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St. Blaise donuts / Ciambella di San Biagio
Background to the recipe
February 3 is the feast of St. Blaise, patron of throat ailments. In Abruzzo there is a tradition to prepare the San Biagio donuts. Below the classic Aquilan recipe and a variation.
The Aquilan recipe
Ingredients (for 3 donuts):
4 eggs, 700 gr flour, 250 gr sugar, 1 glass of milk (180 grams), 1/2 cup of oil (about 90 grams of extra virgin olive oil), 200 gr raisins, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 packet of yeast, the seeds of a vanilla bean, grated rind of one lemon, sambuca liquor, 1 egg yolk, granulated sugar, candied cherries.
Soak the raisins in warm water with 2-3 tablespoons sambuca. Mix the baking powder into the flour and put it aside. In a bowl put the eggs, sugar and salt and knead until mixture is frothy. Then add the grated lemon peel and the vanilla bean seeds and stir for a few seconds. Stir in the sifted flour and milk. At the end add the oil and, when completely absorbed, add the well-drained raisins.
Pour the mixture onto a baking tray lined with baking paper, and with the help of a large spoon or flat knife form a donut. The hole in the center must be large enough, about 8 cm in diameter, so it will not close completely during baking.
Brush with egg yolk mixed with a little milk, decorate with granulated sugar and candied cherries. Bake at 170 degrees C (338 Fahrenheit) for 35 minutes.
250 gr "00" flour, 250 gr. "manitoba" flour, 75 gr. sugar, 75 gr. lard (or butter), 20 gr. yeast, 340 ml water and milk in equal parts, 5 gr. salt, 2 tablespoons anise seeds, candied cherried
Make a dough with all ingredients, adding butter last, and leave to rise until doubled. Then make 3 long rolls of dough and cross them as to make braids, then close into a ring.
Let the dough rest for another 30/40 minutes, then add on top of the braids small grains of sugar and candied fruit.
Bake at 170 degrees celsius (338 Fahrenheit) until beautifully colored.
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