02 February, 2010

A rose by any other name...


"What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;"

Ok, hold on. No roses in sight, but these cookies smelled so good, the sweet chocolate-orange-rum scent stayed around my home all day long.

You know, I rarely buy cookbooks, because I'm often disappointed by them in one way or another. So I have no idea what attracted me to this book called "DOLCI, Manuale prattico di pasticceria", I really don't. It even cost more than I usually want to spend for a book, but somehow I was inspired to buy it and I did. And it certainly wasn't the picture on the cover, no matter how attractive most people will find that one, it's not my kind of sweets.
Whatever it was that forced me to buy the book, instinct maybe, I was in love with it from the moment I started reading it. I was reading it avidly like you would do with a novel.
And in fact this isn't just a collection of recipes. But it is neither one of those books that tell stories and add a recipe or two in between. It is a manual, all right, but told in a wonderful way. It's not just a series of instructions and procedures, but lots of explanations as of why and how something happens, the processes that certain ingredients undergo during whipping or baking, etc. Trust me, it's not boring as it may sound reading my words. Because in the end it leads to creation of something wonderful, and if not perfect, very close to perfect.
G. Pina, a world famous pastry chef (I only learned that after I bought the book), has a very appealing way of talking about this creative science (yes, he calls this science). No need to say he turned my world upside down. I found out how many things I've been doing in a wrong way, he told me what I can do to make my cakes taste and look better. Everything is spiced with advice and tricks that professionals use. And every page breaths with joy of baking as a phylosophy.
My favourite line in the book, is from the introduction when he says that you will have accomplished your mission, when you manage to see the childish glow in the eyes of people any age, while eating what you have baked, that glow that's half way between enthusiastic and dreaming.




And this is the first recipe from this book I've tried so far. It took me one month and some courage to start :))))
I think my daughter's words present them much better than I could ever do: (on her third trip to the kitchen) "Mom, this time, you did a really good job. You know what, I'll take two so I don't have to go to the kitchen all the time. As a matter of fact, I'll take one for my dad as well, I'm sure he'll like them too."
The credit goes to the recipe, trust me. Perfect, simply perfect. I've never eaten a cookie that's been this crumbly, and at the same time melting in your mouth. The chef says it's because of the addition of hard boiled yolks, something that you'll never achieve with raw eggs (his words, not mine).
I'm sure that even looking at this picture only, you can imagine very well their taste, can't you?
As for the flavours and scents, chocolate (cocoa), orange and rum together are simply gorgeous. The chef also suggests to substitute 5 gramms of almonds with 5 gramms of ground ginger for a very particular combination. I'm trying it next time, definitely, I love ginger.
It will take me forever to try all the recipes that I like in this book, but at least I've started.


CHOCO-FLOWERS
*by Giovanni Pina

150 g butter
55 g powdered sugar
50 g hard boiled egg yolks
25 g bitter cocoa
50 g ground almonds (or substitute half almonds with ground hazelnuts)
100 g AP flour
40 g milk
1 orange
5 g rum

*Boil whole eggs (1 egg yolk is about 20 g, so you'll need 3 eggs) – 8 minutes from the moment the water starts boiling, let them cool and then take the yolks out. Take 50 g and press them through a fine mash strainer.
*Work the butter, the egg yolks, the sugar and the finely grated orange zest without whipping it (I used the wooden spoon, not the electric mixer) until you get a homogeneous mixture.
*Add the milk and the rum and continue stirring.


*In a separate bowl sift the flour and the cocoa together, mix them with the ground almonds (I used both almonds and hazelnuts, previously toasted in the oven for 7 minutes at 180°C).
*Mix the dry ingredients with the butter and egg mixture and work shortly, just enough to absorb the dry ingredients and bring everything together.
*Wrap the dough in a piece of baking paper (the chef says baking paper is better than plastic foil because it lets to dough breathe, I followed his advice) and let the dough chill for about 1 hour in the fridge, until it's firm again.

*Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to 5 mm thick and cut the cookies with a round flower shaped cookie cutter (it was supposed to be 2 cm, but I only have a 5 cm wide one), and then make a whole in the middle with a small, 1/2 cm, round cutter. There are the cutters that do both of these together, I've been meaning to order one for ages now.
*Place the cookies on a baking sheet (greased or lined with baking paper) and bake for 15 minutes at 180°C.

