Sunday, January 25, 2015

Pané Siciliano-We Knead to Bake #24

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While looking for a bit of history about Pané Siciliano, I came upon this quote, “Per noi, il pane è sacro”( For us, bread is sacred). A profound statement and so true of the Sicilians feelings regarding this festive bread served on December 13th, a day  celebrating the intervention of Saint Lucia during the famine of 1582. Legend has it that on that December day, ships filled with grain miraculously appeared in the harbor. Starving, the people had no time to grind the grain into flour, but boiled the grains immediately. From that day forward, no wheat flour was used on that day. Source

This Pané Siciliano recipe uses semolina flour exclusively, except for the biga, although I have seen recipes with some bread flour. By using all semolina, a crusty coarse grain bread is achieved, perfect for sandwiches and toast. Sesame seeds sprinkled on top of the bread before baking adds a delicious nutty flavor. Pané Siciliano is the bread pick of the month for We Knead to Bake, a monthly bread baking group on Facebook. Coming off of a busy holiday season admin, Aparna-My Diverse Kitchen thought this bread recipe would be easy and perfect to serve with a warming soup or a salad. 

This video of Mary Ann Esposito making the Pané Siciliano with Peter Reinhart is very helpful in making and shaping the dough.
Pané Siciliano
(Sicilian Sesame Seeded Semolina Bread)
Adapted from Ciao Italia


For the Cresciuta (Biga-Pate Fermentee)

1/4 cup lukewarm water
1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

For the Dough
1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 cup lukewarm water (110° to 115°F)
2 teaspoons honey
All of the biga
2-2 1/2 cups fine semolina or durum semolina flour
1/2 teaspoon vital wheat gluten
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

A little water for brushing on the bread
1/8 cup sesame seeds


First make the biga by dissolving yeast in the warm water in a small bowl. Let stand for about 10 minutes until frothy. Stir in the flour with a fork and loosely cover the bowl. Let stand in a warm place at least 4 hours or overnight.

Next day, mix the dough for the bread. In a large bowl or in the bowl of a food processor, dissolve the yeast in the warm water mixed with honey. Let stand for about 10 minutes until frothy. Add all of the biga and mix well. 2 cups semolina, gluten, salt and olive oil. Mix well and add as much semolina as needed so you have a smooth ball of dough.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat, then loosely cover and let rise until doubled, about 1-1/2 hours. When doubled, deflate and roll out into a rope about 30-inches long. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Curl the dough back and forth into a backwards S-shape, leaving a 6-7-inch tail. Fold the tail over the shaped loaf.

Loosely cover the shaped dough and let rise for 2 hours until almost doubled. Lightly brush the top of the dough with water and sprinkle with sesame seeds, pressing down lightly with your fingers.

Pre-heat your oven to  375°F with a baking tray placed upside down in it. Place the baking sheet with the dough onto the upside down baking tray in the oven. Bake for about 30 minutes until bread is browned and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Cool on a rack until completely cooled before slicing. Makes 1 medium-sized loaf.

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A Visit to the Fishmonger-Russo's Seafood

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A recent trip to Russo's Seafood to buy a red snapper garnered these black and white images. Converting them  to black and white revealed textures I had not noticed in the color images. I shot these with a Canon 5D Mark 111 and a Canon 135mm f/2.8 lens. The conversion was done with Tonality Pro by Macphun. 
Local Fresh Clams-From Half Moon Creek, Savannah
 Fresh Perch
Red Snapper

The above images are my contribution to BWW #155 hosted this week by our lovely admin, Cinzia of CindyStar Blog.

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Canadian Pecan Butter Tarts-ABC Mondiale

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A classic Canadian sweet, butter tarts are small pastries filled with egg, sugar, maple syrup, also a Canadian classic, and toasted pecans and baked in a rich butter crust. While this recipe uses the pecans, walnuts or raisins or even flaked coconut can be used.

I've joined my travel companions near the end of our travel to Edmonton, Canada. Edmonton, the capital of Alberta Canada, is the fifth stop in our World Culinary ABC, created by Eloisa of Trattoria MuVarA. Our travels to SamoaIndiaAustralia and Dakar leave us with lovely culinary memories and insights into food traditions in other parts of the world.  

