The ciambella is now on high rotation at home, but with woody pine nuts rather than sugar granules on the top. For me it’s a ready-made breakfast or morning tea, usually dipped into milky coffee.

Makes
2 logs

Preparation

15min

Cooking

35min

Skill level

Easy
By
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Although the word ‘ciambella’ usually refers to a cake with a hole in the middle, the Romagnoli like to shape their ciambella into a log. While visiting the town of Cervia I stopped in a pasticceria to have a mid-morning snack.

There were trays of a long flattish yellow cake covered in thick granules of sugar – some were on sale and others were behind the counter. I asked the shop assistant what the cake was called and was told they were ciambella Romagnola.  But why were some on sale? ‘Oh, that one is from a few days ago, so it costs less. But I like it more than the fresh one –  you slice it and dip it in wine, like you would with cantucci in Tuscany.’

So I took her advice and bought the older one; it was studded with sultanas and tasted of lemon zest. I had an open bottle of Sangiovese back at the apartment and dipped thick slices of the cake into the red wine. What a combination! 

Ingredients

  • 70 g (21/2 oz) sultanas (golden raisins)
  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt 
  • 3 eggs
  • 170 g (6 oz) caster (superfine) sugar 
  • 60 g (2 oz) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon 
  • 125 ml (4 fl oz/1/2 cup) milk 
  • 1 ½ tbsp pine nuts

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.

Instructions

This recipe makes 2 x 20 cm logs.

  1. Place the sultanas in a bowl of hot water and soak for 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and whisk to remove any lumps. 
  4. Beat the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the flour mixture, butter, lemon zest, milk and drained sultanas and bring the ingredients together with a wooden spoon – it will be quite hard to mix. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and, with floured hands, shape the dough into two even logs, about 20 cm (8 in) long and 7 cm (2¾ in) wide. Lift the logs onto the prepared tray, leaving plenty of room for spreading. 
  5. Sprinkle the pine nuts over the logs and bake for 30–35 minutes until golden and cooked through. Allow to cool completely before cutting into thick slices to serve. The ciambella will keep in an airtight container for up to a week.

 

 

Recipe and images from Adriatico by Paola Bacchia, Smith Street Books, RRP $55.00