Tuesday, August 31, 2010

BBD # 33 Breads with Booze : Crescia Cingolana

This month Bread Baking Day # 33 is hosted by Adriana at Baking Powders.
I made a sweet bread I wanted to make since I got The Baker's Dozen Cookbook ; in the book there are some photos and the Crescia Cingolana looks very cute baked in vintage cans.
So finally after years thanks to Adriana I decided to bake it !
The Crescia, a dialectal word that refers to a yeasted baked good coming from the word Crescere that means to Grow, is called in the book also Orange Rum Sweet Bread.

I wanted to add more informations and looked for this bread in the net but did not find anything. Anyway the recipe is from Carol Field and I trust her, maybe she ate it in Cingoli which by the way is called the Marche's balcony, for its wonderful view.

Traditionally in the central regions of Italy a sweet bread and a cheese one are baked for Easter morning; during the Holy week the Priest would visit all the households and bless eggs and all the ingredients of Easter lunch. Hens start laying more eggs in the spring and I remember the breads that my neighbours in Umbria baked were so loaded with eggs that looked almost green !!!

by Carol Field from The Baker's Dozen Cookbook


1/2 cup whole milk, lukewarm
2 1/2 teaspons active dry yeast (I used 1 3/4 instant yeast )
2/3 cup (3 1/2 ounces) ubleached all-purpose flour


1/4 dark rum
3 1/4 cups (1 pound) unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 large eggs at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
Zest of two oranges (see step 2)
1/4 cup olive oil

1 large egg white beaten with 2 teaspoon water, for the glaze.

1. To make the sponge, pour the milk ito the bowl of a heavy duty stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Let stand until the yeast dissolves, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon to form a thick batter. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let stand at room temperature until it is bubbly and doubles in volume about 30 to 45 minutes.

2. To make the dough, add the rum to the sponge. Attach the bowl to the mixer and fit with the paddle attachment. On low speed, add 1 cup of flour and the salt and mix until smooth. Add 2 eggs and another cup of flour and mix util smooth. Beat in the remaining egg, the remaining 1 1/4 cups flour, along with the sugar and zest (grate the orange zest right into the bowl, removing the bowl from the stand if necessary). With the mixer on low speed, add the olive oil in a slow steady stream, then mix for 3 minutes. Switch to the dough hook and knead on medium-low speed until the dough is firm elastic and velvety with a barely sticky surface, about 3 minutes. If the dough seems too firm, beat in an additional tablespoon or so of milk; if too wet add flour 1 tablespoon at a time.

3.Detach the dough hook and remove the bowl from the stand. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Let stand until the dough is doubled in volume, about 3 hours.

4. Lightly oil a 2-quart round soufflé dish or charlotte mold. Turn the dough into a floured work surface and shape it into a round. Fit, rounded side up, into the prepared dish. Cover with a moistened towel. Let stand at room temperature until the dough has risen to the top of the dish, about two hours.

5. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400°F.

6. Brush the top of the dough with some of the egg glaze. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350° F and bake until the bread is golden and sounds hollow when the bottom is tapped, about 20 minutes. (I checked the internal temperature and got the 195°F much later)

7. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and cool for 30 minutes. Unmold and cool completely.

TWD : Espresso Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

Donna of Life's too short not to eat dessert first (who could not agreee ?) chose these cookies and I was ready for another spread failure when they didn't move ! Almost cutting edges ! (...) I'm so happy I want to try the world peace cookies again !
What I did is diminish the butter from 8 oz to 6 oz and increase the flour a bit, this is because European butter has a higher fat content than American ( 85 % vs.80%). But I didn't go into math and just tried..

In Italy ziplock baggies aren't so common so I just cut out a normal freezer bag and put some tape to the cut end, I loved Dorie's way of rolling and even in the heat wave after two hours in the fridge the dough was ready.
I used decaf soluble coffee because Andrea doesn't drink coffee, but he certainly enjoied these cookies, infact I gave him almost all of them to bring to work (they were TOO good for me) but he admitted he wasn't generous because he liked them a lot !

Please visit Donna for this recipe and go here to check all the cookies (there is even an oatmeal and spice version !)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Bread Baking Buddies : Sweet Portuguese Bread

The Bread Baking Babe Tanna decided to bake for friends this month and chose a sweet bread that comes from Portugal.
I love very much trying recipes from all over the world waiting to visit the places. This summer I read the History of the Siege of Lisbon by Josè Saramago where he imagines a proof reader changing just one word from a text and writing a new Story. He describes Lisbon in past times and today making me desire to visit it. I liked it, did you read it ?
Back to our bread...we are devouring it every morning toasted and spread with lemon marmalade : wonderful !
Tanna diminished the sugar but I didn't as I wanted it for breakfast. Please visit Tanna for the recipe and to see all the Massa Sovada !

