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Dessert Recipes

Ham, Goat Cheese and Vidalia Onion Tart {torta salata}

Ham, Goat Cheese and Vidalia Onion Tart {torta salata}

Planning for dinner is not always so easy. Some days I feel I have a good handle on it. Some days I just want to eat a sandwich or a bowl of soup! Some days I'm just graving a tart like this ham, goat cheese and Vidalia onion tart!

When caramelized onions are involved, everything seems much brighter (and more delicious!).

These tarts are so much fun to make. If you are not into making your own crust (I swear this crust is easy and it's ok if it doesn't look perfect when you roll it into the tart pan!!), you could buy a ready-made crust. But when you look at the list of ingredients on the box of a ready-made crust, you may be swayed to attempting to make your own crust. Plus, it tastes SO MUCH BETTER!!
Ham, Goat Cheese and Vidalia Onion Tart {torta salata}

Ham, Goat Cheese and Vidalia Onion Tart {torta salata}

Ham, Goat Cheese and Vidalia Onion Tart {torta salata}

Ham, Goat Cheese and Vidalia Onion Tart {torta salata}

If you don't have ham on hand, please add bacon. Really, it's ok! And if you are trying to avoid meat, sub in something like zucchini or mushrooms...just delicious!!


Ham, Goat Cheese and Vidalia Onion Tart
Ingredients
  1. Makes one 9-inch crust
  2. 2 teaspoons cold water
  3. 1 teaspoon cold cider vinegar
  4. 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
  5. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  6. 4 ounces (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  7. 4 ounces cold cream cheese, cut into small pieces
  8. filling ingredients:
  9. 4 eggs
  10. 1/2 cup cream
  11. 1/2 cup milk
  12. 3 slices ham
  13. 1 small onion, sliced thin and caramelized
  14. 1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  15. 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  16. 4 Tablespoons goat cheese (or any other soft cheese)
  17. salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Tart shell directions-Combine water and vinegar in a small bowl. Combine flour and salt in another bowl. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, cut butter and cream cheese into flour mixture until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some larger pieces remaining.
  3. Add water mixture to dough in a slow, steady stream, stirring, until mixture just begins to hold together. (Alternatively, pulse ingredients in a food processor.) Turn out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Press dough into a disk. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour or overnight.
  4. Filling Directions-
  5. In a large bowl, whisk eggs with cream and milk. Stir in ham, cooled onions and herbs.
  6. Roll dough to fit your chosen tart pan, then drape dough in pan. Neatly press dough up the sides of the pan and shape it. Set it on a sheet pan. Prick bottom of the tart with a fork. Scatter goat cheese over the tart. Pour in the egg mixture.
  7. Place the tart pan over a foil lined cookie sheet.
  8. Bake for about 35-40 minutes or until the tart is golden brown and the filling is set. Check tart at about 30 minutes. If the tart shell is browning too much, cover the tart with foil paper for the rest of the baking time. Let tart cool before removing from tart pan or slice directly in the tart pan when warm.

15

Vanilla Gelato - Guest Post with Karen's Kitchen Stories #FoodMemory

Vanilla Gelato

It's been so wonderful to share these #FoodMemory stories with my readers. Each friend that has participated is talented in so many different ways. We all share a common bond that is a love of food.

It's been incredible reading the stories that have been shared with me for this #FoodMemory series. Losing my father last year left me wondering how to keep his memory alive through my blog. The obvious choice was to sometimes share a favorite recipe of his or one that reminded me of him. I had friends reach out to me sharing some tidbits about loved ones they lost and this has this series came about. #FoodMemory was about sharing a recipe and story of a loved one we lost.

That's what my next friend Karen from Karen's Kitchen Stories is doing. If you haven't "met" Karen and her blog yet, you are in for a treat. Her baking is outstanding. She is part of my #TwelveLoaves group and each month she shares another incredible yeast bread. Karen's Easter bread (Pizza di Pasqua)is incredible! If you love ricotta, you have to make this Tangelo Ricotta Cake-wow!  Love this Whole Wheat Cinnamon Swirl Bread. 

