Baking History

A Taste For The Past

Posts Tagged ‘Think Spice’

Anise Biscotti (Pan d’Anice) Think Spice… Think Anise

Posted by bakinghistory on November 26, 2008

anise-biscotti-2Delicious and crunchy anise biscotti

anise5logo3As the host of Think Spice… –a monthly event founded by Sunita–for the month of November I chose Anise, and this was the best opportunity to finally feature these wonderful biscotti. Once toasted they turn incredibly crunchy and light, with an intense flavor of anise provided by both anise extract and aniseed. They are also very thin and great to have with tea.The recipe comes from an old Italian professional pastry making manual; it is very simple, without baking powder or any type of fats, just eggs, flour, sugar and anise. I scaled down the original formula which called for over 3 lbs. flour so that it could be easily baked in a home oven—however they are so good it is a pity not to be able to make the full amount.

From the original recipe by Giuseppe Ciocca
In: “Il Pasticcere e Confettiere Moderno”, 1907—Italy
Ingredients
1-1/4 cup, scant, (150 g) AP flour, unbleached
3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
5.30 oz (150 g)  eggs weighed without the shell (about large eggs)
1 large yolk
1 tsp pure anise extract
1 tbsp aniseed
Preheat oven to 325F (170C), line a rectangular 6×10-inch baking pan  (or one of equivalent volume) with aluminum foil and slightly grease bottom and sides.
Place some hot water in a bowl and in it put another small bowl containing the eggs (keep the yolk aside for now). Start beating the eggs at high speed and add the sugar little by little. Beat at high speed until all the sugar has been incorporated and the mixture is very light and lukewarm to the touch. Keep beating until the mixture cools and then add the yolk, and finally the anise extract.
Finally add the flour little by little letting it fall into the egg mixture through a strainer. Once all the flour has been incorporated with a spatula mix in the aniseed.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes until golden and springing back when pressed with a fingertip.
Let the cake cool 5 minutes in the pan, and meanwhile lower the oven temperature to 200F. Slice the cake starting at one of the narrow ends, use a good serrated knife to make thin slices (scant 1/4-inch, 0.5 cm), place them on a cookie sheet and let them dry in the oven until crunchy. Make sure the oven temperature is not above 200F, or the cookies will burn at the edges before they are dried through. Let cool on a rack and store airtight.
P.S. The Roundup of this event will be posted soon

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Posted in Blog Events, Cookies, Bars, & Biscotti, Italian Cuisine, Italy, Spices | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Cheese Straws (Think Spice… …Think Paprika)

Posted by bakinghistory on October 27, 2008

Crunchy savory biscuits flavored with cheese and paprika

Mimi from  Mimi on the Move is the October host for the Think Spice... event which was founded by Sunita of Sunita’s World. Mimi proposed Paprika as the theme of her edition of Think Spice….

My entry is a recipe that seems to have been around for quite a long time and is still very popular—and deservedly so. Cheese Straws are crunchy savoury biscuits that are made with a good amount of cheese, butter, and some nice spice like, as in this version, paprika. Despite their plain looks they are very tasty and hard to stop eating. Paprika pairs well with a good cheese, providing a pleasant warmth that complements the richness of the other ingredients.

I have used a very good, extra-sharp Vermont Cheddar and Hungarian sweet paprika, but Parmesan and hot paprika would work as well, as would also a 50-50 mixture of each. The only important thing is to bake the biscuits well, so that they are dry and crunchy.

From the original recipe by Janet McKenzie Hill

In: Practical Cooking and Serving, 1902—USA

Ingredients:

1 cup (125 g) AP flour

1/2 tsp paprika (Hot or sweet, or a mix of the two)

1/4 tsp salt

1/3 cup (75 g) butter, cold

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 to 1 cup (50 to 100 g) grated cheese (Sharp Cheddar or Parmesan or a mix of the two)

1-2 tbsp ice water (or as needed)

Place the flour, salt, paprika, and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor and pulse briefly to mix everything together. Add the grated cheese and pulse again. Then add the butter, diced, and pulse just until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add 1 tbsp water and pulse again, add more water as needed with the machine running until the dough just holds together. Do not overprocess.

Shape the biscuits with a pastry bag or by hand forming small balls and then flattening them with a fork.

Bake in a preheated oven at 375°F for about 10 minutes, until golden. Lower the temperature to 300°F and bake a little longer, until the cookies are dry and crunchy. Cool on racks and store airtight.


Posted in American Cooking, Blog Events, Crackers & Savory Biscuits, Spices | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »