Bath Buns for a gamekeeper

Hagrid poured them tea and offered them a plate of Bath buns but they knew better than to accept; they had had too much experience with Hagrid’s cooking. (Harry Potter and the prisoner of Azkaban, ch.14)

Hagrid, the half giant gamekeeper of Hogwarts, does not enjoy a reputation of a good cook but his treacle fudge is going to be very handy for Harry Potter in this same novel.   

But what about those buns? They are named after the town of Bath in the southwest of England and it is one of the places beloved by Jane Austen that placed many central episodes of her novels there (think about Persuasion or Northanger Abbey).

There is a large debate on the origins of those buns, they are either attributed to Sally Lunn a French Huguenot refugees during the period that bring the recipe with her, or to the physician William Oliver. I had a look to my personal bible, when we are speaking about English food, that is Lady Carlotte Campbell Bury, The Lady’s Own Cookery Book, were there are two different versions for the buns, one, it doesn’t resemble to a bun at all, rather a biscuit. The second one is the one that I present here, a bit adapted to modern taste.

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Ingredients

For the dough:

250 g. milk

10g. dried yeast

650g. white flour

3 tbs of sugar

½ teaspoon of salt

280 gr. butter

50 gr. sultanas or cranberry

For the finishing:

4 tbs sugar

2tbs water

3 tbs of sugar pearls

Directions

Warm the milk with the butter, until the butter is completely melted.

Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Add the milk and butter, then bring together into a dough. Knead until is elastic.

Put the dough in a warm place for 2 hours or until doubled in size.

Turn the dough out on to a floured surface add the sultana or the cranberries and work them in. 

Take small pieces of the dough a prepare the round buns.

Allow the buns to rise in a warm place until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Cook in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown

Make a syrup by mixing the sugar and the water in a pot and bring it to boil. Brush the syrup over the buns as soon as they came out of the oven. Sprinkle sugar pearls on the top.

Serve with jam and whipped cream.

Finally, I don’t know if I am a good cook but, Hagrid, sorry, I am better than you!

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Aunt Petunia’s Lemon Meringue Pie

In Italian here

“During the lemon meringue pie, Uncle Vernon bored them with a long talk about Grunnings, his drill-making company; then Aunt Petunia made coffee and Uncle Vernon brought out a bottle of brandy.”Can I tempt you, Marge?”Aunt Marge had already had quite a lot of wine. Her huge face was very red.”Just a small one, then,” she chuckled. “A bit more than that… and a bit more… that’s the ticket.”Dudley was eating his fourth slice of pie. Aunt Petunia was sipping coffee with her little finger sticking out. Harry really wanted to disappear into his bedroom, but he met Uncle Vernon’s angry little eyes and knew he would have to sit it out.”

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It is from the second chapter of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkhaban. Uncle Venon’s sister (as unpleasing as her brother) is visiting the Dursley and they are having lemon meringue pie as a dessert, it is the conclusion of the dinner, but unfortunately the start of a nasty argument for Harry Potter.

Lemon merin2sgue pie is more American than British, but the choice, I suppose, is due to aunt Petunya “wannabe” behaviors. The original recipe for the curd in this pie has a very intense lemon taste, for this reason I offer also a less intense version of the curd.

 

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Pie Crust

300 gr. flour

150 gr. cold butter

150 gr. sugar

1 teaspoon of lemon zest

½ teaspoon of raising power

Intense lemon filling

3 egg yolks

160 gr sugar

30 gr cornstarch

3 tbs water

3 lemon (juice and zest)

100 gr heavy cream

Less intense lemon filling

4 egg yolks

160 gr sugar

3 lemon (juice and zest)

400 ml water

2  tbs butter

Meringue Topping:

2 egg whites

200 gr powder sugar

a few drops of lemon juice

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For the crust, combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Briefly mix with the tip of your fingers until the dough starts to clump together. Gather the dough t in a ball, , wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for a minimum of 2 hours, but better for one night.

Roll out the dough in a circle and fit a pie pan. Prick the bottom and sides with a fork. Spread a sheet of baking paper inside the pie crust. Fill the crust with pie weights or beans and bake until the crust is dry and set, about half an hour at 180 C. minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

For the filling, combine the sugar, cornstarch, and water in a small bowl and stir until the cornstarch is dissolved.  In saucepan put lemon juice and when it is warm add the cornstarch mix, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. Whisk in the yolks and continue cooking and stirring until the mixture is thick. Remove from the heat and add the butter. Stir gently until fully incorporated.

For the meringue, beat the egg whites and half of sugar until soft mounds form. Add the remaining sugar gradually with the help of a spatula mixing with a top-down movement.

To assemble the pie, pour the filling into the crust. With a piping bag pipe swirls on the top of the lemon filling.

Place again in the oven, under the grill until the Meringa topping get a nice golden brown color.

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Crostata meringata al limone

In English here

La crostata meringata al limone è un dolce appariscente e patinato, la scelta perfetta per concludere una cena a casa Dursley, sarebbe bastato non tirare in ballo i genitori di Harry Potter…

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“…al momento della meringata al limone, zio Vernon li tediò tutti con un lungo discorso sulla Grunnings, la sua ditta produttrice di trapani; poi zia Petunia fece il caffè e zio Vernon tirò fuori una bottiglia di brandy.

«Un bicchierino, Marge?»
Zia Marge aveva già bevuto parecchio. Il suo faccione era molto rosso. «Ma sì, appena appena» disse ridacchiando. «Un po’ di questo, un po’ di

quello… come il ragazzo».
Dudley stava facendo sparire la quarta fetta di meringata. Zia Petunia beveva il caffè con il mignolo teso. Harry avrebbe tanto voluto eclissarsi in camera sua, ma incontrò lo sguardo furioso di zio Vernon e capì che doveva resistere.”

È il secondo capitolo di Harry Potter e il prigioniero di Azkhaban. Dai Dursley c’è ospite la sorella di zio Vernon, antipatica come il resto della famiglia e alla fine della cena viene servita una meringata che conclude dolcemente il pasto ma apre una conversazione amara.

Con meringata viene tradotto l’originale lemon meringue pie che in realtà appartiene più alla tradizione Americana che a quella inglese.

La ricetta che vi propongo ha una crema di limone molto, molto intensa, ma offrirò anche una versione meno “limonosa”

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Ingredienti

Per la pastafrolla:

300 gr. farina

150 gr. burro freddo

150 gr. zucchero

la buccia di un limone grattugiata

(io metto anche una punta di lievito in polvere che rende la pasta meno compatta, ma la versione originale non ne prevede la presenza)

Per la crema al limone (gusto intenso)

3 tuorli d’uovo

160 gr di zucchero

30 gr di maizena

3 cucchiai di acqua

3 limoni (succo e buccia grattugiata)

100 gr di panna

2 cucchiai di burro

Per la crema al limone (Gusto meno intenso)

4 tuorli d’uovo

160 gr di zucchero

il succo e la buccia di due limoni

400 ml di acqua

due cucchiai di burro

Per la Meringa:

2 bianchi d’uovo

200 gr di zucchero a velo

qualche goccia di limone

Istruzioni:

Preparate le pastafrolla mischiando insieme tutti gli ingredienti. Impastate il meno possibile, ed usando solo la punta delle dita per evitare che l’impasto si scaldi. Formate un panetto e mettetelo a riposare in frigo per almeno due ore (meglio se per tutta la notte).

Stendete la pastafrolla alta pochi millimetri e ricoprite uno stampo imburrato oppure foderato di carta da forno. Punzecchiate leggermente l’impasto, appoggiatevi sopra della carta da forno e copritelo con dei ceci secchi perché rimanga in forma. Cuocete per circa mezz’ora a 180 gr.

Preparate la crema mischiando insieme zucchero e maizena e aggiungendo l’acqua in modo che si formi un composto privo di grumi, mettere il succo e la buccia di limone a scaldare in una casseruola, quando è vicino al punto di ebollizione aggiungere la crema di zucchero e maizena e mescolando con una frusta, aspettate qualche minuto che si addensi. A questo punto abbassate leggermente il fuoco e aggiungete i tuorli, mischiando energicamente, quando la crema ha assorbito i tuorli, aggiungete la panna ed il burro, una volta che anche questi saranno assorbiti, togliete dal fuoco e aspettate che si freddi.

Preparate le meringhe montando a neve ben ferma due chiare d’uovo con meta dello zucchero. Una volta montate, aggiungere il resto dello zucchero ed incorporarlo con una spatola, dal basso verso l’alto per evitare che il composto si sgonfi.

Quando la crema ed il guscio di pastafrolla saranno ben freddi, potete passare all’assemblaggio della torta. Mettete il guscio di pastafrolla in un piatto da portata e riempitelo con la crema al limone. Con l’aiuto di una siringa o di un sac-a-poche coprite la torta con ciuffi di meringa. Mettete pochi minuti in forno con funzione grill. Quando è pronta mettete la torta a riposare in frigo per almeno un paio di ore prima di servirla.

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Chocolate and Mascarpone Raviole

Those chocolate and mascarpone raviole inspired to the original recipe in the sisters Simili’s book “Pane e Roba Dolce” are crounchy outside with a creamy filling that melt in your mouth, making the perfect treat for winter week-ends.

In Italian here

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For the dough

½  kg white flour

200 g softened butter

160 g sugar

25 g milk

5 g honey

½ teaspoon of salt

12 g rising powder

2 eggs

For the filling

Chocolate spread

50 g mascarpone cheese

Melted butter for the glaze and powdered sugar for the finishing

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Directions

Form the flour, granulated sugar into a volcano-shaped mound, put the butter, eggs, milk and honey into the crater of the volcano and use a spatula to gently mix the ingredients into a dough. Knead it gently until smooth and supple, finally add the rising powder.

