28 November, 2012

Chickpeas flour focaccia with rosemary and garlic

Chickpeas flour focaccia with rosemary and garlic

I wake up at night at the very first squeeking sound coming from the baby's cot. Without even turning the light on, I take him in my arms and while he's peacefully suckling his milk in an almost completely dark room I glance to my left. Taking advantage of their father being away, the two princesses decided to occupy my bed. I feel like a hen, with all my chicken surrounding me, looking for a little warmth on my side. A couple hours still till dawn, I might manage to sleep for a couple more sweet hours before the next feeding.
If only everything was so peaceful and quiet as the nights, and never mind the fact that I don't even remember what's it like to sleep all night.
The morning instead is grey and cold, it rained all night and doesn't seem like there's even hope it will stop any time soon.
Armed with the baby in one arm and the umbrella in the other, it's time to start a new day.
I swear, one of these days I'll wake up like Hulk. I'm pumping up my arm muscles... and if I don't get any hand made Belgian chocolates tonight to compansate for taking care of three kids and a dog alone for four days, I'll turn green for sure... and those speculoos moulds, too, darling!!!

The best and most useful cure for a stressful, gloomy day is to bake some bread, of course. Don't you agree?
And of course, during these three months and a half I didn't forget my other "baby", the one that sits quietly in the fridge, waiting to be caressed and fed. My sourdough baby is still giving me great satisfaction.
This recipe was originally with fresh yeast but I tried making it with the sourdough starter and it turned out great. Soft and aromatic with rosemary and garlic. I'll pass on the glass of wine, for now, but you feel free get one.
Have a nice day ahead!

Adding this recipe to Girlichef's November Bread basket

Chickpeas flour focaccia with rosemary and garlic

Chickpeas flour focaccia with rosemary and garlic

* 250 g wheat flour (white or whole grain or mixed)
* 75 g chickpea flour
* about 200 ml water
* 100 g sourdough starter with 100% humidity (or 12 g fresh yeast or 3,5 g dry yeast)
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 rosemary twig
* 2 cloves of garlic
* 3-4 TBspoons extra virgin olive oil

Dissolve the sourdough starter in water.
Add gradually the two flours that you previously mixed and sifted together, as well as the salt. Knead everything together to get soft, elastic dough. Place it in a clean bowl, cover and let rise for at least 3 hours.
In the meantime chop finely the rosemary leaves with garlic. Mix them with 3-4 TBspoons of good EVOO, warm up lightly and set aside to cool.
Take the dough, add 1/3 of the aromatic oil and knead well again until the dough has absorbed all the oil and has become smooth again. Cover and let rise again for at least 1 hour.
Flatten the dough with your hands on a slightly oiled baking sheet to 1,5 cm thick.
Pour a little lukewarm water on top and the remaining aromatic oil. Mix the two and spread with your hands all over the surface. Then push your fingers energetically into the dough to form the characteristic faucets on top.
Let the focaccia rest again for 45 to 60 minutes and then bake in an oven preheated to 200°C for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Let it cool on a cooling rack and then cut and enjoy with some cheese and olives or simply to accompany a meal, especially soups.
*note: if using fresh or dry yeast, dissolve it in water first and proceed in the same way as described, letting the dough rise for shorter time, of course: 1,5 hours the first time and 30 minutes the second and third.

Chickpeas flour focaccia with rosemary and garlic

Focaccia con la farina di ceci al aglio e rosmarino

* 250 g farina di grano (bianca o integrale o mista)
* 75 g farina di ceci
* circa 200 ml di acqua
* 100 g di lievito madre con 100% di umidità (oppure 12 g di lievito di birra fresco)
* 1 cucchiaino di sale
* 1 ranetti di rosmarino
* 2 spicchi d'aglio
* olio extra vergine d'oliva

Mettete il lievito madre precedentemente rinfrescato in una ciotola, aggiungete l'acqua e mescolate con la mano o con una frusta a mano per scioglierlo.
Mescolate e setacciate insieme le due farine. Aggiungete gradualmente le farine e poi il sale. Impastate bene, formate una palla e lasciatela lievitare in una ciotola coperta per circa 3 ore.
Tritate molto finemente il rosmarino e l'aglio. Mescolateli con 3-4 cucchiai di olio EVO e scaldate un po'.
Quando l'olio si è raffreddato, aggiungete 1/3 alla pasta e impastate bene di nuovo, finché risulti di nuovo liscia e l'olio è ben assorbito.
Lasciate lievitare di nuovo per un'ora.
Stendete la pasta con le mani in una teglia leggermente oleata allo spessore di circa 1,5 cm.
Versate prima un po' di acqua tiepida e poi il restante olio al aglio e rosmarino sulla superficie della pasta stesa e spalmateli. Poi imprimete con le dita delle fossette premendo energicamente su tutta la superficie.
Lasciate lievitare adesso la focaccia per altri 45-60 minuti.
Infornatela a 200°C per 20 minuti o finché dorata.