Karen shared a sweet story about her dad and a delicious vanilla gelato recipe...here she is:

When Lora asked me if I would like to contribute to her Food Memory series, I instantly said "yes." Cake Duchess has been one of my favorite food blogs for a very long time. Lora writes from her heart.

My dad was one of those “larger than life” men. He was athletic and strong, and had a big booming voice. Other kids thought he was pretty scary, but we knew he was a big softie.
Vanilla Gelato


He was a football player in college (isn’t he handsome?), and had aspired to become a teacher and a coach. At a very young age, he lost his dad and had to take over the family dry cleaning business. While that was not his career of choice, he grew that business into several stores and, for many years, that dry cleaning business supported a lot of families.




(Regarding the coaching aspirations, after a failed attempt to coach a stepson’s flag football team, he decided that maybe that was not his dream job after all.)

Having him in my life always made me feel safe.

He loved his beloved California Bears, Frank Sinatra, and traveling, especially to Italy. He also loved ice cream. Growing up, we didn’t keep a lot of desserts in the house, but we always had a carton of Neapolitan or rocky road in the freezer. My dad would love to have a big bowl of ice cream after dinner.

After retiring, he got to travel to Italy many times. He loved the food, and he loved the gelato. In fact, I don’t think he was able to pass a gelato stand without buying some.

Dad, here you go. I've made you some gelato. I love you. I miss you.


Vanilla Gelato

For more of Karen:




A big thank you to Karen for being a part of my #FoodMemory series...I just love this gelato!!

My other #FoodMemory guest posters:

Paula from Vintage Kitchen Notes and her Brown Butter Apple Cinnamon Crumb Bars

Shulie from Food Wanderings and her Shakshuka

Heather from girlichef and her Sweet Brown Butter Cornbread.

Renee from Magnolia Days and her Coconut Cake

Alice from Hip Foodie Mom and her Korean Steamed Eggs

Nancy from Gotta Get Baked and her Orange-Cranberry Chocolate Ginger Muffins

Vanilla Gelato

Ingredients
  1. 2 T nonfat milk powder
  2. 2 T cornstarch
  3. Pinch of salt
  4. 1 T of Vanilla Bean Crush or vanilla extract
  5. 3 C whole milk, divided into 2 ½ C plus ½ C
  6. ½ C sugar
  7. ¼ C light corn syrup

Instructions
  1. Prepare a very large bowl with ice water.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the milk powder, cornstarch, salt, and vanilla until smooth. Set aside.
  3. In a saucepan, mix 2 ½ C of milk, the sugar, and the corn syrup over medium heat, until it is just steaming but not boiling. Stir frequently.
  4. Add the milk/cornstarch mixture and, over low heat, bring the pan to a boil while whisking constantly until thickened, for about 2 minutes.
  5. Strain the mixture into a medium bowl and place that bowl into the larger bowl with ice water to chill. Stir every five minutes, until the mixture is cool.
  6. Cover the bowl and place it into the refrigerator for about 4 hours.
  7. Freeze the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the brand’s instructions.
  8. You can serve it immediately for soft serve, or freeze and serve later.
Notes
Adapted from Scoop: 125 Specialty Ice Creams by Ellen Brown

33

Torta Pasqualina {Italian Easter Pie}



There is a saying in Italy, “Natale con i tuoi. Pasqua con chi vuoi.” It basically means you spend Christmas with you family and Easter with whomever you’d like! Easter is a more relaxed holiday. Easter in Italy even goes onto the following Monday: La Pasquetta. Typically Italians go to eat outdoors, by the beach, in the mountains, on picnic. I just spoke with my aunt in Sicily and she told me my cousins went to the farm to eat only grilled meats.

