Schiacciata Alla Fiorentina
That I love to try recipes from other parts of the world is no mystery to you. You know how fascinating it is to look for, discover and try recipes from different countries. It’s a great way to get closer to their culture, get to know them and understand them. Today, again, I return to my beloved Italy and I bring you this Schiacciata Alla Fiorentina.
It is a sweet enriched dough, flavored with orange, spices and with a finish that differentiates it. A white background of sugar and a cocoa lily. First of all I want to emphasize that this elaboration, traditionally, is a rectangular flat dough that should not exceed 1,18 inch/3 cm in height. As far as I’m concerned, it’s not that I wanted to be a rebel or break into their tradition. I simply saw the presentation in the book “PH 4.1. Scienza e artigianalità della pasta lievitata” (of which I already warned that I was trying many recipes …) and I fell in love. I made an adaptation of the recipe
I simply thought it was a beautiful presentation and wanted to carry it out in the same way. So I apologize if at this point I don’t keep its traditional look. In any case, both results will be equally extraordinary.
Schiacciata Alla Fiorentina origin.
The name of the cake means «flattened» which, speaking as we do of a rising dough, may seem strange. Or not, if we remember for example the Tarte Tropézienne. In my case, it is not what it looks like, in fact it has quite a lot of volume. But as I said above, I couldn’t resist doing it this way. In Florence you can find three types of schiacciata:
- Schiacciata salata elaborated with olive oil, covered with onion and tomato. It is usually served with charcuterie.
- Schiacciata coll´uva, a sweet version made with olive oil, grapes and rosemary.
- And finally, the version I bring you today. Schiacciata Alla Fiorentina, made with lard, spices and orange, sprinkled with icing sugar and cocoa powder.
This Florentine sweet is traditionally consumed at Carnival. But you know that I am one of those who believes that despite there are specific dates for each thing, we can and should enjoy it when we most want. And all the more so if we have just discovered it!
In different parts of Italy the Carnival is felt with much love and passion, as for example in Tuscany. There are centuries-old traditions such as the famous Viareggio Carnival with its imposing chariots on which many citizens work for most of the year, the Puccini Carnival which is based around the figure of «Gambe di Merlo», the Carnival of the Bocco Sons in Arezzo, celebrated in a small medieval village filled with masks, silk costumes, velvet and brocades (which apparently has nothing to envy of the Venice Carnival).
Florence celebrated its carnival in a majestic way under the lordship of Lorenzo de Medici until the 17th century.
In it you could enjoy dances, shows and a lot of fun both in the streets and at the nobility tables. Unfortunately, today only the figure of Stenterello, the mask of the Teatro Dell´Arte invented at the end of 1700 by the Florentine actor Lorenzo del Buono, remains.
He is remembered as the last mask of Florentine theatre and comedy of ancient art. A simple character, somewhat terrifying and with impulsive reactions, but comical. The Carnival of Florence jealously preserves a dessert that appeared in the bakeries of the city shortly after the end of the Christmas holidays; Schiacciata or Stiacciata Fiorentina.
Yes, I know, I’m playing music again. I can’t help it, it’s something I love, in fact I can’t imagine living without being able to listen to it. It’s something I’ve been doing for as long as I can remember. It helps me a lot in my daily life and I always have a song that reminds me of someone, a moment in my life or a situation.
One of the things I always do when I write a post or edit photographs is listen to music. What’s more, in Spotify I have a list called «Drawing» that has songs that I listen to when I draw, but this one has moved further and also accompanies me in the moments I was telling you before.
Many times it happens to me that when I am writing a post of a recipe, without wanting it, I link a song to it. And there’s no going back. I always relate that song to the recipe. Well, this recipe has happened to me with the song «Whisper of a Thrill» by Thomas Newman and «The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra«. As you can see my musical inclinations are very broad, hahaha.
The name comes from the action of «crushing».
Or break the eggs, one of the predominant ingredients in the elaboration. Originally its name was «Schiacciata Unta» and this was because it is a dough rich in lard. This ingredient is the one that manages to bring an indescribable softness to the dough, in addition to a very particular flavor.
Later, other variations were found in some of the ingredients, as well as the spices. Among them were always orange and aniseed. Over time, and without knowing very well how it happened, they began to elaborate a recipe that was not a rising dough but a sponge cake. That is not the original recipe and it is very probable that when you look for this preparation, you will find cakes.
