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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.

St. Blaise donut

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.

Preparation
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.

A variation

Ingredients
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

Preparation
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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