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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Ciambellone & A Trip Back in Time


My visit today to the medieval Abbey of Casamari in the province of Frosinone was a visit back to the medieval  pharmacies where many of the medicinal herbal formulas were discovered by the Benedictine monks here and brought to the world. The liqueurs and honeys also have medicinal properties to them and they are all produced at the Abbey in a traditional way, all fruits,herbs, plants used are all grown organically by the monks there..a virtual trip back in time.. After Sunday mass (said by the monks in Latin), and a visit to the Abbey's pharmacy and store the open air market beckoned.
The fragrance of freshly made (locally) made ciambellone were almost calling my name. These particularly local ciambellone made with anise seeds and boiled then baked (like  a bagel) are a typical product from  this region, but now they are difficult to find.
 They bring back memories of my grandmother (who made her own delicious version of these for breakfast) telling stories of how she would go to her local town bakery ( in the town of Venafro, Italy) in the morning and get them freshly baked for breakfast... my great aunt (her older  sister)  owned the bakery and was the head baker there.... These locally baked treats have been almost impossible to locate ..so this was a real trip back in time..and an unexpected culinary treat..mmm..a piece of local  cheese with a  hot,freshly baked ciambellone..could not have dreamed of a better lunch...can not even describe the expereince..it was one to be savored....
Here is another version of a classic ciambellone that is like a pound cake, delicious also and a little bit easier to make..while I pull out my recipe for the ciambellone I feasted on today..

Ciambellone Classico





2 cups all purpose flour or cake flour sifted

¾ cup sugar

½ cup melted butter

1 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt



peel of 1 lemon

extra flour and butter for greasing pan



Work together the sugar and eggs. Blend in flour and melted butter. Work the dough till it is asmooth blended dough and add in the baking powder and salt and lemon peel. Butter and flour a cake pan and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Should be golden on top. Remove from oven and cool. You can decorate the top with a dusting of powdered sugar or shaved dark chocolate.

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1 comment:

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