Tuesday 17 January 2017

Pandiramerino (a.k.a Rosemary and Raisin Buns)

It's been a good while since I've made a bread recipe on here, mainly because they just take that little bit more time to muster up between proving, and with uni life, well, it can 'prove' rather tricky to fit in with studying (yes, the word play was intended there.) However, with semester two not commencing till February (yeah, it does seem a long break with Christmas as well) but I'm not gonna complain cuz it means I now get to do this.... make bread again! Wooooo. 

There was no real explanation why I made this bread in particular, other than I saw it in Emiko Davies' book, 'Florentine' and thought they looked beautiful with their glistening, glossy sugar syrup glaze and criss cross tops.

Apparently, the name pandiramerino actually translates as 'rosemary bread' and they were originally made by countryside peasants for Giovedi’ Santo, the Thursday before Easter. Perhaps, the Italians nod to our hot cross buns, just sayin'...historically it's probably not true. They can be made with either sultanas or raisins, with the plump, naturally sweet fruits giving a hit to contrast with the quite neutral, savoury flavour from the rosemary. 

You can find the Florentians devouring these little buns in bakeries for breakfast with their morning coffee. It's this picturesque, rather romantic notion which drew me to the idea of first making them. So whilst I sit in my Birmingham uni flat, eating them warm straight from the oven, (disappointedly with just a bog-standard cup of tea may I add), it transports me to the warm, cultured Tuscan city. A bit dramatic I know, but when a food has a story, or background behind it, it somehow makes it taste even better. 

Pandiramerino / Rosemary  and  Raisin  Buns

Recipe adpated slightly from Emiko Davies

Makes 8 buns


7g (2 tsp) active dry yeast
1 tbsp caster sugar
180ml (3/4 cup or 6 fluid oz) lukewarm water
300g (2 cups) plain flour, sifted
70g (1/2 cup) sultanas or raisins
3 rosemary sprigs, chopped
60ml (1/4 cup) extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing
A pinch of salt
55g (1/4 cup) caster sugar


Mix the yeast, sugar and lukewarm water in a jug and leave it to sit for about 10 minutes, till all dissolved. Sieve the flour into a mixing bowl and pour over the water yeast mixture. Stir together with a spoon at first and then use your hands to bring it to form a firm dough ball. Place into a lightly greased bowl and leave to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, away from draughts and covered with a damp tea towel or cling film (plastic wrap). 

Meanwhile, place the sultanas or raisins, chopped rosemary and oil in a small bowl and stir together, Leave it to infuse whilst the dough is rising. 

Once the dough has risen for about 1 hour, remove from the bowl and knead in the oil, rosemary and raisin mixture, along with a pinch of salt. The dough will be quite oily and sticky. Split the dough equally into 8 portions, weighing about 70-80g each. Shape each portion into a round ball and place onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper, well spaced apart. Cover the tray loosely with a damp tea towel and leave to rise again in a warm place for another 30 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 200°C/ 400°F/ gas 6. 

Brush the tops of the bun lightly with some olive oil and make a criss cross slash across each one like a hashtag symbol using a razor or very sharp knife. Leave them to rest in a warm place for a final 10-15 minutes. 

Place into the preheated oven and bake for about 20 minutes until golden. Meanwhile, to make a sugar syrup glaze, place the 55g of caster sugar into a small saucepan with 2 tbsp of water and heat till dissolved. Bring it to the boil and once the buns are cooked, brush them straight away with the hot sugar syrup. 

Like most breads, these are best eaten the day they are made.

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