I had an almost totally spontaneous Monday; the only thing I had planned was this recipe. Continue reading
I was supposed to have coffee with a friend and as we were both off we ended up cooking and chatting for many, many hours. We ended up having lunch at four o’clock (even for Spanish standards this is late, and this friend of mine is Spanish). Anyway this recipe is comes from the canton Graubünden; if you need a hint, think of St Moritz, Davos or Laax. I found the Prättigauer Pitte in one of my mother’s cookbooks and thought it would be interesting to try this specialty of Prättigau, in the Graubünden canton, in Switzerland. This recipe is a kind of Swiss interpretation of the brioche we all know. One more thing is that the traditional recipe uses dried pears soaked overnight in water while I used fresh pears because in my valley I could not find the other kind.
About the Brioche:
The information I found about the brioche on the site http://www.lagourmandise.net/history.htm is really complete so I thought that I would just report the whole passage:
“The word brioche first appeared in print in 1404, and this bread is believed to have sprung from a traditional Norman recipe. It is argued that brioche is probably of a Roman origin, since a very similar sort of sweet holiday bread is made in Romania (“sărălie“). The cooking method and tradition of using it during big holidays resembles the culture surrounding the brioche so much that it is difficult to doubt same origin of both foods. It is often served as a pastry or as the basis of a dessert, with many local variations in added ingredients, fillings and toppings. It is also used with savory preparations, particularly with foie gras, and is used in some meat dishes.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, in his 1783 autobiography Confessions, relates that “a great princess” is said to have advised, with regard to starving peasants, “S’ils n’ont plus de pain, qu’ils mangent de la brioche”, commonly translated as “If they have no bread, let them eat cake”. This saying is commonly mis-attributed to the ill-fated Queen Marie-Antoinette, wife of Louis XVI; it has been speculated that he was actually referring to Maria Theresa of Spain, the wife of Louis XIV, or various other aristocrats.”
Prättigauer Pitte (for a 25 cm diameter cake dish)
Prep time:20 min
Cook time: 35 min
Rest time: 3-4 hours
2 small pears or 1 large one
6 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
100g butter (plus more for greasing)
1 ½ dl tepid milk
20g fresh yeast (or equivalent)
1 beaten egg white
1tbsp sugar crystals
2tbsp slivered almonds
In a large bowl mix the flour, sugar and salt.
Add the yeast to the milk and leave to dissolve (it’s even better if you can leave it for 10-15 min).
Melt the butter either in the microwave or in a bain-marie and leave to cool. Once the temperature has dropped add the egg and whisk.
Add the milk with the yeast to the butter and egg.
Peel the pear(s) and cut into small cubes.
Add little by little the wet ingredients to the dry and blend together until the dough is elastic (about 10 min). Add the pear pieces and quickly blend again. In a greased cake tin (about 25cm diameter) place the dough a spread it evenly. Leave to rise in a warm place until it has doubled in height (this process took me about four hours with instant dry yeast).
Heat the oven at 180°C.
Brush the top of the dough with the egg white and sprinkle the sugar crystals and the slivered almonds.
Place in the oven for 35 min. Once ready leave to cool a bit before removing from the mold.