It’s been quite a challenging week for me, as many of you know. And to be honest I have not completely recovered from my fever/cold/cough/any other thing that kids have passed on me this time. It’s very rare for me to get really sick, and even more rare are the times I get high fever. But when I do, I become unbearable. It really bothers me not to be able to function normally, to go around constantly with a tissue in my hand to blow my nose, to not feel like or have the strength to do things as usual. When I’m sick I’m miserable (and a big pain in the butt!).
I’m glad, sooo glad, the weekend is here. I will finally have a real chance to completely recover. My recovery process started this morning, with some good baking (and subsequent snack hehe ). Veneziane are a simple Italian pastry I had on my to-bake-soon list for a long time. Don’t be fooled by the appearance. They are not beignets. They are more like little brioche. But still, the dough does not taste like brioche at all! The recipe is adapted from the one I found at a great Italian blog (dolci a go go). I did not want to use my usual pastry cream recipe, though, so I went for a slightly different cream. I found the recipe a long time ago in a little booklet of my mom. There it was called crema paradiso, which translates to paradise cream. I tasted like heaven indeed. I’m quite happy for having tried this new cream recipe. It’s a keeper. And my recovery…well it sure started with the right foot!
Veneziane alla crema paradiso
For the veneziane
Yields 9-10 small veneziane
125 gr (4.5 oz or 1 cup) all-purpose flour
125 g (4.5 oz or a little less than one cup) bread flour
7 gr (1 ½ tsp) instant dry yeast
25 gr (2 tbsp) sugar
1 pinch salt
25 ml (0.85 fl oz) olive oil
125 ml (4.22 fl oz) warm milk
5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract
For the cream
Yields enough cream to fill all the veneziane
150 ml (5.07 fl oz) milk
90 ml (3 fl oz) cream
60 ml (2 fl oz) honey
3 egg yolks
50 gr (1.78 oz or ¼ cup) sugar
For the dough:
In a big bowl or on a floured surface, make a well with the flour, the yeast, the sugar, and the salt. Pour in the center the egg, the oil and the vanilla and lightly mix with a fork or the fingertips.
Slowly add the milk and keep mixing until the milk is well incorporated in the dough. The dough will be pretty sticky but don’t get discouraged and don’t add too much flour. Keep kneading for a few minutes, until all the ingredients are well incorporated and the dough becomes smooth (and yes, it will still be pretty sticky).
Put the dough in a lightly greased bowl and let it rest in a warm place for about an hour and a half or until the dough is double in bulk.
In the meantime, prepare the cream, so that you have enough time to let it cool down before using it.
In a small pot, pour the milk, the cream, and the honey and warm up the mixture on low flame until it lightly boils.
In the meantime, in a medium bowl, mix the egg yolks and the sugar until you obtain a smooth cream. Pour on top of it a few tablespoons of the boiled milk mixture and stir. Then, pour the rest of the milk mixture.
Put the whole cream back into a pot and let cook on a very low flame, stirring continuously, for a few minutes, this time without letting it boil.
The cream will be ready when it will have thickened just a little bit, enough to leave a light veil on the spoon.
At that point, take the cream off the stove, cover it with plastic wrap and let it cool down completely before using it (by the way, this cream can be served as a dessert in itself, served in small cups with a cookie or two!)
When the dough is double in bulk, divide it into 9-10 small balls and put them on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Cover them and let them rest again in a warm place until double in bulk.
Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.
When the little balls have doubled in bulk, cut a little cross on the top with the scissors and spread a tiny little bit of cream on it.
Bake for about 15 minutes, or until they start to get gold. Let them cool on a cooling rack.
Fill a pastry bag with the cream and fill the veneziane with it (I used a pretty small tip, #2 because I had previously strained the cream. If you do not strain the cream I suggest you use a bigger tip otherwise the cream will get stuck. However, be careful because the cream is still pretty liquid and with a big tip you risk it will be running all out the little brioches and you will make a mess. I did so once and I spilled cream everywhere, but after all….I’m very clumsy with the pastry bag!)
Sprinkle the veneziane with confectioners’ sugar before serving.
Have a sweet day!