*Se al posto del lievito madre usate il lievito di birra, fatelo prima sciogliere nel acqua tiepida e poi impastate con le farine. Potrebbe servirvi un po'di acqua in più. Lasciate lievitare l'impasto 1,5 h la prima volta e 30 minuti la seconda.

Chickpeas flour focaccia with rosemary and garlic

Focaccia od slanutkova brašna s ružmarinom i češnjakom

* 250 g pšeničnog brašna (bijelog, integralnog, ili miješanog)
* 75 g brašna od slanutka
* oko 200 ml vode
* 100 g kvasa sa 100% vlage (ili 12 g svježeg kvasca)
* 1 žličica soli
* 1 grančica ružmarina
* 2 češnja češnjaka
* maslinovo ulje

Osvježeni kvas stavite u zdjelu, dodajte mlačnu vodu i miješajte rukom ili vilicom da se kvas otopi.
Dodajite postepeno oba brašna, pomiješana i prosijana skupa. Kad ste već dodali polovicu brašna, dodajte sol.
Zamijesite meko i glatko tijesto koje se ne lijepi.
Stavite ga u zdjelu i ostavite na toplom oko 3 sata.
Ružmarin operite i posušite, pa sitno nasjeckajte listiće zajedno s očišćenim češnjakom.
Pomiješajte ružmarin i češnjak s 3-4 žlice maslinovog ulja pa zagrijte par minuta. Ostavite ulje da se prohladi.
Dodajte 1/3 ulja tijestu pa ga premijesite dok nije ponovno glatko i ulje je dobro upijeno.
Ostavite da se ponovno diže oko 1 sat.
Zatim tijesto rastanjite rukama na pleh na oko 1 do 1,5 cm debljine.
Na površinu ulijte malo vode i ulje s ružmarinom i češnjakom. Prvo dlanom pomiješajte i rasporedite ulje s vodom, a zatim vršcima prstiju napravite jamice pritiskajući energično tijesto po cijeloj površini.
Pokrijte focacciu i ostavite ponovno da se diže oko 45 - 60 minuta.
Pecite je u pećnici zagrijanoj na 200°C oko 20 minuta.
* Ako radite sa svježim kvascem, prvo ga otopite u mlačnoj vodi pa dalje zamijesite s brašnom. Prvi put ostavite tijesto da se diže 1 sat i 15 minuta, a zatim dva puta po 30 minuta.
* Ja sam stavila pola bijelo a pola integralno pšenično brašno

26 November, 2012

Torta Monferina with pumpkin and amaretti cookies


Long time no see, huh? You're right!
I've been absent for so long from my blog, that most people might have forgotten me? But you also know I've had a good reason for this hiatus.
My little man was born just six days after my last blog post. Beautiful and healthy, an angel baby that everyone could only dream of, but of course, a little baby is above all very time consuming. Not that I complain, on the contrary, I'm enjoying every second I'm spending with him. Confessing... probably enjoying him more than I did with my daughters... perhaps it has to do with the awareness that these moments will pass so quickly (my God, he's already 3 months old) and that I'll never live them again so intensly as now. You know how irresistible the sweet little face can be? How disarming the smile on that little face can be? Beautiful enough to make you forget that's it's been more than three months since last time you slept entire night.
However, I'm never sitting quietly during the day. Every moment I can steal during the mornings is dedicated to cooking and baking. Mornings, of course, because afternoons are frenetic as usual, and once we (me and the little one) have picked up his sisters from school, the house all of a sudden starts looking rather like a luna park.

I know I should stay away from sweets and snacks, but sometimes I just think I couldn't survive the day without that extra sugar charge. There's always time for a diet.
This cake is something that surprised me so positively. My first ever pumpkin cake, don't know if it's going to be the last as well, but it will sure stay on the very top. So tasty, moist, deliciously sweet, and yet you can gobble half of it and not feel heavy. Like, after each slice you feel like you could eat another one. That's more or less what happened when I made it for the first time. Was it the lack of self control or the cake is really so irresistible? You'll have to discover it for yourself. But whether you like pumpkin or not, you'll love this cake originally from Piedmont region, 'cause you won't even know it's there. Trust me, no one guessed the main ingredient.
There are actually many different recipes for Torta Monferina. Usually with apples only, or apples and pumpkin together, but what they all have in common is the addition of amaretti cookies, that add such a particular flavour to the cake, and being made with almonds, substitute the flour. This results in a cake that is so moist that it basicly melts in your mouth.

