Halloween in progress. Corinaldo, Italy

I’ve just come back after a short break in Italy, visiting my sister and friends. Despite some grim and rather nasty weather (which is rather unlikely for Italy) we had a lovely time and PLENTY of delicious food. In those few days hours without rain, we managed to visit few lovely places. Today, I’ll just mention one of them, the town called Corinaldo (Marche region) because it is very appropriate due to upcoming Halloween. To be honest I never was fan of Halloween, I guess because it’s not in our culture to celebrate this event. But this medieval and renaissance city, with the best preserved walls in the Marche (XIV-XV centuries), nearly a kilometre of fortification with doors, ramparts and towers, combining with the grim and grey weather at the time sets the perfect mood for this event. Looks like the locals take Halloween very seriously or, perhaps, it is just an extra reason for a good party.

As we were together with my sister and she made much better photo evidence of our day out, I’m just going to be lazy and re-use her material below. Thank you, Sis 🙂

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Cinnamon Rolls

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This sweet and spicy old-fashioned rolls are perfect with afternoon tea.

CINNAMON ROLLS

Ingredients:

280g strong white bread flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon fast-action dried yeast

80g butter room temperature

1 egg, slightly beaten

100ml tepid milk

60g muscovado sugar

1 teaspoon mixed spice

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Method:

1. Mix the flour, salt, sugar and yeast together in a large mixing bowl. Rub in 15g of the butter. Make a well in the middle and pour in the beaten egg, followed by the milk. Mix to form a soft pliable dough. Knead for about 5 minutes. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with oiled cling film. Leave in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

2. Lightly grease the tin (22cm round cake tin). Tip the dough out on a lightly floured surface and knead briefly. Roll out to a 25 x 18 cm rectangle.

3. Using a wooden spoon, mix together butter, muscovado sugar, cinnamon and mixed spice together, then spread the mixture evenly onto the surface of the dough, leaving a border along the edges. Roll up the dough from the long edge like a Swiss Roll, sealing the end with a little water. Cut the dough into 7 equal pieces. Place the pieces in the tin and space evenly.

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4. Cover loosely with oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size.

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5. Preheat the oven to 190C. Bake the buns for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Let it cool slightly in a tin before transferring them onto wire rack. Serve warm or cold (preferably with a glass of milk 🙂

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Apple and Caramel Tart

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Another variation of an Apple Tart, buttery shortcrust base, aromatic apples under a soft caramel blanket.

APPLE AND CARAMEL TART

Ingredients:

For the base:

200g plain flour

100g butter

2 egg yolks

2 tablespoons cold water/milk

pinch of salt

For caramel sauce:

30ml water

150g sugar

200ml single cream

2 eggs

1 tablespoon flour

pinch of salt

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3-4 apples, cored and thinly sliced

Method:

1. Start with preparing the base. Cream together butter, sugar, small pinch of salt, then rub in the flour and egg yolks. When the mixture looks like breadcrumbs add the cold water or milk. Gently make a ball out of the mixture, but be careful, do not over work the dough, otherwise it will become too elastic and chewy. Wrap the dough ball in cling film and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

2. Make the caramel sauce next. Tip the sugar into a heavy-based frying pan, add the water, then place over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Turn up the heat and bubble for 4-5 mins until you have caramel. Take off the heat, then carefully stir in the cream and pinch of salt. Let it cool.

3. Preheat the oven to 200C. Remove the dough from the fridge, roll out to 5mm thickness. To lift pastry, roll dough around a floured rolling pin and then unroll over the tin. Trim any overhanging edges of pastry with a sharp knife. Prick the dough with the fork and top it with the prepared apples. Put it in the oven for 20 minutes.

4. Meanwhile add the eggs and the tablespoon of flour to the cooled caramel and mix well until combined. Remove the tart from the oven and pour the caramel mixture all over the tart with the apples. Reduce the oven temperature to 160C. Place the tart back to oven and bake it for the next 40 minutes. Let it cool completely before serving.

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