After posting on St. Anthony day (Jan. 17th) about our traditional St. Anthony anise donuts bracciatelli, that you can only find at the baker’s on Dec. 13th (Saint Lucy) and on Jan. 17th (Saint Anthony), I was asked by Marcy and other friends to post the recipe. But before sharing our home recipe, you may want to know what the picture above has to do with bracciatelli!
Well, St. Anthony is supposed to be the protector of animals and each year, in Pesaro, people take their pets and animals to the main square. On Jan.24th Piazza del Popolo was pacifically invaded by dogs, cats, donkeys, goats, ducks, geese, fish, guinea-pigs and, according to the press, over 100 horses. All come to receive, together with their owners, the traditional blessing by Aldo Marinelli, friar of the convent of San Giovanni. We got there a bit late, so all I could take pictures of was cute dogs all around!
My mother, who was born in the countryside little village of Ginestreto, knows very well that animals mean much to peasants. When she was a child, in times of war, the lives of many depended upon their animals’ health. Hence the traditional blessing.
And now, enough with digressions! Here comes the recipe:
Ingredients for 3 donuts
1 egg (ambient temperature), 70 gr. of sugar, 50 ml of milk (lukewarm), 50 ml of sunflower oil, 25 gr. of brewer’s yeast, 250 gr. of flour, anise seeds (as many as you like).
Stir the egg and the sugar for a couple of minutes using a whisk and let the yeast melt in the lukewarm milk (you can help the process by squeezing the yeast with a fork). Pour the milk with the melted yeast onto the mixture of egg and sugar and keep stirring. Then add sunflower oil and flour. Knead the dough until it gets soft and elastic; then place it in bowl drawing a cross on it to help it rise. Let the dough rise in a warm room for a couple of hours.
Then take the dough and knead it again adding anise seeds (a little secret is placing the anise seeds in a glass of white wine the night before starting to bake!). Make 3 parts of it and roll 3 stripes which you will shape into donuts. Place the donuts (‘bracciatelli’) on a baking tray (you can either use baking paper on the tray or you can just pour oil on it… at home we prefer baking paper so you know the dough will not stick to the tray) and let them rise again for about 40 more minutes.
Place them into the oven (180°C) for 15/20 minutes (some people like to parboil them before baking them but we don’t do it that way at home).
Well, have fun baking bracciatelli but if you want to do it like an Italian… I fear you will have to wait Dec. 13th or next year’s Jan. 17th because that is the only time of the year when we Italians, at least we Pesaresi, have them 🙂