Traditionally it is usually eaten without filling, you don’t need to believe me, but some prefer to fill it with a thin layer of whipped cream, pastry cream or even chocolate. We will elaborate it in its simple modality and without filling.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a stencil, I’ve left you a PDF with two sizes so you can print them and use them. In my case I have used the biggest lily, but I leave you another smaller format in case you need it. You can download it by clicking on the link below:
Ingredient for 2 pieces 600 g
FOR THE DOUGH:
- 600 g AP/bread flour
- 3 large eggs
- 75 g lard at room temperature
- 75 g unsalted butter at room temperature
- 125 g sugar
- 5 g dry yeast
- 100 g orange juice freshly squeeze (cold if is possible)
- one orange zest
- 55 g cold water
- 4,5 g cinnamon powder
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 8 g salt
FOR BRUSH AND DUST:
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- icing sugar
- cocoa powder
Make the dough.
- In the bowl of the dough mixer add the flour together with the egg, orange juice, dry yeast, water, orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and half of sugar. Knead at low speed for about 8-10 minutes.
- Add the rest of the sugar and knead again until completely integrated. We must obtain a semi-developed dough, patience, the kneading process will be long.
- We stop the kneader and start adding the butter little by little. It must be fully integrated into the dough before adding more.
- Knead until get a good gluten development. It should be elastic, soft, smooth and not break. The whole process of kneading, controlling that the temperature of the dough is always constant (if it increases, i.e. exceeds 80,6º-82,4ºF (27-28ºC), we stop the kneading machine and refrigerate the dough for a few minutes), took me 90 minutes.
- Grease a tupper or hermetic container, place the dough inside and let it rise almost it grows 1/3 of its volume. Depending on the temperature it can take 2-4 hours. In my case it was 4 hours at 70,1ºF (21,2ºC).
Temper the dough.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and leave it to cool for 1 1/2 hours at approximately 69,8ºF (21ºC).
- Dump the dough on a clean work surface and divide into 2 pieces of 600 g each.
- Shape by folding the ends towards the centre and form without exerting excessive tension.
- Place each piece inside a mould.
- In my case I have used wooden pans 7 x 2 inches (18 x 5 cm), but if you don't have them, you can make the breads in round moulds with a diameter of 7 inches (18 cm) or adjust it to a size that you have at home.
Make final proof and bake.
- Cover with film or place in large freezer bags and let it lift until it doubles in size. In my case it was 6 hours at 70,1ºF (21,2ºC).
- Preheat oven to 355ºF (180ºC).
- Bake at medium height for 40 minutes. Remember that the interior temperature must reach 190º-194ºF (88-90ºC) for the baking to be finished.
- Remove from the oven, brush them with melted butter and leave to cool completely on a rack.
- I recommend you to decorate the breads just before serving because with the passage of time the sugar begins to be absorbed into the dough.
- Sprinkle generously with icing sugar.
- Place the stencil on the bread, holding it lightly over it and sprinkle with cocoa powder.
- Remove the template carefully so that no cocoa remains fall on the bread.
- The dough is somewhat laborious/difficult/heavy to develop. You must be patient. At first it gives the impression that it will never get the desired consistency, but peace of mind because that moment comes. In fact, the doughs you must obtain must be smooth, soft to the touch, shiny... That kind of dough on which you would like to rest your head, embrace it and sleep. Well, that's the way it should be.
- Originally this dough was made from 100% lard. It seemed to me that the result might be too ponderous. So I decided to use half butter and half butter. Of course, if you are not convinced by the taste of lard, you can use 100% butter.
- If you don't like it or you can't consume cinnamon, just omit it.
- The orange juice you use should be natural, none of those that come packaged.
- It is very important that you adjust the final fermentation time well to prevent the bread from cracking on one side.
- If you prefer to make a rectangular format, just stretch the dough and place it in a rectangular pan or give it this shape on a tray lined with baking paper. Remember that the cooking time will be much shorter due to its volume. It can be around 18-22 minutes in total.
- It is a bread with a fairly long useful life, in fact gives the impression that with the passage of days even improves its crumb. If you allow me a recommendation, wait 1-2 days to consume it since you do. If you can't stand it, which can be, eat one while you let the other mature its flavors.
- Keep it in a zip-type bag to preserve its freshness.
Be sure to try this wonderful Schiacciata Alla Fiorentina. The texture of the crumb and flavor is incredibly soft and delicate, you will fall in love and steal the heart. As I said, the most surprising thing is the number of days that is preserved in perfect condition.
No doubt you can enjoy the weekend in many ways, but if you dare to try it, it will be one of the best weekends of your life, hahaha.
I wish you a very happy weekend, see you on Monday!
Sources: Andante con Gusto
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