Saturday, January 27, 2007

Baciocca Ligure

I am very found of savory torte from Liguria. From a search on internet have seen that there are so many versions of baciocca, with or without a "pasta matta" shell, with eggs, with pesto. Pasta matta is a dough made simlpy with flour, some tablespoons of oil, salt and enough water to form a dough. It is left to rest and then stretched very thin, a little bit like a strudel dough (see my recipe for apfelstrudel).

This baciocca was posted many years ago by A. Segreti, a lady from Chiavari, on the Cucina Italiana forum. The first time I tried it was because I had some extra cream and I was looking for a simple recipe to finish it up. I really didn't expect to turn out so good. Now, every time I have some extra cream I remember about this baciocca.

You will need

100 g of flour
100 g of very fine cornmeal flour (Italian fioretto or even a the finer flour sold at Indian or middleastern stores)
2 onions sliced very thin
2 big potatoes sliced very thin
a 200 ml heavy or double cream container
salt (about 2 teaspoons)
enough milk to have a soft dough (or if you don't mind the calories use cream all the way)
extra virgin oil

Preheat the oven at 180 Celsius. Sift the two flours, add the sliced onions and potatoes, salt, the cream and enough milk to reach a soft consistency. It should hold a spoon if you stick into it but it should be soft enough that you can spread with a spatula.
I use for baking a paellera, it's iron so it serves well the purpose but you can bake also in a pizza pan, the baciocca should not be too thick (a finger tall), for this quantity a 26-28 cm pan is fine. Oil the pan, spread the mixture, level it with a spatula and drizzle with oil. Bake for about 45 minutes. I like it warm, served with lardo or other salumi is a great appetizer.

A note on the cornmeal. I tried it also with coarser kind of polenta. It doesn't work as well, at least for me, because it requires more attention on the amount of liquid used. If it is not enough the grain will not swell properly and you'll find the grains dry and uncooked.

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