*Let them cool completely before storing them in an airtight container.


Da una ricetta perfetta, come questa del maestro G. Pina, non potevano uscire dei biscotti meno perfetti. Friabilità unica (che secondo lui si ottiene solo con i tuorli sodi), non ho mai mangiato un biscotto così buono, profumato, che semplicemente si scioglie in bocca. Il profumo che ha invaso non solo la cucina ma tutta la casa.
Insomma, io mi sono innamorata del suo libro. E quante ricette da provare. Quante cose da imparare. Mi sembra che tutto quello che facevo finora era sbagliato. Sto imparando, di nuovo, e non mi dispiace per niente.

FIORI (CORONE) DI CIOCCOLATO
*di Giovanni Pina

150 g burro
55 g zucchero a velo
50 g tuorli sodi
25 g cacao amaro
50 g mandorle tritate (oppure 25 g mandorle e 25 g di nocciole)
100 g farina 00 (W 150-160)
40 g latte
1 arancia
5 g rum

*Cuocete le uova in abbondante acqua salata per 8 minuti (1 tuorlo pesa circa 20 g, quindi preparate 3 uova), lasciatele raffreddare e prelevate i tuorli. Pesate i 50 g e passateli a un setaccio a maglia fitta.
*Amalgamate il burro ammorbidito, i tuorli, lo zucchero a velo e la scorza grattugiata di arancia, senza montare (io l'ho fatto con un cucchiaio di legno, fino a ottenere un composto liscio e omogeneo.
*Unite il latte e il rum mescolando.
*Mescolate e setacciate insieme la farina, il cacao e le mandorle (io ho messo le mandorle e le nocciole, tostate per 7 minuti a 180°C e poi tritate molto fine).
*Unite gli ingredienti secchi al composto di burro lavorando l'impasto solo quanto basta per far assorbire le polveri.
*Avvolgete la pasta in un foglio di carta da forno e lasciatelo rapprendere nel frigorifero (circa un ora).
*Quando la pasta è di nuovo compatta, stendetela con un mattarello fino a raggiungere uno spessore di 4 mm sulla superficie leggermente infarinata. Con uno tagliapasta capettato del diametro di 2 cm ritagliate dei biscotti, e togliete la parte centrale utilizzando uno tagliapasta liscio del diametro di 0,5 cm (il mio tagliapasta e del diametro 5 cm, ecco perché non ho ottenuto delle coroncine ma dei fiorellini). Tutto è più semplice se avete uno tagliapasta per i canestrelli.
*Disponete i biscotti su teglie imburrate o rivestite con carta da forno e cuocete per 15 minuti a 180°C nel forno statico o 150°C nel forno ventilato.



Recept je jednostavno savršen, keksi su prhki i tope se u ustima, a kuća je, vjerujte mi, mirisala cijeli dan na čokoladu, naranču i rum.
Moja je kći rekla da sam ovaj put obavila odličan posao, dok se po treći put vraćala po "još jedan keks" i na kraju odlučila uzeti odmah dva, da ne mora stalno ići naprijed nazad (njene riječi:))))).

ČOKO CVJETIĆI

150 g maslaca
55 g šećera u prahu
50 g tvrdo kuhanih žumanjaka
25 g gorkog kakaa
50 g mljevenih badema (ili pola badema pola lješnjaka)
100 g mekog brašna
40 g mlijeka
1 naranča
5 g ruma


