Pandolce Genovese

GENOESE SWEET BREAD

A delicious bread from the Genoa area of Italy, Pandolce Genovese (pan-dawl-chey jen-oh-vay-zey) is flavoured with pine and pistachio nuts and fennel. Serve with unsaltcd butter.

ONE

22-POUND LOAF

1 oz. fresh yeast

6 oz. plus teaspoon sugar

14 fl. oz. lukewarm milk

2 lb. flour

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons orange-flower water

3 oz. butter, melted

2 oz. pine nuts

2 oz. pistachio nuts

6 oz. raisins, soaked in

1 tablespoons Marsala for minutes and drained

2 teaspoons fennel seeds, crushed

2 teaspoon aniseed, crushed

2 oz. candied citron, chopped

2 oz. candied lemon peel, chopped grated rind of 1 orange

Crumble the yeast into a small bowl and i

1 mash in the ½ teaspoon of sugar with a kitchen fork. Add 4 tablespoons of the milk and cream the milk and yeast together. Set the bowl aside in a warm, draught-free place for 15 to 20 minutes or until the yeast mixture is puffed up and frothy.

Sift the flour, salt and remaining sugar into a warmed, large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast mixture, the remaining milk and the orange-flower water. Add the melted butter and, using your fingers or a spatula, gradually draw the flour mixture into the liquid. Continue mixing until all the flour is incorporated and the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.

Turn the dough out on to a floured board or marble slab and knead it for 10 minutes, reflouring the surface if the dough becomes sticky. The dough should be elastic and smooth.

Rinse, thoroughly dry and lightly grease the large mixing bowl. Shape the dough into a ball and return it to the bowl.

Cover the bowl with a clean damp cloth and set it aside in a warm, draught-free place. Leave it for 1 to lh hours, or until the dough has risen and almost doubled in bulk.

Turn the risen dough out on to a floured surface. Using your fingers, push out the dough until it forms a square about 2-inch thick. Sprinkle over the pine nuts, pistachio nuts, raisins, fennel seeds, aniseed, citron, candied lemon peel and orange rind. Roll up the dough Swiss roll fashion. Push the dough into a square again, and using the heel of your hand flatten it out to about 1-inch thick.

Roll up the dough Swiss roll fashion again.

Shape the dough into a round and place it on a large baking sheet. Return the dough to a warm draught-free place for 1 hour or until it has almost doubled in bulk.

Preheat the oven to fairly hot 375 F (Gas Mark 5, 190 C).

Using a sharp pointed knife, make three cuts in the top of the dough to make a triangular shape.

Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake the bread for

20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to warm

325 F (Gas MARK 3,

170 C) and bake the bread for a further

1 hour.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Tip the bread off the baking sheet and rap the underside with your knuckles. If the bread sounds hollow, like a drum, it is cooked. If it does not sound hollow, return the bread, upside-down, to the oven and bake for a further 10 minutes. Leave the bread on a wire rack to cool completely before serving.

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