These butter tarts are reminiscent of the quintessential pecan pie we in Georgia and other Southern states enjoy so much. Pecans are readily available during the Fall and Winter months in Georgia where I live, hence the plethora of nut recipes for the holidays. 

Pecan Butter Tarts

Enough for a 2 crust pie or twelve standard muffin size tarts

2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup very cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
6 tablespoons ice cold water
1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice

Pecan Filling

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coffee liqueur
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup lightly toasted pecan pieces

Directions for Dough

In the bowl of a food processor, add the flour, sugar and salt. Pulse briefly to mix. Add the small pieces of butter and pulse until just small pieces of butter are visible. Add the ice cold water and lemon juice. Pulse until dough just comes together. 

Preheat oven to 400° F and lightly grease a 12-cup muffin tin. 

Remove dough from processor and shape into 2 disks. Wrap and chill at least 2 hours or overnight. When ready to use, shape into 2 logs. Cut each log into 6 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 4-1/2-inch round about 1/4-inch thick. Line each muffin cup with the pastry so that it comes about 1/2-inch higher than the muffin tin. Chill the muffin tin while preparing the filling.

For the Filling

Melt the butter and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the mixture is bubbling. Remove from heat.

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with the maple syrup, lemon juice, vanilla, coffee liqueur and salt. Slowly pour in the hot sugar mixture while whisking constantly until combined.  Remove the muffin tin from the refrigerator. Sprinkle a few of the pecan pieces into the bottom of each tart shell and ladle the filling into each pastry shell.

Bake the tarts for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375°F and bake an additional 15-20 minutes, until the filling is bubbling and the crust is browned. Cool the tarts in the tin for about 5 minutes, then carefully twist them around in the pan so they won't stick. Cool completely in the pan.

Store refrigerated, but are best at room temperature. The tarts can be store chilled for 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months.  Makes 12.

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Thursday, January 08, 2015

Black and White Wednesday #154-The Gallery

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Welcome to the gallery of black and white culinary images! It's a busy time for all after the holidays and I'm thrilled to present varying shades of black and white images for your perusal. Cinzia, our lovely and talented manager will host BWW #155 on January 21, 2015. Remember, BWW is now bi-monthly.

The Lure of the Spices

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Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Black and White Wednesday #154 Announcement

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“There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea.” -Bernard-Paul Heroux
Image taken at Old Fort Jackson where my family and I enjoyed participating in a mock skirmish between the North and the South. A fun place for kids and adults, Old Fort Jackson sits on the Savannah River and is the oldest standing brick fort in the United States. If you are in Savannah, it's a must see!

On our first edition of the New Year, the BWW gallery will be posted on January 8, just a day later than usual. I welcome your black and white culinary images up to 12 noon, New York time tomorrow, Thursday. Send your images to lynnylu AT gmail DOT com. No blog, no problem; just email me your image.  I hope we can start the new year off to a great start for BWW. Any device can be used to capture  your image and there are many apps and software programs to convert a color image into black and white. I am quite fond of my smartphone and it has replaced the point and shoot that I usually take with me when I don't want to lug my heavy gear around. If you haven't joined in BWW and would like to, the very simple sets of rules can be found here.

Thanks to Susan, brainchild of BWW and to Cinzia, who expertly manages this event.

See  you tomorrow!