The torta Pasqualina is served as an antipasto at an Easter table. La torta Pasqualina is the most famous pie  from the Liguria area. This delicious torta is also eaten during Easter outside of Liguria. The original version is one of the most ancient Ligurian recipes, where the dough is rolled into 33 separate layers, symbolizing the age of Christ at the time of his death.  Today the torta is made typically with much less layers of dough. I’ve seen recipes for 12-18 layers and I’ve seen recipes with 4 layers of dough. The number of layers has now been reduced to 12-18–less symbolic but more practical. It?s a vegetable tart made with a very simple dough. The filling is usually made with ricotta cheese and spinach or artichokes, but the filling can be changed to highlight whatever green vegetables are in season.

I found this little tidbit from Saveur: Traditionally, torta pasqualina was made with 33 layers of dough—ten on the bottom and 23 on the top—to symbolize the 33 years of Christ’s life. According to Genoese politician and gastronome Paolo Emilio Taviani, when Nietzsche lived on Genoa’s piazza Portello in the 1880s, he thought it worth devoting an afternoon to learning how to prepare a torta pasqualina from his aged landlady.


For this Easter, I baked the guti (Italian wreaths with eggs)and braided breads. The kids just love them and argue over who gets which egg. I baked some ricotta crostate and I also made this torta Pasqualina. It is a typical Italian Easter pie that is from the Liguria region. It's a flaky crusted pie that is filled with a wonderful ricotta and spinach filling (or Swiss chard or really whatever seasonal green/spring vegetable you like).

The dough for the crust is quite simple to make (just flour, olive oil and a little salt). I was busy baking crostate and Easter breads so decided to use puff pastry. It resulted in a very flaky crust.  The filling can be Swiss chard or spinach sauteed with onion in olive oil. Fresh marjoram and parsley accent the delicious ricotta. A few eggs are nestled in the filling before the second layer of dough is placed on top.  A quick egg wash gives it a lovely golden color. So easy to bake and a hit any time of year!   Torta Pasqualina is wonderful at room temperature and perfect to take on your Pasquetta picnic.

I followed along the recipe I found from the Academia Barilla.


Buona Pasqua!


 Torta Pasqualina {Italian Easter Pie}
 yields: 10-12 servings

 1 tablespoon butter
21 ounces Swiss chard (or spinach)
10 eggs, divided
1 1/3 cups ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons bread crumbs
scant 1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram
14 ounces puff pastry dough
all purpose flour for dusting
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste


Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and grease a large pie pan or 10 inch springform pan with the butter.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Remove the tough stems from the chard and add to the boiling water. Cook until tender, 3-5 minutes or shorter for spinach. Rinse in cold water, drain, and chop.
In a medium bowl, beat together 4 of the eggs. Push the ricotta through a strainer into the bowl, being sure to scrap the underside of the strainer for excess ricotta. Mix in the Parmesan, bread crumbs, heavy cream, salt, pepper, chopped chard, and marjoram.
On a lightly floured surface, cut the puff pastry into 4 equal pieces. Roll one piece until thin and large enough to cover pan with excess hanging over the edges. Brush with olive oil and roll out another piece. Place over first piece at an angle so the overhanging edges are not together. Cover the other two pieces with a damp cloth.
Pour half of the chard ricotta mixture into the prepared pan over the puff pastry. Use a spoon to make 6 indentations in the chard mixture in a circle. Break an egg into each indentation. Season with salt and pepper and cover with remaining chard ricotta mixture. Use a wet spatula to smooth the top.
Roll another piece of puff pastry until thin and place over chard mixture. Brush with oil. Roll the remaining piece of puff pastry and place on top. Carefully crimp all of the edges the seal. Prick the surface a few times with a fork.
Bake in preheated oven until heated through and top is golden brown. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Serve hot or cold.