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

TWD : Crunchy and Custardy Peach Tart and a late Oatmeal Breakfast Bread

I should start with many excuses... I've been a real slacker with my blog and not only... but I've contracted a serious illness from Cagliostro !!!

Here in Rome the wheather is so hot that this morning at six o'clock I entered the kitchen and thought I had left the oven on !!!
The worst part are homeworks: in Italy schools start on Sept. 14th and my kids still have tons of homeworks (plus I'm helping two other kids too) I really can't wait for that day !!!
Do American kids have holidays homeworks as well ? How many of them ? Carlo has tons of pages !

Anyway This tart was sublime ! I'm so glad Rachel of sweet tarte chose it in these peach-rich days !!! I served it yesterday evening after dinner and I should have taken pictures of the happy faces after the first bite !!! Please visit Rachel for the recipe and the LYL for more tarts !

Last week I didn't post the wonderful Oatmeal Breakfast Bread chosen by Natalie of Oven Love, But I had baked it and yummily eaten almost all of it : it's a wonderful and simple quick bread. I didn't have applesauce but had some mixed fruit compote I had made when in my veggie box started appearing too many cantalupes so I substituted that and omitted the sugar and has I had a mix of flakes I used them instead of just oat ones. Please take some time and try it you will find the recipe here !

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

TWD : Chocolate Ganache Ice Cream

This week it was Katrina of Baking and Boys who chose the recipe and what recipe ! I made the ice cream with a bittersweet chocolate , bad-motherly, and it was divine !
I own an ice cream maker so everything was quite easy to put together, to smooth the ganache I used the tip of a pastry chef and used an immersion blender immersing it all the way without letting any air going in, it works very well.
I hope you are going to try this recipe you can find it here and if you wish to see more ice creams please visit the rest of the group !

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

TWD : Gingered Carrot Cookies

And here comes my pick !
As the first thing I really want to thank Laurie for creating our group and for taking such good care of it, I started noticing it when Bill's Big Carrot Cakes appeared on many blogs and eventually joined the group some time later; then I would like to express my admiration for Dorie Greenspan who wrote this wonderful book really full of all kinds of great recipes for every mood and time, she was able to convince me to try and love coconut and white chocolate in the same dessert and much more ! Furthermore I would love to thank all of you that I now feel like friends for making me so happy for each of your comments on my blog.

During these last wonderful TWD years I had been imagining this post and hoped it would be THE most witful, interesting and so on post but I was too optimistic as usual !
We just came back from the holidays and the house looks like an Halloween location, I had to go for a new job interview (from September I'll be working in the The Vatican Historical Museum ( founded in 1973 and transferred in 1987 to the Papal Apartment in the Lateran Palace, houses a series of papal portraits along with objects of the past Pontifical Military Corps and of the Pontifical Chapel and Family and historic ceremonial objects no longer in use.), and finally got my migraine ! But nonetheless...I'M VERY PROUD OF HOSTING THE GINGERED CARROT COOKIES !!!!

Now I should tell you I chose them because since the very first day it was my dream to bake them but it's not true :... some time ago I had so many carrots from my veggie box that tried them and they were perfect for different reasons : they do NOT spread , do not require strange foods (like chesnuts for you and mysterious candy for me), I missed cookies in TWD, they are easy to make and they are good.
I really hope they met your taste too !
You already know I'm not the best photographer and the cookies are cute but not the best models so I used some special glasses and my latest holidays accomplishment as photographic set ...


Gingered Carrot Cookies
Page 162 - Baking from my home to yours by Dorie Greenspan

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch fresly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup shredded carrots (about 3, peeled and trimmed)
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut (I confess I used unsweetened)
1 cup moist, plump raisins (dark or golden)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans, preferably toasted

GETTING READY: Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchement or silicone mats.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, ginger and nutmeg.
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy and smooth. Add the sugars and beat for 2 minutes or so, then add the egg and beat for another minute. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the vanilla. Continuing on low speed, add the dry ingredients in 2 or 3 batches and beat only until they just disappear into the mix. You'll have a very thick dough, and you might be tempted to overbeat it to incorporate flour-don't. Mix in the carrots, coconuts, raisins and pecans.
Spoon the dough onto the baking sheets in heaping tablespoonfuls (I used an ice cream scoop), leaving about an inch of space between them; THESE DON'T SPREAD MUCH.
Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point. The cookies should be light brown and only just firm on top. Carefully transfer the cookies to racks to cool to room temperature.

This is the lovely view we had in Capalbio (Tuscany)