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To paraphrase Marc Antony, (well, Shakespeare, actually) Friends, Romans, Countrymen. Lend me your tastebuds! 🙂
I had a lot of homework to do this past weekend for an online course I’m taking (from Harvard!–more on that next week…) so I knew I was going to be home studying. I decided to make a delectable treat called a Maritozzi.
I’ve been really enjoying a new show on CNN on Sunday nights called Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy. If you haven’t seen it yet, you really should give it a try.
First of all, Stanley Tucci. He is FABULOUS. He’s been having a moment during quarantine with his cocktail videos on YouTube. He just has such style, from his vocabulary to his soothing voice to his eyewear, to his ability to “zhuzh” a scarf. 🙂
He has Italian heritage, and on this show, he basically eats his way through Italy, highlighting the traditions and cuisines from the different regions of Italy.
Last week he was in Rome and ate something gorgeous looking called a Maritozzi. We immediately started googling what this thing was and where to get one.
Turns out, Maritozzi, which is a sweet Italian yeast bread, is fairly unique only to Rome, and not really eaten much outside of the city. So our chances of finding one in Texas were slim. 🙂
Undaunted, we started looking for recipes. We found one we liked on the Saveur website. We gathered up the necessary ingredients and I decided this weekend was the time to make our own Maritozzi.
A little history. This is a slightly sweet bun that dates back to the Middle Ages that resembles a modern-day brioche. It is shaped a bit like a football, and once baked, it is split from the top and filled with whipped cream. Freshly homemade, of course. 🙂
The stories surrounding Maritozzi mention that it was invented to eat during Lent, as it is made with honey and olive oil rather than animal fat. It is also said that by the 18th century, it was used for marriage proposals. “Marito” is Italian for “husband,” and prospective grooms would bring their intended a Maritozzi, sometimes with an engagement ring baked right in.
I doubt anyone could turn down a man bearing pastries, right? 🙂 Smart move.
The recipe uses yeast, honey, both all-purpose and bread flour, eggs, sugar, salt, butter, and olive oil. You can find the recipe we used here.
You start by mixing the yeast, honey, and lukewarm water. You mix it until it’s foamy.
You allow it to stand until it gets spongy.
Then you mix in some of the all-purpose flour.
You let that rise.
Separately, you mix the rest of the flour with eggs and orange zest.
You then add the spongy mixture to the flour and eggs and mix for a good long time (like 10 minutes) and then you put it in an oiled bowl to rise.
After you allow the dough to rise, you’ll have a beautiful creature that looks like this:
Now you need a good bench scraper. I got mine for Christmas, and it comes in handy because it has the measurements on the side, so when you cut your dough into pieces you’ll be able to make them all the same size.
So you cut your dough into 10 pieces.
You roll each piece into a ball.
Then you shape each ball into an elongated football shape.
You allow them to rise.
Finally, finally, FINALLY, it’s time to bake them.
While the Maritozzi are baking you make a simple sugar syrup from water and sugar, heated until the sugar dissolves. When the Maritozzi are fresh from the oven, you immediately brush them with the sugar syrup and allow them to completely cool.
Once the Maritozzi have cooled, you slice them from the top, leaving the bottom intact, like a hot dog bun. Then you fill them with freshly made whipped cream.
If you’ve never made your own whipped cream, please do try it. It could not be easier and tastes infinitely better than the sticky sweet stuff you find in the grocery store.
I do love Cool Whip under the right circumstance 🙂 but this calls for the real thing.
To make it, make sure your bowl and whisk attachment are really cold. I put mine in the freezer while the Maritozzi are baking. Then pour in your heavy whipping cream, and some powdered sugar if you like your cream a bit sweet. Then just beat it with your mixer until peaks form. Don’t overbeat it or you’ll start to make your own soft-serve butter. 🙂
So after all day waiting and rising and mixing and baking, you end up with this:
Even though I understand this to be a breakfast food in Rome, we ate ours for dessert. It is delicious.
The bread is slightly sweet, and the sugar syrup you add right out of the oven adds some sweetness. You can really taste the orange zest. My daughter said that she thought the orange zest really elevated the whole thing. The texture is soft and anything with that much whipped cream in it can’t be too terrible. 🙂
We’d really love to try an authentic Maritozzi to know how well we did. We don’t have anything to compare ours with, but we think we did pretty well!
I’m happy to report that we did the proper thing the next morning and ate them for breakfast. Delicious with coffee. A day that starts with bread and whipped cream and coffee is a hopeful thing. 🙂
What do you think? Sound delicious? I hope you’ll give these delectable Maritozzi a try!
And I’d love for you to follow me on Pinterest!