Torta delle Rose del Garda


Italian Rose Cake or Why I bake

Someone recently asked me why I bake! Why do I restlessly search, experiment, read baking books and magazines, visit other peoples blogs, why did I swap my shoe collection for a collection of baking moulds, pin rolls, and chocolate, why I watch cooking channels, constantly looking for an inspiration and new things to try? Although it was potentially a very important moment in my life, I don't think I gave them a proper answer, a real reason; I just wasn't sure of what to say, except that I have that nagging urge to do it almost every day. But the question stayed with me and made me repeatedly ask myself - do I need an explanation why I do it, or a reason to do it? Of course I don't, but yet, why do I do it? 

But then, the moment I pulled this cake out of the oven I arrived at the perfect answer to that nagging question. This is why I bake: for moments such as this, for a moment of accomplishment when all your passions come together.  

I have seen many recipes for the Italian Rose Cake and it was on my to make list, but it didn't have a high-priority flag attached to it, so to speak. One day I came across a picture of beautifully baked pastry and soon realised that it was the rose cake in it's full glory. The recipe was of course in Italian and once again I wished that I moved from Italian for beginners class, although the knowledge wasn't totally useless. It got me to the point where I knew which ingredients to get and that there are several stages in making it, so my "I hate the Google translator attitude" took a small turn towards acceptable and once again Google came to the rescue (well, kind of!) All of us who rely on Google translations from time to time know only too well that we need to be equipped with a good working knowledge of the subject and with common sense, you need to be able to make an executive decision when the instructions say - remove from refrigerator, roll out the dough and incorporate 50 grams of butter giving three laps simple to browse. I am so pleased that my common sense didn't let me down this time. The recipe that follows is my understanding of the original Massari's recipe. It takes two days to successfully make it, but boy, you won't regret it!

Torta delle Rose del Garda

Starter dough:
4g dry yeast
50g strong white flour
25ml warm milk (I put a drop bit more)
Mix to make it smooth and homogeneous and let it rise until triples in volume.

Second dough:
Add 25gr of flour and 15 gr egg to the first mixture, mix thoroughly and let rise until tripled in volume.

Third dough:
10gr eggs
8gr egg yolks (I just added what was left of the egg used in the second stage)
7.5gr butter
7.5gr sugar
25gr flour
Combine the ingredients and mix with the mixture from the second stage to form a smooth dough.

Main dough:
400g strong white flour
125 g eggs (1 medium egg without shell in average weight of 50gr: egg yolk 20gr, egg-white 30gr)
75 gr egg yolks
100gr butter
80gr sugar
6gr salt
20gr honey
1 tbsp ground candied orange peel
zest of 1 orange
1 vanilla pod seeds, vanilla sugar or essence

to finish
150gr butter
100gr sugar
8 small panettone cups, or muffin cases

200gr sugar
200ml water
50ml orange liqueur

Cream the butter with sugar and eggs, add the rest of the ingredients, then combine with the third dough and kneed for about 20 minutes in a machine - or by hand - until very soft and smooth and it can pass the window pane test.
Cover the bowl and leave the dough to rise for 6 to 7 hours at room temperature. Deflate and put into a refrigerator to harden, then roll out and spread 50gr of soft butter, folding the dough into half 3 times. Make 3 turns, and keep the dough refrigerated for at least 15 minutes between the turns. After the third turn, place the dough back in the refrigerator until it hardens enough to be rolled out very thinly, not more than 5 mm, and spread evenly with a mixture of the remaining butter and sugar. Roll it up tightly; the roll shouldn't be more then 7 cm in diameter. Using a very sharp knife cut the roll into 8 pieces, each piece about 5 cm long.
Oil a 26 cm deep panettone tin, or extend the regular one using greaseproof baking paper, and place 8 small panettone or muffin cups at the bottom. Arrange them in a circle, leaving one for the middle. Fill them with the cut dough pieces, cover with light muslin cloth and place either in a kitchen cabinet, or in a fridge to prove over night (depends on a room temperature; it will take about 5 hours to rise in a warm room).
Preheat the oven to 180C and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Cover it with aluminium foil halfway through the baking to prevent it from burning the top, although the highest peaks will be very dark in colour. Turn the oven off and leave for another five minutes before taking it out. Let it coll to a room temperature and brush with the warm syrup. For the syrup, bring the sugar and water to boil, simmer until it becomes thick, then add the liqueur. Dust with icing sugar and enjoy rose by rose!
Keep the leftovers wrapped in cling film.

This post has been submitted to the bread and yeast dedicated blog Yeast Spotting

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