Friday, July 29, 2011

Buccellato di Lucca

Buccellato is to Lucca what Panforte is to Siena and Panettone is to the Veneto region—a local tradition, especially for the holidays.
The first and most famous manufacturer of the "Buccellato Taddeucci" was founded way back in 1881 by Jacopo Taddeucci, who confectioned a sweet that was then to enter into the rich gastronomic culture of the province of Lucca. Even today, when talking about "buccellato" this is implicitly identified with the name Taddeucci. The Taddeucci family has since kept up this long and great tradition, continuing in the footsteps of the founder, and their commitment has brought the name of the buccellato to be known around the world.
Fashion the recipe into three smaller loaves for giving. Freezing the Buccellato works well for up to three months.
Makes 1 large loaf, serving 8 to 10
Anise and currants flavor this legendary bread of Lucca. Shaped in the form of a ring, this golden bread isn't quite like Italy's other yeasted sweet breads. Instead of being rich and cake-like, Buccellato is lightly sweetened and spiced—an appealing chewy white bread with a dense, lean crumb. I like Buccellato's simplicity. It tastes like homemade farmhouse bread spiffed up for company with currants and sugar. It's superb with any sweet wine.
In Lucca, no celebration happens without Buccellato and glasses of the sweet Vin Santo. When family comes from far away, Buccellato is served. At a christening for a new baby, Buccellato is served. Youngsters plead with parents, "Aunt Amelia is here (from across town), can't we have Buccellato?" But it's never just any Buccellato.
Serve Buccellato sliced thin with glasses of Vin Santo. Toast leftovers for breakfast, or an after-dinner treat with fruit.

Cook to Cook:
A heavy-duty electric mixer is handy here, as the dough is a dense one. Its beating bruises the currants, slightly darkening the dough but spreading their flavor through the bread. Certainly a wooden spoon will accomplish the same thing, but it takes much more elbow grease. Use an organic bread or high-protein flour if at all possible. Anticipate about 7-1/2 hours to make the bread. If more convenient, the first rise of 4 hours can be stretched to overnight in a cool place.

* 2-1/4 teaspoons (1 package) active dry yeast
* 2/3 cup warm water (90 F)
* About 5 cups (25 ounces unbleached white bread flour (preferably organic)
* 1-1/4 cups milk, at room temperature
* 1 tablespoon anise seeds, bruised with the side of a knife
* 2 teaspoons salt
* 3/4 cup (5.25 ounces) sugar
* 1 cup (about 1/4 pound) currants, soaked in hot water 15 minutes and drained


* 1 tablespoon sugar
* 1 tablespoon water
* 1 large egg

1. In the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer or another large bowl, dissolve the yeast in half the water, with a pinch of the flour. Let proof 10 minutes, or until bubbly. With the paddle attachment at low speed, or by hand, beat in the rest of the water, the milk, anise seeds, salt, sugar, and currants. Slowly beat in 4 cups of the flour until a soft dough has formed.

2. Replace the paddle with the dough hook and knead at medium-low speed 15 minutes, adding an additional cup of flour a tablespoon at a time, for a soft, sticky dough. Remove the dough to a floured work surface. Knead by hand 2 minutes to form a soft, very elastic dough that is barely sticky. Or, if working by hand, stir in flour until the dough is too heavy to handle. Turn it out onto a floured surface and knead in the remaining flour until the dough is soft, extremely elastic, and barely sticky. Place the dough in an oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature 4 hours, or until almost tripled in bulk.

3. Oil a large cookie sheet or pizza pan. Knead down the dough. It will be sticky. Shape the dough into a 24-inch-long log. Bring the ends together, forming a ring, pinch ends to seal, and set it on the pan. Place an oiled upside-down custard cup or ramekin (about 3 inches in diameter) in the center to maintain the shape of the ring as the dough rises. Cover and let rise at room temperature 1-1/2 to 2 hours, until barely doubled.

4. Preheat the oven to 375 F. In a small bowl, beat together the glaze ingredients. Brush generously over the dough. Bake 50 to 55 minutes, or until the bread is a deep mahogany brown and sounds hollow when its bottom is thumped. Cool on a rack. Buccellato keeps several days at room temperature, if well wrapped.

Thanks to The Baker's Chronicle

Friday, July 22, 2011

Budino di Farro (Spelt Pudding)

Ingredients for 6 persons:

250 grams of spelt,
1 hectogram of raisin,
3 eggs,
1 Litre and half of milk,
15 grams of butter,
80 grams of sugar,
20 grams of grated bread,
60 ml liquor (50% Rhum - 50 % Sassolino)


Cook the spelt in the milk. When is half cooked, add raisin previously soaked in the water with the sugar and butter
When the spelt is cooked (about 25 min.) cool all.
Add eggs and wine "Vinsanto" and mix with care and until forming a creamy compound
Meanwhile put butter and grated bread into the pudding moulds or pastry pan. Bake for 40 minutes to 150 at least
Let it going cool and serve

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Puccini's Choccolates

The restaurants in the Province of Lucca rediscover the beloved dishes of the Maestro and create new ones.
«God created several beauties and different wines. I want to taste God’s work as much as I can». Scarpia [Tosca]
“Dio creò diverse beltà e vini diversi. Io vo’ gustare quanto più posso dell’opra divina”, sang Scarpia in “Tosca” (God created several beauties and different wines. I want to taste God’s work as much as I can). In the Italian framework of librettos, food is often regarded as paradigm for measuring the social value of characters. And this happens with Puccini’s operas, too, in which the acts of eating and food do not just play a narrative role but often assume metaphoric values and express the life philosophy of protagonists. The recipes named after the composer from Lucca were a lot, maybe because he also willingly abandoned himself to the pleasures of banquets. On the occasion of the 150th Anniversary of the composer’s birth, the restaurants in the Province of Lucca rediscover the beloved dishes of the Maestro and create new ones, inspired by early twentieth century atmospheres, but above all, by the most typical tastes of the products of his land.

Aurelio Barattini, owner of the “Antica Locanda” of Sesto, proposes rum chocolates. But for the time being, the recipe is secret.

By Apt Lucca

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Porchetta.. The Queen of StreetFood


Porchetta is a savory, fatty, and moist boneless pork roast of Italian culinary tradition. The body of the pig is gutted, deboned, arranged carefully with layers of stuffing, meat, fat, and skin, then rolled, spitted, and roasted, traditionally over wood. Porchetta is usually heavily salted in addition to being stuffed with garlic, rosemary, fennel, or other herbs, often wild.Across Italy porchetta is usually sold by pitchmen with their typically white-painted vans, especially during public displays or holidays, and it can be served in a panino. It is also eaten as a meat dish in many households or as part of a picnic. (WP)