Rebirth (and an Easter salame-egg-pepper bread: “Casatiello”)
|April 5, 2012||Posted by ameliaps under breads, easter, eggs, holidays, Italia, Italian, italy|
Let every man and woman count himself immortal.
Let him catch the revelation of Jesus in his resurrection.
This year I am especially spent, so I welcome this time to reflect and hope and renew.
Every time I feel this way I head to the kitchen, my home temple. A place where i use my hands for manual work as I free up my mind: almost a form of prayer and meditation.
The kitchen has been such place for centuries… Incredible peace and re-assurance can come from preparing the same foods that are passed on for generations and prepared around the same exact time of the year. Today, we are frequently missing the element of ritual in our life. I find it necessary and restoring.
Casatiello (or Tortano) is a savory Neapolitan bread, enriched with salame, cheese and pepper. During Easter, eggs are added on top (and baked to hard boiled consistency) . The name Casatiello derives from “caso” (cheese), which is used in the filling. This bread is incredibly rich of symbolism, as many of the dishes prepared traditionally during the Christian holidays. Eggs for faith and rebirth, the circular shape for Jesus’ crown, the criss-cross dough over the eggs for Jesus’ cross, the risen dough for hope, the pecorino (goat) cheese for the sacrificed lamb. It is amazing that one dish can hold so much hope…
|Easter salame-egg-pepper bread: “Casatiello”|
- 1 package active dry yeast (or 1 oz. cake yeast)
- a pinch of sugar
- 1.5-2 cups (250-500 ml) warm water
- 4 cups (400 gr.) unbleached bread flour (or all purpose)
- 4 ounces (100 gr.) lard (or 1/3 cup / 80 ml. olive oil)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper, coarsely ground
- 1/3 cup (60 gr.) grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- 4 oz. (100 gr.) provolone cheese, diced or shredded
- 2 oz. (50 gr.) salame, cut in small dice
- 2 oz. (50 gr.) pork crackling (or use salame, ham, or crumbled bacon)
- 5 eggs
- Grease a 10 inch tube/bundt pan and set aside.
- Dissolve the yeast and sugar in 1 cup warm water and allow to react for 10 minutes.
- Add the flour to a stand mixer. Add the yeasted water, lard (or olive oil), salt and pepper and knead until combined. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of warm water (or as needed) and the cheese to obtain a smooth dough. Cover and allow to rise for 1 hours or until doubled in size.
- Punch the dough down (cutting off a small fist size piece for the decoration).
- Knead the dough again and roll it out into a rectangle. Sprinkle the cheese, salame, and crackling (if using) over the dough. Roll it up pinching the ends and making sure the filling is tucked inside, then roll it and place it as a ring in the prepared pan.
- Cover and allow it to rise for about another hour.
- Turn oven on at 350F.
- Using your fingers make four indentations in the top of the dough, about evenly at the four ends and place in each 4 of the eggs. Use the reserved dough to make some strips that will secure the eggs in criss-cross fashion.
- Use the last egg to make an egg wash to brush over the bread.
- Bake for about 45 minutes or until golden. Serve lukewarm.