By Maria Liberati - Brunch isn’t as common in Italy as it is in America. But if it was, one of the main brunch servings would be ciambella.
Ciambelle are an Italian version of doughnuts, traditionally made as a family meal but now commonly used as a dessert or side dish when entertaining guests. They are usually ring-shaped and prepared with almonds, hazelnuts, or sugar to make them sweet. But like all Italian foods, ciambella can come in many shapes and sizes. For this entry of Famous Recipes, we will highlight one particularly exotic type of ciambella and the festival it is connected to – the Sagra della ciambella al mosto.
Held every third Sunday of October in Marino, a small town in the Lazio region, near Rome, the Sagra della ciambella al mosto festival celebrates a 17th century ciambella recipe made with grape must. Grape must is the unfermented juice pressed from the grape and was a common cooking ingredient in ancient Rome.
The festival follows the more famous Marino Grape Festival (Sagra dell’uva), which is at the end of the harvest season and it is the reason the ciambelle here are made with grape must. The Sagra della ciambella al mosto festival is also much calmer because the fountains of Marino do not flow with wine as they do in the grape festival.
Being that they use the must from the wine making, the ciambelle from this festival are in limited supply. So, while making this ciambella recipe unique, the grape must also makes this type of recipe more difficult than the rest because grape must is hard to find. But at the small amount that this recipe calls for, the must can easily be made by crushing a few bunches of grapes and draining the juice. And remember: as with all recipes, a little experimenting will show you exactly how much of each ingredient works perfectly for your taste.
CIAMBELLA AL MOSTO
4 cups flour
2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
Fresh white grape must
½ packet dry yeast
Pinch of salt
Make a mound with the flour on a large cutting board or table and scoop out a well in the middle.
Dissolve the yeast in warm water, mix it with some of the flour, place it at the center of the well, and cover it with more flour.
Let the yeast rise for about half an hour. Make sure it is not in any drafts. Then mix in the oil, salt and enough must to make a soft and elastic dough.
Cut the dough into strips and place the strips in ring shapes on a lightly greased baking tray.
Bake at 350°F for 35-40 minutes.
Read more: http://www.marialiberati.com
Donught photo by Loredana Zelinotti
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