11

Licata: Mercoledi Bianco e Nero {La Festa dell’Addolorata}

La Festa dell’Addolorata

"La Settimana Santa a Licata - La festa dell’Addolorata a Licata (Ag) è uno degli appuntamenti religiosi più sentiti dal popolo e da inizio ai sacri riti pasquali. La mattina del venerdì che precede la Settimana Santa, il simulacro della Vergine, che secondo tradizione è arrivato a Licata a bordo di un antico veliero, viene condotto in processione fino in Chiesa Madre, dove sosta per tre giorni. Per tradizione la “vara” dell’Addolorata, portata a spalle dall’omonima confraternita, nel suo lento procedere, viene accompagnata dai fedeli a piedi scalzi e dalle bambine che indossano abitini che riproducono la veste della Madonna. La domenica successiva, nella mattinata, in ogni quartiere cittadino ha luogo la processione delle Palme, mentre, la sera riprende dalla Chiesa Madre la processione dell’Addolorata che si conclude in tarda serata con il rientro del simulacro della Vergine nel Santuario di S. Agostino. La sera del Giovedì Santo i fedeli visitano nelle diverse Chiese i “sepolcri”, altari dove viene riposta l’eucarestia e che vengono addobbati con particolari simboli della passione, mentre, la confraternita di S. Girolamo si reca al Calvario in visita penitenziale. Il Venerdì Santo, il popolo si riversa per le strade prima dell’alba per assistere alla traslazione del Cristo Morto dalla Chiesa di S. Girolamo al palazzo La Lumia e dell’Addolorata che viene accompagnata in una Chiesa del centro storico. "

I found this info about Pasqua (Easter)in Licata from Pasqua in Sicilia.  You can read the rest of the article there.

The photo is from my cousin Rosario in Licata taken 10 years ago. He was part of the group participating in the procession. He shared some photos with my dad and I came across this one. It really takes you to this tradition that has been happening for generations. I'm in awe looking at the crowd of people that runs deep all the way throughout Licata.
0

Banana Pear Bread with Dark Chocolate Chips

Banana Pear Bread with Dark Chocolate Chips

It is Easter week and we are getting prepared to bake incredible Easter breads and Italian desserts. I love to bake layers cakes, yeast bread recipes and pies. Especially special breads and pies for the holidays. For the rest of the days when I'm craving a not too sweet dessert, you will find me baking a moist and wonderful banana bread.

Banana breads are so easy to put together and can be made in so many different ways! I'm always buying extra bananas just to ensure I have some left to bake a banana bread. My kids love to have a slice warm right out of the oven for a treat and it's so perfect for breakfast with a hot cup of coffee.

Banana Pear Bread with Dark Chocolate Chips

Banana Pear Bread with Dark Chocolate Chips

For this banana bread, I added a lovely ripe Bosc pear I had on hand and a handful of dark chocolate chips. You could add whatever type of chocolate chips you prefer. This bread is moist and fragrant from the lovely ripe bananas and the gorgeous pear. It was difficult to wait for it to cool down and slice that first beautiful slice!

Banana Pear Bread with Dark Chocolate Chips

Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 cups of flour (I sometimes add 1/2 whole wheat and no one knows the difference)
  2. 1 tsp sea salt
  3. 1 tsp baking soda
  4. 1 cup mashed bananas (about 3-4 very ripe)
  5. 1 bosc pear, peeled and cut into chunks
  6. 3/4 cup sugar
  7. 1 egg
  8. 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  9. 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  10. 2 tablespoons of sour cream (you could sub Greek yogurt)
Instructions
  1. Mash the bananas in a bowl. Mix the egg with the sugar and oil and stir into the bananas. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, sea salt (regular salt is fine too), baking soda.
  2. Add the dry ingredients to the banana mixture.
  3. Fold in the pear pieces and the chocolate chips.
  4. Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes and lower temperature to 250 F and bake for about another 25-30 minutes.
16

Orange Poppy-Seed Cake- {Ciambella ai Semi di Papavero all'Arancia}

Orange Poppy-Seed Cake

Way back when I didn't know any thing about food blogs, I used to only refer to my cooking magazines for inspiration and ideas. This orange poppy-seed cake is one of those early recipes that was just a staple in my kitchen. I normally made the lemon version.

