Introduction to ancient Rome Sunbread
Ancient Roman recipes – I delicious dish
This cake, taken from ancient Roman recipes, is supposed to celebrate the winter solstice and the rebirth of the sun with the triumph of light over darkness. If you want to know more about this celebration read my Christmas tour. The traces of this celebrated cake are to find in the cook book by Marcus Gaius Apicius, wrote in 1st century. There is unluckily a missing part and even if the ingredients are the same we have no evidence that it is the same one. Therefore I made my personal version of Pan Giallo taking inspiration from it, choosing only the best and mostly local ingredients I could find on the market which is not always easy. Nonetheless ancient Romans would import from all over the empire the best and famous products to enrich their table. So it’s a good start for a collection of ancient Roman recipes.
Ingredients for this ancient Roman recipe:
2 dried figs;
150 g of peeled almonds;
150 g of toasted hazelnuts;
150 g of walnuts;
150 g of spelled flour;
200 g of honey;
70 g of pine nuts;
70 g of candied fruit (lemon and orange);
40 g cinnamon (partly in sticks, partly in powder),
40 g of turmeric (powder),
20 g of cloves, ginger (powder), nutmeg and pink pepper;
grated peel of one lemon;
1 glass of wine
1 tablespoon of spelled flour;
1 tablespoon of oil;
0.2 g saffron in pistils;
Preparation of this ancient Roman recipe:
2. Rehydrate the raisins and figs in a bowl by covering it with water for 30 minutes.
3. Roughly chop the dried fruit, ie pine nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts and almonds. Add the mixture to the candied fruit, raisins and figs previously drained and properly squeezed (I cut in small pieces the figs) and the spice infusion (40 min infusion including half the saffron in a small glass of red wine heated then filtered), the spice powders were added to the flour.
4. Blend the honey to the result and mix until everything is combined. Then combine the spiced spelled flour so as not to create lumps and mix again until the mixture is compact.
5. Flour your hands and quickly form the dough forming four separate loaves and put them on a baking sheet (lined with baking paper). Leave them to rest for at least two hours (the dough is terribly sticky and I had to be quick to make the four loaves compact and beautifully shaped like small church domes).
6. My original icing: heat the spoonful of spelled flour in the oil, then add water in which the remaining saffron was previously left to infuse (40 min. of infusion in a small cup of hot water). Separately, beat an egg with a pinch of coarse salt and a spoonful of honey then combine and brush on the four loaves before baking and during cooking, as it dries, it is repeated.
For a more yellow crust (not like mine in the video) some secrets came from a friend: use only 3 tablespoons of hot water with 8 saffron pistils in infusion for at least 30 min.; 1 tablespoon of flour and brush the loaves before baking