Sunday, 5 June 2011
Ciambelline di farina e patate (Italian Homemade doughnuts) Eccezionali!
As I walked through the streets of old Modugno, in the hot April sun, I could smell roses... the heat of the sun made the scent so sweet and deep, I couldn't help getting somehow lost in memories of a time when my mother would take me out, to the countryside, to make sure I grew up appreciating all the beautiful things that you just didn't see in the city.
We love walking round the streets of historic Modugno!
And I remembered a villa, just beyond the Bari Nord station crossing. Where now stand tall buildings, when I was a little girl, was countryside. And that villa was covered with so many roses, you couldn't see the bricks!
We picked bunches of multicoloured roses, had a cold drink with my mum's friend "La signora delle rose" and went back to our city life. On our way Mamma showed me artichokes, growing in fields and lemons, growing on trees. And I thought they just came in boxes, from somewhere out of space!Anyway! Off the Tardis... Grown up me went back to my sister's house. Standing on her terrazza, in Modugno, you could reach the neighbour's huge lemon tree, so big you could easily get lost, looking down, into the foliage.
On the rooftop. A beautiful chimney!
My sister picked one of those lemons and used it to make "ciambelline", doughnut rings, made using, amongst the other ingredients, the zest of a lemon!
Today, I made my own ciambelline, using her recipe. I also made crystallized rose petals. Now... these are only edible if the petals you use were not sprayed with any kind of chemical... mine are totally organic, so I used them.
Well... here is the recipe. If I can make ciambelline, so can you! But... guess what? I left the last two in the pan and... they burnt!
Ciambelline con patate
1/2 kg (1 lb 1oz) plain (00-all purpose) flour
1/2 (1 lb 1oz) kg potatoes, boiled and mashed
30 g (1 oz and a bit!) live (fresh) yeast
large pinch salt
zest of one lemon
Oil for frying
I boiled my potatoes in a pan of hot water. I didn't peel them, as I didn't want them to disintegrate or become watery. Once cooked, I peeled and mashed the potatoes. They looked lovely and dry.
Having placed my flour in a mixing bowl, I added the mashed potatoes, the egg, a generous pinch of salt, the zest of one beautiful lemon and the yeast. ( if you can't buy live yeast, any bakery, supermarket or pizza place will let you have some!) As I mixed the ingredients together (I did this by hand, but you don't have to) I added some warm water ( I used about 1/2 cup, but the amount can vary.)
You should get a soft dough. If it's too soft, you can add more flour. At this stage you can start making your "rings" by using small pieces of dough (about the size of a golf ball) rolled out in the shape of a sausage and then joint, as you can see in the picture.
I placed all my lovely little rings onto a clean cloth, covered them and left them for a good 20-25 minutes ( I actually forgot and left mine to "rest" for longer than that. ) By this time they would have increased in size.
I don't usually fry things, so I don't own a deep fat fryer... just a pan which is redundant most of the time. Anyway! I heated some oil and when really, really HOT, I started frying my ciambelle. I gave them about two minutes per side and made sure they were cooked inside. I could smell the yeast all over my kitchen (as a child I used to eat live yeast, then, as I grew up, I started mixing it with water to make a face mask! Funny!)
I placed my little cakes onto kitchen paper, then in my very beautiful glazed Wedgwood dish and decorated with crystallized rose petals!
I will just eat these with my eyes (it's true!)
A very generous sprinkling of caster sugar made my ciambelline sweet and delicious! I love the rose petals!