Roll the dough out into a thin sheet and then cut out 10 cm diameter circles. (

Spread the chocolate cream of each of your dough rounds, then place a teaspoon of mascarpone in the centre.

Fold each circle in half over the filling to form a half-moon shape, making sure that the edges line up, and press firmly with your fingers along the edges to seal.

Brush each raviola with the butter.

Bake at 180 C. until golden brown, about 30 minutes, then lightly dust with the powdered sugar. Serve at room temperature.

Enjoy!

Rolls and Buns for Pippi

What can you do when you have a child at home that is still recovering and can’t go out? Readingof course is the best of pastimes but what if your child is a really Pippi Longstockingand she can stay still for a second? In honor of this delightful character created by the Swedish writer Astrid Lindgren, we decided to run a home version of “MasterChef” inspired to the Swedish pastry masterpiece  THE CINNAMON ROLLS. The rule was that we both used the same dough but we had free hands on the filling and the way we rolled them.pippi

My choice was classic I went for cardamom rolls, with a filling of grounded almonds and cardamom that recall the oriental texture and smell of the Persian baghlava, my daughter decided for a filling of apple  sautéed in a little butter and sugar, finally seasoned with abundant cinnamon. We also decided to roll them in a different way, I rolled each of them individually; my daughter preferred the traditional way, rolling one big roll and then cut it in slices.

AND THE WINNER IS… But first thing first (as Gordon Ramsey says): the recipes

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For the dough

Ingredients:

100 gr of butter

1 and ¼ cup of mild

2 tbs of dry yest

½ ts of salt

½ cup of sugar

1 egg

1 ts of baking powder

4 cups flour

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Directions:

Melt the butter and add the milk. Heat to 37 C and melt the yeast in it. Let it rise for about 10 minutes

In the stand mixer bowl combine the yeastmixture, salt, sugar, and egg, mix it well

Add baking powder and flourand knead until the dough is smooth and smooth and elastic (15 minutes, medium speed if you use the stand mixer)

Let it rise for at least one hour

 

Cardamom buns

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Ingredients:

1 cup of almond paste

50 gr of butter

1 full tbs of ground cardamom

 

directions:

Divided the dough into 12 piecesof equal size and form with each a circle

Prepare amixture of cardamom, almond paste and butter

Spread themixture on each circle and then roll it up, then roll it like a snail

Put eachroll in a paper baking cup

Let it rise for about anhour then brush with beaten egg

Bake it at 180 C for about 25 minutes

 

Apple buns

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Ingredients:

1 apple apple diced

 

3 tbs of sugar

1 tbs of cinnamon

1 tbs of butter

Sautee the diced apple with butter and sugar for about 5 minutes at small heat, then take it from the heat, add cinnamon, mix well and let it cool

Roll the dough into a large rectangle and spread the apple filling, roll up and cut into even slices.

Place them in parchment-lined baking sheet and let them rise for another hour

Brush with beaten egg and bake in the oven 180 C for about 200 minutes

Prepare a sauce mixing icing sugar with some drop of lemon and drop tiny bits of the sauce on the rolls.

The winner : apple buns

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And the loser: Cardamom rolls

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Easy Panna Cotta

panna cottaPanna Cotta is probably the easiest dessert in the Italian gastronomical tradition. 3 basic ingredients (cream, milk, sugar) combined in different ratio, give birth to one of most delicious treat ever. The origin of Panna Cotta is obscure, there are rumors that Panna Cotta, is just the easy copy of the French of Bavarois (obviously French started the rumor!), other claims that it was invented in the Langhe area, by a lady of Hungarian origins, and many others believe that is the Northern version of the Sicilian “Biancomangiare” a dessert of Arabic origins.   Be that as it may, the fact is that Panna Cotta is easy, can be done with what you have in the fridge and with the help of the right mold you will get a spectacular result. Panna Cotta is such a star that deserved a book of its own.

My recipe is not from this book, it is mine. I use organic Agar Agar power instead of gelatin, because I read things about gelatin that made me feel uncomfortable.  It is not always possible to control the origins of the gelatin. Moreover with agar agar, Panna Cotta can be enjoyed also by my vegetarian friends.

Ingredients:

For the panna cotta

250 gr. of cream

250 gr. of milk

4 spoonful of sugar

1 vanilla pod or half a teaspoon of extract

1 and ½ teaspoon of Agar Agar powder

For the sauce:

200 gr. of raspberry

1 spoonful of powder sugar

Some drop of lemon

Directions

In a saucepan, heat cream, sugar, vanilla pod, vanilla seeds and agar on medium heat and bring just to a boil until sugar and agar dissolves. Remove from heat and discard the vanilla pod.

Pour cream into individual serving molds. Refrigerate for at least 2-4 hours, until completely set.

Prepare a sauce, processing the raspberry with sugar and some drop of lemon

Gently remove the panna cotta from the molds and serve it with the raspberry sauce.