It just had this tangy sweetness that was irresistible! I thought I was quite a baker whenever I would see the positive responses of my friends and families after they took that first bite of my cake. I thought it was funny that they were so impressed because the cake was so easy to put together! Who knew that years later I would start to write a baking blog and document my baking adventures. This cake was from an old issue of Bon Appetit magazine. I know I still have it around here somewhere in my recipe piles!
Orange Poppy-Seed Cake


This is still a cake that I love to bake! My kids love it...my friends love it. Everyone is happy when I bake this gorgeous ciambella (ring cake).

Orange Poppy-Seed Cake


Recipe slightly adapted from a Bon Appetit recipe.

 Orange Poppy-Seed Cake

Ingredients
  1. 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  3. 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh orange zest (use organic orange if possible}
  4. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  5. 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  6. 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  7. 2 large eggs
  8. 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  9. 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  10. 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Butter a tube pan.(I like to use baking spray)
  3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, orange zest, and salt in a bowl.
  4. Beat together butter and granulated sugar in another bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in eggs until combined. Reduce speed to low, then add flour mixture and poppy seeds and mix until just combined.
  5. Transfer batter to cake pan, smoothing top, and bake until a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean and top is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack 5 minutes, then invert onto rack.
  6. Whisk together confectioners sugar and orange juice in a bowl until smooth (add more confectioner's sugar or juice a teaspoon at a time if it's too thick or too thin until you get desired consistency). Pour glaze over warm cake, spreading it with a spatula to drizzle over edge. Let stand until glaze is set, about 15 minutes.
  7. Serve warm or at room temperature.

9

Colpo di fulmine: Love at first sight!


Colpo di fulmine: Love at first sight

We know it's not Valentine's Day...but we wanted to talk a quick minute about this fun Italian phrase:
Colpo di Fulmine



Colpo di fulmine means love at first sight! But it literally means a lightning strike. So it's like you were struck by love! It's as if love struck you unexpectedly and even as powerfully as a lightning bolt would.

I think this quote explains it perfectly:

“Colpo di fulmine. The thunderbolt, as Italians call it. When love strikes someone like lightning, so powerful and intense it can’t be denied. It’s beautiful and messy, cracking a chest open and spilling their soul out for the world to see. It turns a person inside out, and there’s no going back from it. Once the thunderbolt hits, your life is irrevocably changed.”



― J.M. Darhower, Sempre



Now you have a new Italian term to add to your repertoire: colpo di fulmine!

Have you every experienced a "colpo di fulmine"? Tell us about it in a comment!
1

Pesce d'Aprile-April Fool's Day!

Pesce d'Aprile-April Fool's Day

April 1st is known as pesce d'Aprile in Italy! It's a day of practical jokes and plenty of silliness! Who knows really why a fish is part of this day and all of the funny hoaxes?

The traditional pesce d'Aprile joke consists of a kid attaching a fish cutout with tape to someone's back. The conversation then proceeds like this:

L'hai visto? - Have you seen him?


Chi?— Who?

Il pesce d'Aprile!- The April Fool


Then plenty of loud chuckling and belly-aching laughs ensue while the pesce d'Aprile tries to remove the fish cutout and tape it on another victim! Silly Italian humor that is quite irresistible!



There are plenty of terms including the word "pesce" in Italian. Here is a list of some of them from About:



  • buttarsi a pesce — to make a dive for, to begin an activity with enthusiasm

  • chi dorme non piglia pesce — the early bird catches the worm

  • i pesci grossi mangiano i piccini — the big fish eat the small fry

  • non sapere che pesci pigliare — to be at one's wits' end (or at a loss), not to know which way to turn

  • pesce grosso — bigwig, big shot

  • trattare a pesci in faccia — to mistreat, to humiliate

  • un pesce fuor d'acqua — a fish out of water

  • un pesce lesso — a boring person

So what are you waiting for?!? Even if you aren't in Italy, you could make a fish cutout and join in the pesce d'Aprile antics! Laughter is a great therapy;)




There are actually some jokes that have marked the history of this day in Italy. Here are some of them:



-The most ancient joke in Italy is that of the announcement made by Buoncompagno from Florence in the XIII century when he promised to fly over the town of Bologna with a machine he invented on April 1st. The whole population gathered to see the flight, which actually never took place as it was a trick.

-In March 1878 the Gazzetta d'Italia, an Italian newspaper, announced that people from Florence could have watched the cremation of an Indian mahraja but they never saw it as some people came out of a bush shouting "pesce d'aprile" exactly when the coming of the hearse was expected.

-In 1967 a leaflet from URFA, an office in charge of rescuing abandoned cats, announced that starting from that moment cats were banned from the town. Some people also started to abandon their cats.

-In 2001 the newspaper La Stampa announced that some complex forms of biological life, huge worms, existed on Mars and that they had left their traces on our planet.

In the same day the newspaper La Repubblica announced a Finnish experiment on telepathy. According to a non-existent scientist telepathy would have soon become a human mental faculty.

Italians like having fun and playing tricks on this day in which everything is accepted. Therefore, if you ever go to Italy on April 1st don't get surprised of hearing the famous motto of the day "pesce d'aprile" and being played a joke upon.

- See more at: http://www.lifeinitaly.com/culture/april-fools-day#sthash.hjsfGmij.dpuf




There are actually some jokes that have marked the history of this day in Italy. Here are some of them:



-The most ancient joke in Italy is that of the announcement made by Buoncompagno from Florence in the XIII century when he promised to fly over the town of Bologna with a machine he invented on April 1st. The whole population gathered to see the flight, which actually never took place as it was a trick.

-In March 1878 the Gazzetta d'Italia, an Italian newspaper, announced that people from Florence could have watched the cremation of an Indian mahraja but they never saw it as some people came out of a bush shouting "pesce d'aprile" exactly when the coming of the hearse was expected.

-In 1967 a leaflet from URFA, an office in charge of rescuing abandoned cats, announced that starting from that moment cats were banned from the town. Some people also started to abandon their cats.

-In 2001 the newspaper La Stampa announced that some complex forms of biological life, huge worms, existed on Mars and that they had left their traces on our planet.

In the same day the newspaper La Repubblica announced a Finnish experiment on telepathy. According to a non-existent scientist telepathy would have soon become a human mental faculty.

Italians like having fun and playing tricks on this day in which everything is accepted. Therefore, if you ever go to Italy on April 1st don't get surprised of hearing the famous motto of the day "pesce d'aprile" and being played a joke upon.

- See more at: http://www.lifeinitaly.com/culture/april-fools-day#sthash.hjsfGmij.dpuf




There are actually some jokes that have marked the history of this day in Italy. Here are some of them:



-The most ancient joke in Italy is that of the announcement made by Buoncompagno from Florence in the XIII century when he promised to fly over the town of Bologna with a machine he invented on April 1st. The whole population gathered to see the flight, which actually never took place as it was a trick.

-In March 1878 the Gazzetta d'Italia, an Italian newspaper, announced that people from Florence could have watched the cremation of an Indian mahraja but they never saw it as some people came out of a bush shouting "pesce d'aprile" exactly when the coming of the hearse was expected.

-In 1967 a leaflet from URFA, an office in charge of rescuing abandoned cats, announced that starting from that moment cats were banned from the town. Some people also started to abandon their cats.

-In 2001 the newspaper La Stampa announced that some complex forms of biological life, huge worms, existed on Mars and that they had left their traces on our planet.

In the same day the newspaper La Repubblica announced a Finnish experiment on telepathy. According to a non-existent scientist telepathy would have soon become a human mental faculty.

Italians like having fun and playing tricks on this day in which everything is accepted. Therefore, if you ever go to Italy on April 1st don't get surprised of hearing the famous motto of the day "pesce d'aprile" and being played a joke upon.

- See more at: http://www.lifeinitaly.com/culture/april-fools-day#sthash.hjsfGmij.dpuf




There are actually some jokes that have marked the history of this day in Italy. Here are some of them:



-The most ancient joke in Italy is that of the announcement made by Buoncompagno from Florence in the XIII century when he promised to fly over the town of Bologna with a machine he invented on April 1st. The whole population gathered to see the flight, which actually never took place as it was a trick.

