Since Saturday night the wind has been strong and gusty, with rain, hail and more rain – actually the rain started long before that (a few years I’d say). Grey but not too cold, and well wrapped up I went for a walk on the beach near Rosscarbery.
Nice big waves, seen from land – this is when I appreciate not being at sea anymore. Rowan – the dog – loved it!
When home from a fresh walk like this the oven beckons!
This biscuit is from Piemonte, and it is a Slow Food Presidium , and this says enough about the importance of introducing a spelt version of it to West Cork….
There are quite a lot of recipes for it on the web, and the one I used is Luca Montersino recipe, that I found here.
Last year, while in Milan, my dear friend Biba (if you happen to be in Milan and need – or even if you do not need it – new lingerie go and see her shop here ) made me discover the existence of a pastry chef called Luca Montersino who gives sweet things a healthier twist. Needless to say another book was added to my loaded bookshelves, and a lot of his recipes can be found online.
I rarely follow recipes, so I substituted spelt flour for the wheat soft flour, and used half of it wholegrain and half white. The honey is local, and had crystallized, and the butter – well nothing but really nothing can dream of getting close to the taste of Irish Butter, so I reckon that would change the taste and possibly the texture of the biscuit – for the better of course!
Since the recipe on the link is in Italian, here is it in English:
200 g honey
200 gr butter, unsalted
100 gr. wholemeal spelt flour
100 gr. white spelt flour
200 gr fine maize flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
25 gr. egg yolk and 60 gr whole eggs (or 1 yolk and 2 eggs)
1 teaspoon proper vanilla essence (or better a vanilla pod)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
If using a mixer bring everything together at low speed, it’s never a good idea to overwork with biscuit and sweet pastry in general, it looses lightness, and this is even more true for spelt – I have used spelt flour a lot, in breads and everything sweet or savoury, and it just doesn’t like being handled roughly.
Cover and let rest in the fridge for about 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 170˚C
Line 3 baking trays with parchment.
The traditional shape is made with a pastry pouch, but if you refrigerate the dough that is really hard, so roll it to about 5 mm thick, cut it with your favorite cutter, place on the trays and bake for 15 – 20 minutes.
Next time I am going to try to bake them at 140˚C for longer – time is really relative, in every sense but even more in baking – ovens have a mind of their own.
That’s it, kettle on now!