Imagine a dark lily that stands out against a white coat of icing sugar. Where could you possibly find yourself if not in Florence? And that’s not all: because the Florentine Schiacciata is the Florentine sweet of Carnival par excellence, known in every Tuscan city.
Although it is a simple, popular recipe, born as an enrichment of bread dough with sugar, lard, spices and orange peel, Schiacciata boasts noble quotations, including the nineteenth-century one by Artusi. But this soft leavened cake has more ancient origins, dating back to when it was known by another name, taken from the Florentine convent in which the nuns invented it: the Schiacciata delle Murate. Due to its goodness, the Florentine Schiacciata is recognized as a Traditional Agri-Food Product (PAT) of the Tuscany region. Over the years, the Florentine Schiacciata recipe from Tuscan pastry shops has remained almost intact. But the traditional recipe, which uses lard, has been joined by more elaborate variations enriched with creams, and others that are more simplified and suitable for quick home preparation.
The Florentine Schiacciata is a sweet that cannot be missing in Florentine pastry shops during the Carnival period.
The most widespread iconography is that of a sponge cake strictly 3 centimeters high, rectangular in shape, sprinkled with abundant icing sugar covered with a large cocoa powder lily.
The ingredients are:
• 250 grams of Manitoba flour
• 1 whole egg
• 1 egg yolk
• 125 grams of warm milk
• 100 grams of butter at room temperature
• 8 grams of brewer’s yeast
• 1 vanilla pod
• the zest of half an orange
• 60 grams of granulated sugar
• Salt to taste.
• bitter cocoa powder to taste
• ground cinnamon to taste
• saffron to taste
• icing sugar to taste
The procedure involves a double leavening, for a total time of 4 hours, a preparation of about 40 minutes and a cooking of 15 minutes in a preheated oven at 190° C.
Dissolve the yeast in the milk, and pour into a planetary mixer already containing the flour, sugar, spices, orange zest, a pinch of salt and eggs.
We knead for 20 minutes at minimum speed, taking care to use a hook.
Gradually add the softened butter in small pieces and continue kneading at medium speed for another 5 minutes.
At this point we have obtained the first dough which we will give the shape of a ball to cover with a transparent film and let it rest for about 2 hours, until it doubles in size.
Let’s take a rectangular pan of 20×30 centimeters and cover it with baking paper; here we will roll out the dough with a rolling pin.
Cover again with plastic wrap and let it rest for another 2 hours, until the dough has doubled. Bake in a preheated oven at 190°C for 15 minutes, remove from the oven and leave to cool.
Sprinkle the Florentine Schiacciata with plenty of icing sugar and use a stencil to make the shape of the lily in the center of the cake, covering it with bitter cocoa.
And our Carnival will be very sweet!
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