What do you have for breakfast?
A typical Italian breakfast comes usually with something sweet, like biscuits, cakes, bread with jam, yogurt, sometimes cereals with coffee, tea or milk.
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But what I would call the classic breakfast is cappuccino and croissant.
To me this is a treat. I know it might not be one of the most healthy breakfasts but I am in heaven when I can sink my teeth into a freshly made Italian cornetto and water it all down with a fluffy cappuccino.
Honestly, the pleasure is such that it makes for a better, happier morning! That's what food can do to you, it is so powerful to your senses. Surely caffeine must help too especially if you wake up in a really grumpy mood and we all do from time to time.
Italians sometimes can have just a quick espresso for breakfast. Just the lift you need to wake up. Everything looks better soon after, even your sight can improve, you will feel more "balanced", relaxed and normal. All good except for that "hole in your stomach" you get at mid-morning which urgently needs a sugar-fix to get you to lunch time.
Having lived in England for quite some time now I have learnt how to make porridge and I enjoy it most mornings, my children seem to like it too and I find I need nothing else until lunch time as oats are very nutritious and release energy slowly.
Italian croissants are different to the French ones. In fact they have a different name altogether. In the north they are called "brioches" and in the south of Italy "cornetti". They are softer and made with flour, sugar, butter and eggs, whereas the French ones are made without eggs.
Anyway talking about Italian cornetto, as I had some fresh yeast waiting in the fridge, I decided to try making my own. I have added some cornflour to make them softer and some orange essence for extra flavour. They turned out ever so yummy.
The secret is in the rising. They need to rise twice and this will give them the typical softness of brioches. It is worth taking the effort into making them, a treat for all the family.
I loved them!
- Prep Time : 4 hours 25 minutes
- Cook Time : 15- 20 minutes
In a bowl melt the yeast with a little bit of tepid water. Add the cornflour, the flour, eggs, melted butter, white sugar, orange essence and salt. Stir all the ingredients in. Add some milk (at room temperature) only if the mixture is too dry.
Now take the dough out of the bowl and work it energetically with your hands for 10 minutes, if it is too sticky add a little bit of extra flour.
Put it back in the bowl and let it rest for 2 hours covered with a cloth in a warm place. It should double in size.
Dust your working top with some flour and work the dough for another 10 minutes.
Now shape it like a croissant and to do that you need to flatten the pastry with a rolling pin and with a knife cut some long triangles which you will roll inwards beginning from the base.
Lay the pastries on a baking tray on a sheet of baking paper, cover them up with a cloth and let them rest for another 2 hours. They will again double in size.
Beat an egg and with a spatula, gently spread it on the brioches and sprinkle some brown sugar on top.
Cook in a hot oven at 180C for about 15 minutes until they are a nice brown colour. Please keep an eye on them because they colour very quickly!