By Maria Liberati - Baicoli were prepared and served in Venice in the 18th century, usually accompanied with zabaglione (a light foamy dessert made of egg yolks, sugar and marsala, whipped together over a gentle heat). They were the typical biscuits of the Republic of the Serenissima, always present at home, but even in the supplies of all the mercantile boats and war ships that sailed under St Mark’s flag. This was due mainly to their characteristics: apart from being tasty and very good, they are “dry”, crispy biscuits and as such, they last a very long time without deteriorating. The preparation is a bit long and complicated, but if well kept in tin plate boxes, these biscuits can be fragrant for months.
The motto that goes with them in Venetian dialect runs as follows:
No gh’é a sto mondo, più bel biscoto più fin, più dolce, più lisiero e san
per mogiar nella cicara e nel goto del Baicolo nostro Venezian
A possible liberal translation into English could be: “Nowhere does a biscuit exist, which is finer, sweeter, and healthier than our Venetian Baicolo. It can be dunked in one’s cup (of tea) or in one’s glass (of wine).
The name baicolo refers to the shape of the biscuits that strongly resembles the one of the small branzino (sea bass), typical fish of the Laguna of Venice. This is how to make them:
Ingredients (for 6 people):
Flour- 1 lb of “00″ flour
Sugar -1/4 cup
Brewer’s yeast -1 envelope
Pinch of salt
Prepare the dough with 1/3 cup of flour, the brewer’s yeast and a little bit of slightly warm milk. Make the dough leaven for 30 minutes and then add all the other ingredients (including the rest of the flour). Add more milk if necessary, but remember that the dough should be rather “firm”, not soft. Knead vigorously for about 10 minutes. Divide the dough into 4 cylinders (2 inches diameter, but the shape should be oval, not round). Leave the cylinders to leaven for an hour and a half, very far one from the other and covered with napkins. Bake these four cylinders for about 10 minutes at 375° F. Then leave them to rest for two days (always covered).
After that, cut them into very thin slices and bake them again in a pre-heated oven at 350° F for about 10 minutes.
Taste them: simply delicious!
Read more: Maria Liberati
Baicoli, famous venetian biscuits
|Date||6 January 2008|