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.

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

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. 
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