Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Maritozzi Con La Panna - We Knead to Bake 28

This month we bake a very simple yet awesome in taste and texture bread for the We Knead to Bake Group assignment. Sometime last month, Niv had come across these bun like rolls in Food 52, recipe by Emiko Davies and mentioned about it. Soon Aparna suggested we bake it this month. Finla had added her comment about the discrepancies in the measures of ingredients in that post. I guess that Aparna was determined to get it all right for us to bake and read up various sites who had shared the recipe and derived her measures to guide us.
I was about to travel back to India,having stayed a month with my daughter. We quickly decided that both of us shall bake the bread together. We baked it on the day Aparna shared her document with the group. it feels like an accomplishment as I usually take time to work on the recipe and bake the rolls.
These buns can be had without the cream also and with the cream they are a delight.
Maritozzi (or Maritozzo for a single roll) are very fragrant and soft, sweet buns. They are cut across the length, until about half way down to fill with whipped cream. They are served alongwith coffee during the breakfast hours in coffee bars in and around Rome.(Lazio region of Italy).
Traditionally the dough is flavoured with pine nuts, raisins and candied orange peel. once baked they are brushed with sweet water and sugar syrup. Cooled maritozzi are then cut and filled heavily with cream before serving.
The dough is essentially slightly enriched brioche dough, a less rich version though. This uses only orange zest for flavouring the dough and raisins added to the dough.
There are two video links that might be useful one showing how to make the Maritozzi,
and the next on how they fill cream in the maritozzi as being made in a Roman Bakery

Maritozzi Con La Panna (Roman Cream Buns)
(Adapted from various sources)

For the Buns:
1&1/2 teaspoon instant yeast ( I used 2&1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast, proofed and added to the starter)
1/2 cup warm milk
1&3/4 cups all purpose flour (Plus for dusting)
1 egg (which I have substituted by adding more milk as needed)
1/4 cup sugar
50 grams butter at room temperature
Pinch of salt
1/8 cup raisins, soaked in 2 to3 tablespoons warm orange juice/ warm water for 10 minutes
1 tablespoon pine nuts toasted lightly
Zest of 1 orange or 1 tablespoon candied orange peel, chopped finely
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the glaze:
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons water

powdered or icing sugar for dusting

For the filling:
500 millilitres fresh cream whipped to stiff peaks with few teaspoons icing sugar. (you may need 2 to 3 tablespoons cream per bun)

I have made this by hand, however, one might also use the processor.
Add warm milk and a teaspoon sugar to the instant yeast and 1/2 cup of flour. Mix to a smooth paste and cover. Let it stand for about 20 minutes. By then the paste would have doubled in volume and there will be visible bubbles.
If you use active dry yeast, allow it to rise before adding the flour and give time to double volume with bubbles.

To the starter add the rest of the sugar, butter, salt , egg (if using) and a cup of the flour.
Knead them to come together in a dough and add the pine nuts, raisins with the juice, the orange zest and vanilla extract. Knead by hand to a soft and elastic dough.
Add just as much of the remaining 1/4 cup flour to achieve a soft and elastic dough.
Dust a little flour in a bowl and place the dough in the shape of a rolled ball. Cover and give it a rise. It might take an hour to an hour and a half to double in its volume.
Lightly knead the risen dough to remove air pockets.
Divide the dough in 6 or 8 equal portions.
Roll each into a smooth ball and flatten it out into circle with your fingers.
Roll the flattened dough into a swiss roll style and seal their edges well.
Place them on lined baking tray well apart to allow them swell.
Cover loosely and let the rolls rise for another 30 minutes.
Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees C /350 degrees F and bake the rolls for 15 to 20 minutes until they have puffed up and golden.
Do not over bake them as the bottom will darken and the rolls might become hard.
If you choose to glaze with sugar syrup, make the syrup by boiling the sugar together with the water  while the buns are baking. Glaze them while they are warm.
If you choose to use dusting, do so with powdered or icing sugar while they are warm.
To make the filling whip the cream with some icing sugar until stiff peaks are formed.
While serving, cut opeh the rolls not quite fully and fill in 2 to 3 tablespoons of whipped cream in the rolls.

Serve with coffee or tea.
Please take time to check out Aparna's post where you may find links to other members' posts. enjoy a visual treat of Maritozzi being served.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Home Made Strawberry Ice Cream

"Strawberry season is on and it is at it's peak" announced a flyer the postman dropped into my daugter's mail box last week. The U-pick farms are not very far from their home, about half an hour's drive away. So we decided to go enjoy the fun activity on the week end, and oh my, enjoy - we did. We were unable to stop picking the juicy ripe strawberries (and a few unripe for photos). It  was hardest to resist popping some into our mouths. We ended up picking two large crates and brought home around 6 kilograms strawberries. 