Torta Monferina with pumpkin and amaretti cookies

Torta Monferina with pumpkin and amaretti cookies

* 600 g pumpkin - butternut or similar
* 300 g amaretti cookies
* 150 g white wine (e.g. Moscato d'asti)
* 100 g sugar
* 4 eggs
* 40 g unsweetened coocoa
* 40 ml rum
* 4 teaspoons baking powder
* a little brown sugar for sprinkling

Peel and slice the pumpkin. Place it in a deep skillet, add wine and cook on low heat until it's so soft you can mash it with a fork. If necessary add a little water after all the wine's been absorbed/evaporated. Mash the pumpkin with a fork and set aside to cool.
Grind the amaretti cookies in a food processor, and then mix them with the mashed pumpkin.

Torta Monferina- preparation  Torta Monferina - preparation

Beat the eggs with sugar (you may reduce the quantity of sugar if your pumpkin's quite sweet) until pale. Mix in the pumpkin and amaretti mixture using a hand whisk or a wooden spoon. In the end, add the rum and baking powder sifted together with the cocoa.
Pour the batter into a 26 cm round spring form lined with baking paper.
Bake the cake in an oven preheated to 160°C for about 35 minutes. After approximately 20 minutes, take the cake out for a second and sprinkle the surface with brown sugar.
Let the cake cool in the pan, before cutting and serving.

Torta Monferina with pumpkin and amaretti cookies

Torta Monferina alla zucca e amaretti

* 600 g di zucca (butternut o piacentina)
* 300 g amaretti
* 150 g vino bianco (tipo Moscato d'asti)
* 100 g zucchero
* 4 uova
* 40 g cacao amaro
* 40 ml rum
* 1 bustina di lievito per dolci
* un po' di zucchero di canna

Pulite la zucca e tagliatela a fettine. Mettetela in una casseruola con il vino e fatela stufare a fuoco dolce finché diventi completamente morbida (se necessario, aggiungete un po' d'acqua, ma alla fine deve risultare morbida e abbastanza asciutta). Schiacciatela con una forchetta e lasciate raffreddare la purea.
Tritate gli amaretti e mescolateli alla purea di zucca.
Sbattete molto bene le uova con lo zucchero in una terrina usando uno sbattitore elettrico.
Unite la purea di zucca e amaretti mescolando con una frusta a mano o un cucchiaio di legno.
Alla fine aggiungete il rum e il lievito setacciato insieme al cacao. 
Versate l'impasto in uno stampo a cerniera di 26 cm di diametro.
Infornate la torta a 160°C per 35 minuti circa.  Verso metà cottura circa, estraete la torta per un'attimo e cospargete la superficie con lo zucchero di canna.
Lasciatela raffreddare nello stampo

Torta Monferina with pumpkin and amaretti cookies

Torta Monferina s bundevom i amarettima

* 600 g bundeve (očišćene)
* 300 g amaretta (keksića)
* 150 g bijelog vina
* 100 g šećera
* 4 jaja
* 40 g gorkog kakaa
* 40 ml ruma
* 1 vrećica praška za pecivo
* malo smeđeg šećera za posuti tortu

Očistite bundevu, ogulite koru i narežite je na ploške.
Stavite ploške bundeve kuhati zajedno s vinom na laganoj vatri dok se potpuno ne raskuha i pretvori u pire. Ako je potrebno dodajte i malo vode nakon što vino ispari.
Recept preporučuje Moscato d'Asti, ja ga nisam imala, stavila sam prošek.
Kad se pire od bundeve prohladi dodajte mu izmrvljene amarette i dobro izmiješajte.
Umutite jaja sa šećerom uz pomoć miksera (meni torta nije bila preslatka, ali ako svejedno volite manje slatko, možete slobodno smanjiti količinu šećera, naročito ako vam je bundeva dosta slatka).
Kad su jaja dobro umućena dodajte prvo pire od bundeve s amarettima i izmiješajte polako pjenjačom ili drvenom žlicom.
Dodajte zatim rum i na kraju kakao prosijan s praškom za pecivo.
Uspite smjesu u namašten i pobrašnjen okrugli kalup s obručem, promjera 26 cm.
Stavite peći tortu u pećnicu zagrijanu na 160°C oko 35 minuta. Na otprilike polovici pečenja, izvadite tortu na čas i pospite smeđim šećerom po površini.
Ostavite tortu da se ohladi u kalupu.


And this is my pumpkin pie... the recipe is a family secret, shhhhhhhhh!