*Skuhajte cijela jaja (1 žumanjak je otprilike 20 g, dakle skuhajte 3 jaja) – 8 minuta od trenutka vrenja, ohladite ih i izvadite žumanjke. Odmjerite 50 g i protisnite ih kroz gusto cjedilo.
*Drvenom kuhačom miješajte u zdjeli maslac sobne temperature, šećer u prahu, žumanjke i sitno naribanu koricu naranče. Miješajte da dobijete ujednačenu smjesu.
*Dodajte mlijeko i rum i dalje miješjući.
*Posebno prosijte brašno i kakao, umiješajte i mljevene bademe (ja sam stavila i bademe i lješnjake).
Pomiješajte dvije smjese i izradite tek toliko koliko je potrebno da se svi sastojci povežu.
*Tijesto omotajte prozirnom folijom ili papirom za pečenje i ostavite u hladnjaku oko 1 sat, dok nije dovoljno čvrsto da se može razvaljati.
*Razvaljajte tijesto na malo pobrašnjenoj podlozi na 5 mm debljine i vadite okruglim kalupom u obliku cvijeta kekse (trebali su biti promjera 2 cm, ali ja imam samo kalup promjera 5 cm), manjim okruglim kalupom promjera 0,5 cm napravite rupicu u sredini (idealni su oni kalupići za vanilice koji rade odmah obje operacije).
*Stavljajte kekse na pleh obložen papirom za pečenje i pecite 15 minuta u pećnici zagrijanoj na 180°C.


19 comments:

  1. assolutamente perfetti..da mangiare uno dopo l'altro..uhm brava!!!!e baci

    ReplyDelete
  2. VERY interesting, I never would have thought of using boiled yolks in a cookie... I am going to have to try these. Maybe I can adapt the technique into some of my other cookies and see what happens :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. mi stai facendo tornar la voglia di fare i biscottini_!! che bella ricetta!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Chocolate orange rum you say? I'm sold! They look lovely.

    ReplyDelete
  5. * Grazie, Scarlet. Hai proprio ragione, mia figlia ha detto la stessa cosa.

    *I was thinking the same thing, Shane, and do try these, you won't regret.

    * Micaela, per questi biscotti ne vale la pena ricominciare :))))

    *A perfect combo, Bob, isn't it?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Već sam ih vidjela na coolinariki i mogu rteći samo da su prekrasni. Već sam probala neke Lincere s kuhanim žumanjcima i vjerujem ti da su ovi izvrsni. Sastojci mirišu....mmmm...

    ReplyDelete
  7. Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose. These cookies look great!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wow boiled egg yolk in a cookie – never thought of that! These cookies look amazing.

    ReplyDelete
  9. these look fantastic! I want one of those cookie cutters. A compliment such as the one your daughter gave you is worth millions!! very sweet

    ReplyDelete
  10. vec vidim da sastojci obecavaju savrsene keksice!!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Che meraviglia ! Devo proprio cercare il libro !!

    ReplyDelete
  12. che belli e immagino troppo buoni questi biscotti... li divorerei tutti ;) sei sempre bravissima dajana un abbraccio

    ReplyDelete
  13. Just gorgeous--I can almost taste them! Interesting addition with the egg yolk. Does it help change the consistency?

    Btw, your photo is fantastic. I'll bet Foodgawker will love that one. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  14. *Cathy, I was very disappointed, they turned the photo down because "dull/lighting issue". WTH!
    The consistency of the cookies benefits greatly from the use of boiled yolks.
    * Thanks, everyone, hope you give them a try, your loss if you don't:)))))
    * Natalia, se trovi il libro, compralo senza pensarci due volte, per me è divantato la "bibbia" della pasticceria.
    * Grazie, Pasquy, davvero troppo buoni
    *Hvala vam, drage Snježo i Jasenka. Dobar se recept prepoznaje po sastojcima, istina je :)))

    ReplyDelete
  15. very cool and interesting to add hard boiled egg yolks aw it was cute what your daughter said as well

    ReplyDelete
  16. kako su prekrasni ovi keksići.. mogu točno zamisliti miris

    ReplyDelete
  17. Molto molto belli.. e chissà che buoni anche...
    Matteo

    ReplyDelete
  18. Sjajan recept,već sam osmislila sta ću sa njime.Svidja mi se i novi izgled bloga!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Wow! I've never tried hard boiled egg yolks. I'll have to give this a shot! These are so very cute and so are your daughter's comments on your cookies! :)

    ReplyDelete

Hi, Welcome to my blog. I love hearing your feedback, so don't hesitate to say what you think, or ask any question, I'd be glad to help.

Benvenuti! Mi fa piacere che vi siete fermati qui. Se vi va, lasciatemi un commento, una domanda, o altro, li leggerò con piacere.

Hvala vam na posjeti. Volim pročitati vaše mišljenje, stoga je svaki dobronamjeran komentar dobro došao kao i pitanja i nedoumice. Trudit ću se odgovoriti svima.