Tuesday, August 09, 2011
Taralli Recipe II
The last time I made taralli Danny still had teeth coming in. Today, he has one ready to come out. We thought these might help that tooth along. Without planning it, Danny was wearing the same shirt in today's photo as he wore in 2008. Obviously, the shirt is a much better fit now. See? Your mother always said, "You'll grow into it" as justification for buying clothes large...see? You listen to your mama-she knows a thing or two about that sort of thing. Or in this case, Granny does because she bought the shirt.
The recipe for these come from Lidia Bastianich. They use quite a bit of olive oil, and are crisper than what I associate with taralli (usually, just really dense and hard). They have some crunch, which is nice for a child who is trying to encourage a visit from the tooth fairy. Oh, he knows that's rubbish, but he's smart enough to play along for that shiny dollar coin.
Danny helped form the taralli, which were easy enough to handle. He was pleased with his work, and even more pleased that his hands smelled like fennel-his favourite spice in the entire world. I cut the amount of white wine in the recipe by half because I didn't think bread (even good bread) was worth surrendering more of my precious $3.00 Argentine wine. I used half water, and they turned out fine. I doubt very much that any alcohol could survive both boiling and baking, but if you're concerned, I do think you could successfully omit it. Against the flavours of olive oil and fennel, it would have to be a pretty assertive white wine anyway. It might contribute something to the texture, but really-these were lovely as-is.
The boys dunked their taralli in the caponata I made for dinner. That was a successful match, I think. I should think, unless you are six years old and trying to lose a tooth, these are best served with some sort of sauce or salad.
You Will Need:
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast (not instant)
1 cup dry white wine (I used 1/2 water) warmed to about 100 degrees F.
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cracked fennel seeds (just bash them with a rolling pin)
3 3/4 cups AP flour or as needed
Oil for bowl and baking sheets
Water for boiling
Stir the yeast into the warm wine and let proof about 10 minutes. Stir in oil, salt, seeds, and flour a cup at a time. You might not need it all. Knead until it is no longer very sticky, but it shouldn't be dry either. Place in an oiled bowl, cover and let rise until nearly doubled, 20-40 minutes. Punch down, divide into 30 pieces. Oil a couple baking sheets. Roll into 4 inch lengths, then pinch closed well. Place on sheet. When all are done, cover with a tea towel and let rise until nearly doubled-about 1 hour. meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the racks as close to the centre as possible to accommodate both sheets. I rotated mine halfway through.
Fill a large pot halfway with water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a less rolling boil, and drop in taralli a few at a time. The recipe says 1 minute each side, but mine began to break down. I adjusted to about 30 seconds each side with better results-you'll have to see how it goes for you, and adjust as necessary. The recipe suggest removing them to paper towels to dry. I used a rack over a baking sheet which worked well (I don't buy paper towels). When dry, transfer them back to the same oiled sheet they rose on, and bake 20-40 minutes or until dark and hard. Mine took closer to 35 minutes, but again, you'll need to watch and adjust for your oven. Cool on racks, then store in a tightly covered tin. I put mine on a string to keep them from sliding around the plate at dinner. They are easy enough to break off, and that adds a bit of fun for the children (the 50 year old found this great fun as well).