Italian recipe · sweet · sweet bread

Meanwhile… What’s Cooking in My Post-Soviet Kitchen Apart from Soviet Things

Soviet recipes are tricky, that is what we’ve learnt from the previous post. So let’s discover some Italian sweet things for a change this time? How about una Torta delle rose, mmm?Let’s be truly international, in post-Erasmus style =)

My collection of recipes so far (in lots of Word documents which of course doesn’t help when I search for something, but I’m a bit slow with finding more upgraded ways of storing my recipes) consists of carefully selected recipes from what I find on my favourite food blogs (here I use Google reader for the RSS feed) or from random blogs from Tastespotting or Yeastspotting. I omit recipes asking for 10 egg whites or 300 g of butter and any amount of whipped cream or anything that simply cannot be found in our Russian shops (whole-wheat flour is a rare bird, mine is from Greece and it’s ending, I need to replenish my stock somewhere; I buy flax and caraway seeds from the pharmacy and only recently we’ve been granted easy access to rye, cornmeal, buckwheat and rice flour in the supermarket chains). Each time I use a certain recipe (each entry copies the ingredients, instructions and the address of the blog and has a small photo if it’s available) I note my eventual corrections and remarks to the original in red ‘ink’ and sometimes make a photo of the result (now I will surely do it more often). I usually jot down the selected recipe using my abbreviations and shortened forms cause I prefer to keep my already dying laptop as far from boiling chocolate and rising dough as possible =)

Let’s move on to the recipe which I found on Le Pétrin blog through Yeastspotting (visit the blog for the original recipe in French). I’m giving you the recipe in English.

torta delle rose

The history that precedes the recipe tells us that when Marquis Francesco Gonzague married a beautiful Isabella d’Este, he ordered to create a dish in her honour. Thus a wonderful ‘dolce’ (sweet) was created, imitating roses. This ‘dolce tipico artigianale di Verona’ has reached our times without changes and is now served in the best restaurants somewhere between Verona and Mantova, accompanied by Passito di Custoza (apparently, a fine local wine).

Result? Delicious! Soft, buttery, pillow-like dough, with crunchy crust… addicting!

Torta delle Rose   adapted from Le Pétrin (with a video in Italian)

For the brioche-like dough

  • 500 g flour
  • 20 g fresh yeast (mince it thoroughly – I was lazy and had to remove some yeast rests from the dough)
  • 60 g white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar
  • a pinch of salt (which I forgot, it happens quite frequently that I forget something)
  • zest of orange and lemon, grated (to your taste, I usually keep it frozen already grated)
  • 3 egg yolks (reserve the whites, one is needed here, the two will serve you elsewhere)
  • 1 whole egg, slightly beaten
  • 200 ml lukewarm milk
  • 80 g butter, softened (though I used definitely and habitually less)

For vanilla butter cream

  • 100 g butter, very soft
  • 60 g white sugar
  • a bit of vanilla powder

For brushing

·         1 egg white + a pinch of salt


Put 450 g flour into a large mixing bowl and the yeast, mix (pay attention to the yeast so that it won’t appear later on…). Add white sugar, vanilla sugar and salt and mix with a wooden spoon. Make a well in the centre and pour in the yolks and the whole egg slightly beaten, zest and milk. Start mixing, moving from the centre and gradually incorporating all the flour and only then add the butter chopped in pieces. Mix thoroughly till all ingredients are incorporated. Knead 6-8 min adding finally the remaining 50 g flour (I added even more) – the final dough should be satin-like and smooth, a bit sticky to the touch. Place the dough back to the lightly greased bowl and leave to rise for 1 h 30 min. till it doubles in size.

Meanwhile prepare the butter cream: Put very soft butter in a bowl and work it with a wooden spoon till a paste-like structure. Add sugar, vanilla, creating butter cream, cover and set aside.

Butter and flour 26 cm round baking pan (mine is from Lidl, with removable bottom).

after proofing

Take the dough onto a lightly floured working surface, fold it 2-3 times to partially degas it. Roll it gently (although I did it far from gently) into a square measuring 35 * 50 cm, long side turned to you. The finer you roll the more/the taller roses you’ll get. Brush the top with the butter cream (use spatula or a table knife) leaving some space on the borders. Roll it into a… roll, starting from the other long side, getting finally the seam up. With a sharp knife, or in my case actually a trowel (or how is it called) bought in a DIY store (see picture above), cut the roll into 12-15 equal ‘slices’, place them cut side up (and the other one down of course) in a beautiful round, cover and leave for 45 min or more till your roses grow in size.

Preheat the oven to 180 C.

Gently brush your puffed up roses with an egg white lightly beaten with some salt. Bake for 25 min (I baked exactly 25 min), leave to cool before removing from the pan. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.

Keep in a cool dry place, away from the light. But no way – judging from my own experience, it got halved on the first day and it will be definitely gobbled down tomorrow.

Italian things

And after all, why not make something Italian (or pseudo-quasi-Italian) when you receive a letter with Venezia stamp on it? And who cares if it took 22 days to reach St Petersburg when this letter brightens up your day regardless of rain and my seemingly chronic state of unemployment!

Cara amica, Caterinaki μου, αυτά τα ‘λουλούδια’ είναι για σένα! Ευχαριστώ μωρό μου για το καλύτερο αυτές τις μέρες μου, το γράμμα σου, τόσο Εράσμους =)!

C ya soon (the redo is in process yet)



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