in Naples imitated Pintauro, but he remains, however, the king of the sfogliatella.

The making of this pastry is quite elaborate, but it's so worthy!!!

sfogliatella riccia (29)

Dough:

500 gr bread flour

200 gr water

20 gr honey

5 gr salt

150 gr sugna (rendered pork fat) to brush the dough (you can substitute it with butter)

In a stand mixer, with a hook, mix all the ingredients. Wrap the dough in transparent paper and let rest overnight (DON'T SKIP THIS PASSAGE!).

Filling

175 gr ricotta cheese

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

125 gr sugar

150 gr candied fruit

125 gr di semolina flour

1 egg

Bring 375 ml water to a boil, add a pinch of salt and pour in the semolina, stirring so as not to form lumps. Cook, stirring for about 8 minutes. stirring constantly. Let cool. Sift the ricotta; mix with the semolina,and the rest of the ingredients. Let rest. If you make it ahead, such as the night before, it will be better.

collage[3]

Procedure:

Roll out the pastry with a rolling pin to obtain a 25x18-in. rectangle, 1/16-in. thick. Cut the pastry vertically into 4 strips and place one on top of the other, brushing each one with melted "sugna". Let rest for half an hour, and then roll up the stack of dough. Slice the roll into 10 equal pieces with a very sharp, floured knife. Place each slice on palm of left hand. With right thumb on center of roll, gently press through slice so that it forms a ribbed cone; make sure that ribs do not become entirely separated. Carefully work around cone with thumb and index finger until it is well shaped, 3-inches across mouth and 1/2-inch at tip. Press tip together. Fill each cone with 1 heaping tablespoonful of filling. Flatten cones slightly between palms of hands; place on lightly buttered cookie sheet; Bake in a pre-heated oven at 425ºF for 20 minutes or until cakes are golden color and crisp and filling is firm. Remove from oven, cool, dust with confectioners sugar. Serve.

Warm pasta salad with ratatouille

This recipe is perfect for the summer season: fast to make and fresh to taste. It can be done in 30 minutes: from the beginning to the end. It can also be modify, changing the vegetables or adding some feta cheese, if you like.


200 gr tubetti pasta
1 zucchina squash, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
6 baby carrots, diced
2 green bell pepper, diced
100 gr mushroom, diced
2 small tomatoes, diced
fresh basil, chopped, to taste
salt and pepper
extra-virgin olive oil


Cook the pasta al dente in salty water. Drain and let cool down. Heat some olive oil in a pan and when is hot, add the diced vegetable, except for the tomatoes. Let cook for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes and cook for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the cool pasta. Mix well. Drizzle with a little bit of olive oil, basil, salt and pepper. Serve warm or wait until it will be totally cold. Serve it at room temperature.

 
◄Design by Pocket