What would you do with so many, way more than you can consume? Freeze! Yes, we did the same. We were motivated to use them when they were fresh for there will always be another week, in some other season. So the strawberries went into as many dishes as we could think of. This ice cream was one.
Just three ingredients, a little patience and a wee little work are all you need to get the strawberries come together in this delightful dessert. The below makes quite a volume, but you may keep it in the freezer and enjoy over many days.

Home Made Strawberry Ice Cream

Makes 2 litres

Fresh strawberries 1&1/2 cups
Sweetened condensed milk 1 tin(aprroximately 400 grams), 1&3/4 cup
Heavy whipping cream 2 cups (1 pint/16 fluid ounces/ approximately 475 millilitres)

Rinse the strawberries, remove the stem and pulp them in a blender.
Place a large bowl and the blades of a hand mixer in the freezer for about an hour.

In this large bowl pour the heavy whipping cream and run the hand mixer on medium speed till stiff peaks appear in the cream. Watch carefully not to over do the whipping.

Transfer contents of the condensed milk tin into a large bowl, pour in the strawberry puree and mix well.
Gently fold the strawberry and milk mixture into the whipped cream.
Cover the bowl tightly and place it in the freezer.
Take the ice cream out after three hours, stir briskly to remove ice crystals. Place it back in the freezer.

Repeat the stirring after three hours two more times.
Serve and enjoy.


Monday, June 1, 2015

We Knead to Bake 27 Orange Cinnamon Swirl Bread

This month, Aparna chose for us in We Knead to Bake Group a rather easy bread and similar to the cinnamon rolls we baked earlier in the group.The Orange and Cinnamon Swirl bread is a typical American style breakfast bread and is sweet. It has a nice combination of ingredients and I personally prefer the cinnamon flavour.
Aparna had chosen this bread from a book she had to review. She made changes to her personal prefernce while she gave us the exact recipe to work with. i must say that I went with her measures and still had a nicely sweet bread.
I am currently travelling and this post is late as I had to juggle the time to bake the bread and then write the post. Given below is a copy from Aparna's post while the change I made was using strawberry preserve in the place of the apricot preserve and omitted the egg. I substituted for the egg with extra milk.

Orange and Cinnamon Swirl Bread

(Reproduced with permission from 500 Breads by Carol Beckerman)
(Makes TWO medium size loaves)

1 teaspoon sugar

2/3 cups warm water
2 teaspoon active dry yeast
3&1/2 cups al purpose flour
2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoon sugar
2 eggs (or substitute, as required)
Juice and grated rind of an orange
5 tablespoons apricot/ strawberry preserve
1 tablespoon cinnamom powder
1/2 cup brown sugar
Oil for greasing

Grease two 8"X4" loaf tins with some oil.
dissolve 1 teaspoon sugar in warm water and sprinkle the teast. Allow it to proof for 10 to 15 minutes.
in a large bowl, mix flour, salt and 3 tablespoons sugar. Add the liquid yeast, eggs (or milk), the juice and the zest. Work this to a somewhat firm dough.
Turn the dough on to a loghtly floured surface and knead to a smooth, elastic but somewhat firm dough. Place the dough in a large, oiled
 bowl, cover and set aside in a warm place to double in its volume for about an hor and a half.

Turn the dough back on to a lightly floured surface, punch it down and gently knead again until the dough feels firm.
Divide the dough into two and roll out each into a 13"X6" rectangle.
Spread the preserve on each surface, sprinkle the brown sugar generously on top of the preserve and then the cinnamon powder.
Roll both rectangles each in a swiss roll like loaf.
Place each roll into the two prepared loaf tins.
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees C (400 degrees F). Bake the breads for 30 to 35 minutes until the top of them is golden.

While tapped under they should sound hollow. Remove from the loaf tins and cool on wire racks.

Serve as a breakfast bread with tea or simply with tea or coffee anytime of the day.

You may or may not use the eggs.
You might want to omit the 3 tablespoons sugar if you want your bread somewhat mildly sweet. brown sugar may be substituted with regular sugar.
Again, you may reduce the quantity of brown sugar to tone the sweetness down.
Apricot preserves work the best, but the strawberry preserve was close enough. Use the exact measures of the preserve as too less will leave a bland bread while too much will make it ooze and messy.
Adjust the flour or liquid to achieve a smooth, elastic but somewhat firm dough. Exercise caution with the flour or liquid as the texture will depend on them.
Try to keep the rolling measurements. I rolled it too thin and the bread had an ugly tear on the crown in my first attempt.
Roll the swiss like roll tightly enough and seal the edge well brushing a little water if needed. Place the seam side down while baking.