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Friday, December 26, 2014

Senegalese Seafood Gumbo

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Time flies and so has the journey to Dakar in Senegal, but here is one more dish to celebrate the Senegalese cuisine and the 4th stop on our tour of ABC-Mondiale-an untraditional seafood gumbo created by Sean Brock. Untraditional to me as in my seafood gumbos, I would have never thought to include dried shrimp, smoked oysters or fish sauce in the mix, or not use a roux to thicken.  What is traditional to me in this gumbo is shrimp, crabmeat and red snapper, along with fresh okra, essential ingredients in any gumbo.
Red Snapper
Selecting Okra
Kiawah Island 2010

Senegalese Seafood Gumbo

Two 1 pound red snappers, cleaned filleted, skinned and coarsely chopped, heads and bones reserved
4 cups chicken broth
1 onion
3/4 fresh okra, thinly sliced and smashed
Two 3-ounce cans smoked oysters
10 small dried shrimp (I omitted the dried shrimp as I couldn't find it)
6 garlic cloves
3 dried cayenne chiles
3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
18 large shrimp, heads on, if desired
1/2 palm oil (Dende oil comes from the fruit of the African oil palm-annato oil can be substituted) Omit if desired. See Note
1/2 pound lump crabmeat
Kosher salt
Cooked Rice for serving.

In a large pot, combine the fish heads and bones with the stock and 4 cups of water, (Brock uses 8 cups). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, skimming off any foam. Strain broth into a large bowl.

Wipe out the pot and return the broth to it. Add the okra, oysters, dried shrimp (if using), garlic, chiles and fish sauce. Bring to a simmer and cook on moderately low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the snapper filets, shrimp, and palm oil (if using). Simmer until the fish and shrimp are just cooked through, about 4 minutes. Stir in the crabmeat and cook for 1 minute, until heated through. Season with salt. Serve with rice.

Note-The dende oil can be purchased from speciality food stores and from Amazon. The oil gives the gumbo a red color and a rich flavor.

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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Julekake-(Norwegian Cardamom Scented Christmas Bread)-We Knead to Bake #

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God Jul!
Merry Christmas 
In Norway, Christmas presents are exchanged on Christmas Eve. While some presents are brought by Santa, some are brought by "Nisse",  small gnomes, mythological creatures typically associated with the winter solstice. Many different festive breads and cookies are eaten over the holidays in Norway, the most popular and well-known is "julekake", a yeast leavened bread studded with raisins, candied fruit and citron. Cardamom is the essential spice in the julekake, but often cinnamon and nutmeg are used to flavor the bread.

It is this lovely holiday bread that Aparna-My Diverse Kitchen chose for the December edition of We Knead to Bake. Julekake is an enriched dough that is cake-like in texture. Left unadorned, it's a good breakfast bread, but with a sugar icing or studded with sliced almonds, the julekake is a perfect tea time bread.
Adapted from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book by Beatrice Ojakangas


For the dough

2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water
1/2 cup lukewarm milk
1 egg
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4-5 pods cardamom, powdered, about 3/4 teaspoon
2-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup mixed candied fruit or peel
1/4 cup golden or dark raisins

For the Glaze

Pearled sugar or crushed sugar cubes and/or chopped almonds

For the Icing
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 or 2 tablespoons cream or milk
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon chopped almonds (optional)

In a bowl, proof the yeast by sprinkling it over the lukewarm water, milk and 1 teaspoon sugar( from the 1/4 cup).Set aside for 5-10 minutes until frothy. From this point on, I use the dough cycle of the bread machine to mix and knead the dough. If you want to follow Aparna's instructions, refer to  the instructions there.

Place all ingredients, except the mixed candied fruit or peel and raisins, in the pan of a bread machine according the the manufacturer's instructions. Process on the dough cycle. When complete, remove the dough from the machine to a lightly floured surface and deflate slightly. Flatten it into a largish round, sprinkle the fruit and raisins over the top, the roll up jelly roll style. Knead lightly to incorporate the fruit.

Shape into a ball and place on a parchment lined or lightly greased baking sheet. Let rise for about 45 minutes. If using the egg glaze, brush it over the top of the dough. Otherwise, brush with milk and sprinkle the bread with crushed sugar cubes, pearled sugar or chopped almonds. If using the icing, ignore this step.

Bake at 350°F for about 30 minutes until bread is golden brown and done. If the bread begins to brown too quickly, cover with some foil after 15 minutes of browning.  Remove from the oven, cool completely before you slice it or ice it. For the icing, combine ingredients and pour over the bread. Sprinkle with almonds or decorate with candied fruit and peel. Let icing set. Makes 1 medium to large loaf.

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