And we are baking sweets treats all over again at Maroggia’s Mill. For today’s Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook recipe I propose a classic of Italian pastry…slightly modified. Ladyfingers. Who hasn’t got memories of ladyfingers being stocked, packet loads of them, in the pantry? They were always there, ready for mummy to whip up a good old trifle or a tiramisu. I loved to steal a couple while she was busy preparing the chosen dessert. I loved their soft and yielding consistency and slightly spongy inside. Dipped in tea, but very quickly in order not to run the risk of turning the liquid into a cloudy porridge, they reached the peak of gustative enjoyment. Here is a whole new version flavoured with sumac, a spice commonly used in the Middle East which tastes a bit like lemon. I really like it and I find that it lends itself well to both sweet and savoury dishes. These biscuits are ideal for an alternative and light tiramisu, with yogurt and red fruits or for a fresh and summery trifle.
Summer is almost over but some juicy tomato are still hanging on the plants of most of home gardens…a wonderful opportunity to try out a great classic of Italian baking: friselle. Have you ever tasted one?
Before moving on to the recipe let’s find out more about these delicious baked goods. Frisella (or frisedda, freseḍḍa, frisa or friseddha in the various variants of Apulia) is a bread biscuit which is only partially baked, cut in half and then baked once more to dry it. It is typical of Southern Italy regions such as Campania, Puglia, Basilicata and Calabria. Before the war, wheat flour friselle were reserved for the most affluent and celebrations. The poor ate barley flour or barley and wheat flour friselle. The characteristic shape is the result of transportation and storage needs, in fact friselle were strung on a cord to facilitate transport and storage. Fishermen used to wet them with sea water to make them soft and to be able to eat them.
Generally the bread is rubbed with garlic, wet with water and seasoned with fresh tomato and a drizzle of oil, but you can be more creative and use all sorts of ingredients…I even had friselle with lumpfish roe once! Friselle keep for several days if kept in a tin box but personally I can get through a batch in just a few days with the pretence of a snack or an aperitif!
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