Pizza Rustica – Italian Easter Pie

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It is Easter, so in the absence of grand children, chocolate eggs, dyed eggs and the like Mrs BYF made a Pizza Rustica. It cannot be called traditional I suppose, lacking mortadella and prosciutto. I did have some ricotta left as well as some soft cheese that happened and has no name, plus some mozzarella that would not stretch, so the cheese was sorted. I sliced some home made salami and guanciale and that sorted the meat. The pie turned out great – my Nona would have approved.

PIE CRUST

Whisk 10 g dry yeast and 10 g sugar in enough lukewarm water to dissolve the sugar and yeast. Leave until the mixture is foaming

500 g flour

150 g butter softened

2 eggs  lightly whisked

10 g salt

Mix all the ingredients including the yeast together. You should have a stiff dough like a pasta dough after kneading it a bit. Let the dough stand in a warm spot until the yeast is activated. Roll the dough out thinly and line a spring form cake tin

Set oven on 190C

FILLING

3 eggs, lightly whisked

500 g of cheese and ricotta combined

100 g guanciale very thinly sliced

100 g salami very thinly sliced

Pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients well

Line spring form pan with 3/4 of the pastry dough

Pour the filling into the pan. Roll out enough pastry to make a lid for the pie. Prick within a fork

Bake for 35 minutes

ENJOY and do not forget to wash it all down with a glass of good homemade red wine

Vino di Fiori di Sambuco (Elder Flower Wine)

2018-12-24 - Elderberry Harvesting Team

The Elder Flower Pickers hard at work. We had a trial run a few weeks ago making Elder Flower Sparkling Wine. It was delicious. We set out to harvest enough before the flowers disappear, at which stage we will attempt elderberry wine!

Vino di Sambuco ( elder flower wine ) Recipe as it happened step by step

2018-12-03

Add about 1 Liter Elder flowers, stems removed, to a 10 L plastic drum and cover with 5 Liters of boiling water – seal

2018-12-04

Stir in 1 Kg of Sugar until dissolved

Ad lemon zest of four lemons

Ad lemon juice of four lemons (about 210 ml)

Re – hydrate yeast by adding 6 g ‘GoFerm’ and 5 g ‘Lalvin EC1118′

(the seller is called Make Wine) and 50 ml of cooled boiled water Leave for 30 minutes

Add re – hydrated yeast to the must

Add 4 g ‘Ferm Aid ‘ to the must

SG (Specific Gravity measured with a Hydrometer to determine the sugar content) – 1.055 (Ad more sugar later)

Stir very well and put lid on tub – ferment on the must

Stir twice daily

2018-12-08

Rack and filter into two X 5 Liter Damigiane or large glass wine bottles. Top up with about 0.5 Liter each of 1.09 SG sugar syrup

Airlock and Ferment

SG – 1.06

2018-12-11

Rack and Filter

Airlock and Ferment

SG – 1.04

2018-12-15

Rack and Filter

Airlock and Ferment

SG – 1.02

Top up with 200 ml (100 ml per Darmigiana) of SG 1.09 Sugar Syrup

Taste – Pleasant, sweet and a bit bubbly

SG – 1.04

Airlock and Ferment

2018-12-20

Still fermenting slowly

SG – 1.02

Rack, Filter and Bottle in a Champagne bottles

Drink and ENJOY!!!

 

 

Salami and Sausage making time

There is no better way to spend a Sunday, with a few good friends, to convert the pig and stag that crossed our way a few days earlier, into some delicious products.

The temperature in my “Meat Curing Room” is ideal at 8 – 10 C at this time of the year, but I would have preferred the humidity to be less than 60% to allow for proper curing and drying – hopefully it will get a bit less humid over the next few days.

 

Casatiello Napoletana (Stuffed Easter Bread)

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There are many Easter Breads in Italy and each region has its own version, but most include whole, sometimes coloured, eggs. This specific recipe is from Napoli and is made in a pan with a hole in the middle, called a ruoto. The recipe is enough for two breads in 270 mm pans.

  • 800 g Bread Flour (Tipo 0)
  • 300 g  Water – luke warm
  • 5 g Honey or Molasses
  • 23 g Yeast – fresh
  • 500 g 1:1 Biga (Mother plant of yeast)
  • 100 ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil – plus extra to smear the pans
  • 20 g Salt
  • 50 g Salami –  about 5 mm cubed
  • 50 g Pancetta – about 5 mm cubed
  • 50 g Cheese  – any melting mild cheese of your choice – about 5 mm cubed
  • 50 g Parmigiano or Grana Padana Cheese – about 5 mm cubed
  • 12 Quail eggs – fresh – Plus two to glaze the bread

Mix the honey, water and yeast and let it stand for 5 minutes. Now mix in the flour, biga, oil and salt and knead well. Let it proof until at least double in size, then knead briefly again. Divide the dough in two, but keep about 50 g to make strips to secure the eggs,  and roll each into a square of about 300 mm. Spread all the cheeses and meat on the squares and roll up. Place each roll in a well smeared pan in such a way that it fills the entire base of the pan. Now place the whole eggs evenly on the breads and secure each with two thin strips of dough. Proof until at least double in size. Glaze the top of the breads with beaten egg and bake at 220 C for 13 minutes. Turn the pans around and bake for another 20 minutes at 190 C.

Enjoy hot or cold, or the next day on the Easter Picnic.

 

 

Gnocchi di Patate

I have been honoured by my good friends, Peter and Mary, with a hessian bag full of just dug up organic potatoes.  As my wife is away in another country for some months, I have had nightmares as to how I am going to eat through this mountain (as wel as all the other reserves in the pantry) all on my own. My decision was to attack from the beginning and start cooking and eating them immediately. My first endeavour is gnocchi di patate.

In making good gnocchi there are two golden rules to follow : 1 – Never be aggressive in handling the product. 2 – Never use eggs in the recipe as many experts propagate. The reason for this is that both transgressions cause the end product to be gooey, solid and rubbery.

Place 1 Kg unpeeled potatoes in abundant cold salted water. Bring the water to a boil and boil for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on size. The pototoes should be soft, but not coming apart. Never pierce the potatoes to test if they are done as this makes them absorb water and your dough would be too wet. Peel the potatoes as soon as it has cooled enough to handle and put it through a potato ricer.  Ad a pinch of black pepper and salt. Mix about 150 g of fine flour (Tipo 00) with the potatoes by hand until it comes together. We say abbastanza, which means – just enough. So ad the flour in stages until the dough just come together but still a bit sticky. Do not over work the dough and if you still see some potato particles it is fine. Roll the dough into long sticks of about 25 mm thick and cut across in about 25 mm long gnocchi pieces. Form the gnocchi now with a gnocchi former or fork and set aside.

In a large enough pan prepare your sauce. Any sauce normally associated with pasta can be used. A very popular sauce is butter and sage. I have been lucky to have some pesto, which I have made some weeks ago, to use. Boil the gnocchi in abundant salted water until they float and then for another 10 seconds. Mix with the sauce in the pan over low heat for a short period and serve hot, topped with some cracked black pepper and grated parmigiano.

Gnocchi can me made well in advance and kept for a few days in a sealed container in the fridge.

Enjoy with abundant home made red wine!