-In March 1878 the Gazzetta d'Italia, an Italian newspaper, announced that people from Florence could have watched the cremation of an Indian mahraja but they never saw it as some people came out of a bush shouting "pesce d'aprile" exactly when the coming of the hearse was expected.

-In 1967 a leaflet from URFA, an office in charge of rescuing abandoned cats, announced that starting from that moment cats were banned from the town. Some people also started to abandon their cats.

-In 2001 the newspaper La Stampa announced that some complex forms of biological life, huge worms, existed on Mars and that they had left their traces on our planet.

In the same day the newspaper La Repubblica announced a Finnish experiment on telepathy. According to a non-existent scientist telepathy would have soon become a human mental faculty.

Italians like having fun and playing tricks on this day in which everything is accepted. Therefore, if you ever go to Italy on April 1st don't get surprised of hearing the famous motto of the day "pesce d'aprile" and being played a joke upon.

- See more at: http://www.lifeinitaly.com/culture/april-fools-day#sthash.hjsfGmij.dpuf

0

Sicilian Orange Sweet Bread -Pane di Pasqua #TwelveLoaves

Sicilian Orange Sweet Bread

When another challenge for #TwelveLoaves comes around, I'm always a little nervous. Maybe not nervous, but sort of anxious. I sometimes think I know exactly what to bake and it involves yeast. I also sometimes think I'm really going to go the much easier route and do a non-yeast bread. I am in love with this Sicilian Orange Sweet Bread...let me tell you the story!

I love baking bread! I love baking yeast breads. I love baking quick breads! Obviously, the quick breads are much easier to put together. There are so many variations in quick bread recipes and a very tempting part in making them is the ease and speed! I'm not saying I'm not ever going to do a quick bread type of recipe for the #TwelveLoaves challenges. For now, I'm still experimenting with yeast recipes.

So far our theme of Oranges, I knew it had to be something for Easter. There are different types of breads that are wonderful for Easter and I've shared a couple here: a gorgeous Italian Easter wreath and these guti di pasqua.
Sicilian Orange Sweet Bread


Here is our fantastic April-Oranges breads from the incredible #TwelveLoaves bakers:

Sicilian Orange Sweet Bread

#TwelveLoaves April: Oranges. The month of March was filled with gorgeous strawberry breads! We have chosen ORANGES for our April theme! Choose a recipe including oranges. Your bread of choice recipe must include in the recipe: oranges, orange marmalade, orange zest. In addition to being in the dough, it could also be added to a glaze. Whatever you bake, (yeasted, quick bread, crackers, muffins, braids, flatbreads, etc) have fun and let's have a delicious month of bread with ORANGES. Let's get baking!

If you’d like to add your bread to the collection with the Linky Tool this month, here’s what you need to do!

1. When you post your Twelve Loaves bread on your blog, make sure that you mention the Twelve Loaves challenge in your blog post; this helps us to get more members as well as share everyone's posts. Please make sure that your bread is inspired by the theme!

2. Please link your post to the linky tool at the bottom of my blog. It must be a bread baked to the Twelve Loaves theme.

3. Have your Twelve Loaves bread that you baked this April, 2014, and posted on your blog by April 30, 2014.

#TwelveLoaves is a monthly bread baking party created by Lora from Savoring Italy.


Sicilian Orange Sweet Bread

When I found this bread recipe that inspired me, I was going to bake it in a round cake pan with the removable bottom. I was looking around my kitchen frustrated because the bottom of the pan wasn't closing correctly and the dough was ready to go to the next phase. I found some panettone papers that I picked up on sale at Sur la Table. I'm still dreaming of baking a panettone since before Christmas. I tossed the dough into the paper and I said a little prayer. It wasn't looking as puffy as it was minutes before in the bowl. I really thought that something had gone wrong and that the dough would never fill my paper even halfway. I covered it and walked away and I didn't even peak while it was rising. I waited and waited and then....whoa!!


