Who doesn't love O sole mio....
For some reason, I always think of that song when I think of Venice:)
It is one of the most requested songs for Gondaliers to sing ......
Yet it is a Neapolitan song.
But this lovely beauty is all Venetian!! It's a Veneziana.
A Venetian version of Pandoro perhaps or a Panettone, as the dough is similar but without the fruits.
Definitely a festival bread and it does take a little effort but WELL worth it.
So shall we get yeasty??
You will need!!
4 tsps of dried yeast
1/4 cup of sugar
3/4 c warm water
3 egg yolks
2 cups of Strong bakers flour
75 g of softened butter.
Stir the sugar into the warm water and then stir in yeast until dissolved.
Allow to stand for 10 minutes until frothy.
Add in the egg yolks and combine well.
Add in the flour and this should form a soft dough.
Lastly add in butter and combine through the dough well.
Place in a bowl and over tightly and leave for 2 hours.
1 Tbsp of honey
3 tbsp of warm water
1/2 cup of sugar
3 egg yolks
1 cup plain flour
1 cup Bakers flour
120g of butter
2 tsp of Vanilla essence
Grated zest of 2 Oranges
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Pinch of Salt.
Stir honey into warmed water, stir in the sugar and egg yolks.
Add this mix to the spongey mix and mix until smooth.
Stir in flour, 1 cup at a time until a soft dough forms.
Stir in the vanilla, zests, butter and salt.
Knead for about 8 minutes or use dough hook for 8 minutes on slow.
The dough should be soft but slightly sticky.
Place dough in lightly oiled bowl, cover and leave to rise for 2 hours.
Remove dough from bowl and place on lightly floured surface.
Punch it down and knead lightly for a few minutes.
Cut into half or leave as one monster dough as mine is above.
Place each ball (or single) in a well-greased high sided round cake tin.
Cover and leave for 3 hours.
For the topping you need:
1/4 cup of almond meal or ground almonds.
12 whole almonds
3/4 cup of granulated sugar
2 egg whites
1/2 cup of coffee crystals(or the Italian sugar pellets if you have them!!)
Pre heat oven to 200 Celsius.
Mix the almond meal and sugar together.
Beat the egg whites until frothy and lightly fold in the almond/ sugar mix.
Spread this on top of the dough (as above)
Place the 12 almonds over the top of the dough.
Sprinkle the coffee crystals and then lightly sift 1/4 of a cup over the top of this.
Please note, my topping does not have the whole almonds on it as that would have been pushing my luck.
Almond meal, I can sneak in, but those beady eyed boys would not tolerate the whole almonds ...
Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes and then lower the heat to 175 Celsius and bake for a further 40 minutes.
Possibly less time, 25-30 if you have two smaller loaves.
Remove from oven when golden brown and cool for ten minutes.
Carefully remove from the mold and allow to cool fully before eating.
When it is FINALLY cool, slice a piece and ENJOY, ENJOY , ENJOY!!
Recipe adapted from the ever wonderful Carol Field's "The Italian Baker" 2ed, 2011.