January 02, 2006


On New Year's Day Concetta and I went to Stephanie's to make chamellas and panatone bread pudding. It was the Germani-Bodanza-D'Amato alliance. Time to eat and make food.

First we threw together a panatone bread pudding. Couldn't be easier. Buy a panatone, cube it up. Add eggs, half & half, vanilla, sugar, rum, and nutmeg. Bake in a glass dish set in a shallow water bath. Boom done - panatone bread pudding.

Moving on...Stephanie's family refers to the ringed breads we made as chamellas. I did find this recipe for chamellas which is extremely similar to the one we used (and, technically, I haven't divulged any Germani secrets). Also on this page is a sweet version (simply add sugar). Like most recipes, there are dozens of variations out there for chamellas. My family calls them ciambelles. Ciambelle refers to the shape and not the ingredients. Mostly the shape is round. Some are rings, some are almost rings but the ends don't quite meet, some are scalloped (like the ones we made), some are shaped like birds! Make them sweet with sugar, orange peel, lemon zest, etc. Make them savory with garlic, herbs, cheese. I've got lots of ideas for future ciambelles/chamellas. I've got visions of crushed red pepper dancing in my head or fresh rosemary and sage. Here is a recipe for ciambelles made with sugar AND white wine. Experiment.

Stephanie had the chamella work stations set up when we arrived. Perhaps she can hold chamella making classes? We each had our own supplies and ingredients. This is a simple process of making dough, letting it rise, forming the shapes, dropping into simmering water for a few seconds and then baking.

While waiting for the dough to rise we had lunch. Stephanie made grilled chicken, pear salad, and roasted cauliflower with red pepper strips. All delicious. It was the perfect chamella making party.

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