The magical thing happened that all bread bakers hope for when working with yeast: this bread rose and it rose to beautiful proportions! See, I added orange marmalade to the recipe and the dough was a little wet. I had to add a little flour as I was combining it and I thought I messed around too much with this dough. I didn't want to give up total hope, but I was prepared mentally to start a different bread the next day.


My husband saw me take it out of the oven and told me I needed to hang it upside down to cool or it will it will deflate.  I explained to Fabrizio that this isn't a panettone recipe. I just happened to use my panettone paper and it is actually a challah dough recipe! No butter, but vegetable oil. I did use the almond topping the baker suggests with this recipe. It wasn't very thick and it does drizzle around the sides. I wiped the sides of my bread. I happened to have pearl sugar and tossed some of that on top too! This is my riff on an Italian Colomba. My sort of faux-panettone.

It really is not much like a panettone, other than the paper mould. But this IS a quite fabulous yeast bread; a very wonderful bread for Easter or any time. Plenty of orange hints throughout the bread (with some bites you get an orange marmalade surprise!). But as my daughter said, a slice very warm is much better with a lovely spreading of Nutella;)

This bread is inspired by a recipe by Paul Hollywood: author of the book Bread.

 Sicilian Orange Sweet Bread

Ingredients
  1. For the dough
  2. 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  3. 1 cup warm water (no more than 110°F [43°C])
  4. 1/3 cup sugar
  5. 4 1/2 to 5 cups bread flour, or 5 1/2 to 6 cups bleached all-purpose flour
  6. 3 eggs
  7. 1/4 cup peanut, corn, or canola oil
  8. 2 tsp salt
  9. finely grated zest of one orange
  10. juice of 1/2 orange
  11. 1/4 cup candied orange peel
  12. 1/2 cup orange marmalade
  13. for the topping
  14. 2 medium egg whites
  15. 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  16. 1/4 cup ground almonds
  17. 1/4 cup flaked almonds
  18. 1/4 cup pearl sugar
Instructions
  1. In a mixer, with a dough hook attachment, add the warm water and yeast. Mix until blended. Add the sugar and mix about a minute. Slowly mix in 1 cup of the flour until combined. Mix in the eggs one at a time until they are combined. Add another 2 cups of the flour, oil, salt, orange zest, orange juice and candied orange peel. Mix together on medium-low speed stopping the machine to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Slowly add the rest of the flour and mix until combined. Stop the machine as you add each cup of the flour to scrape the sides of the bowl and incorporate the flour. Mix on low speed for about 3 minutes until dough is incorporated. Be sure to give your mixer a break and as you don’t want to burn it out. Add flour if needed 1 tablespoon at a time. The dough will be a little sticky but also firm.
  2. Take dough out of mixer bowl, form into a ball and coat with a light film of canola oil.
  3. Form the dough into a ball and place into an oiled bowl (when I put the dough in the bowl I swish the dough around the bottom of the bowl and then flip it over so all of the dough is covered in a light film of oil). Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise at room temperature until doubled in size (about 1-1 1/2 hours).
  4. While dough is rising, in a small bowl stir together the egg whites, powdered sugar and ground almonds.
  5. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  6. Punch down the dough. Gently incorporate the orange marmalade into the dough. (I added it in spoonfuls. I added a spoon at a time kneading along after each addition, trying to keep the marmalade within the dough and not around the outside of the dough.) I added a little flour at the end and gave it one final knead into a ball.
  7. Add the dough to your panettone baking paper or 9-inch round cake pan with a removable bottom. Let the dough rise until it reaches the top of the pan (or panettone paper).
  8. Bake the bread for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove the bread. Spoon on the almond topping. Some of it may drip down the sides (you can carefully wipe it with a paper towel). Sprinkle on the flaked almonds and pearl sugar.
  9. Lower the heat to 350 F and return the bread to the oven. Continue baking for about another 15-20 minutes. The bread should be golden brown. Ovens may vary so check your bread after 15 minutes to see how it’s doing. You test if it’s done by tapping the bottom of the loaf. If it sounds hollow, it needs a bit more time.
  10. Remove bread. Let it cool and serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

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