Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Now that all the presents have been opened, and the mad rush is over, it is time for a bit of rest and relaxation.  We want to thank you for your great support during this past year. 

We will resume our regular schedule again on April 28th when the Bayview Farmers Market resumes for our 2010 season.  

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Italian Panettone

Panettone... a sweet bread, originally from Milan, is usually prepared and enjoyed for Christmas and New Year in Italy, Brazil, Malta, Germany and Switzerland.

It has a cupola shape, which extends from a cylindrical base. It is made during a long process that involves the fermentation of the dough, which is acidic, similar to sourdough. The proofing process alone takes several days, giving the cake its distinctive fluffy characteristics. It contains candied orange and lemon peel, lemon zest, and raisins which are added dry and not soaked. It is served in slices, vertically cut, accompanied with sweet hot beverages or a sweet wine, such as Asti or Moscato d'Asti. In some regions of Italy, it is served with crema di mascarpone, a cream made from mascarpone, eggs, sometimes dried or candied fruits, and typically a sweet liqueur such as amaretto; if mascarpone cheese is unavailable, zabaione is sometimes used as a substitute.

The final step in mixing Panettone dough is the addition of lots of butter.
Candied orange and lemon peel, two kinds of raisins and orange zest are added to the dough.

Panettone dough in its paper collar --- before proofing (fermentation).

Six hours later the risen dough is brushed with egg wash.
Pearl sugar is sprinkled on the dough before it is placed in the oven.
Rising in the oven
Golden brown --- just about ready to be taken from the oven.
To keep the delicate dough from collapsing, Panettone is cooled upside down.
Cool and ready to be enjoyed.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Panforte (traditional Tuscan cake)

Panforte is a traditional Italian dessert containing fruits and nuts, and resembling fruitcake or Lebkuchen. It may date back to 13th century Siena, in Italy's Tuscany region. Documents from 1205 show that Panforte was paid to the monks and nuns of a local monastery as a tax or tithe. Literally, panforte means "strong bread" which refers to the spicy flavour. The original name of panforte was "panpepato" (peppered bread), due to the strong pepper used in the cake.

In the process of making Panforte, sugar is dissolved in honey and brought to a temperature 240 degrees.  The thick, sticky solution is then added to a combination of dried organic Mission figs from California, candied orange and lemon peal from Holland, whole almonds and raisins from California.  Flour (just enough to hold everything together), spices and a dash of black ground pepper are added...and then the mixture is baked until done.

Panforte Tuscano...

Sugar and honey are boiled to 240.

Toasted almonds and dried fruits are combined with flour, spices a bit of cocoa and a touch of black pepper. This forms a VERY sticky mass.

Over three pounds of batter is deposited into lined cake pans.

The panforte is baked for an hour at very low temperature.

After cooling, each 9" round is cut into units, wrapped and ready to enjoy. It's best eaten, cut into very thin slices, after dinner with a good port or dessert wine, tea or coffee.