17 aprile 2011

Danubio - English version

la ricetta in italiano qui

The Danube is a dish from Naples but there old people name it "Danubiana" or "brioche al pizzico" (pinch brioche).
Naples has a good tradition of rustic pies or breads and snacks you can buy at bakeries or in kiosks along the street and that you can enjoy walking or at work lunch break.
Neapolitans rustic pies can be divided into yeasted dough ones (savory babà, casatiello, Danube) and short crusty ones, slightly sweet, with savory fillings, known generically as "rustic."
The Danube is a leavened pie made of stuffed balls placed in a round baking pan: after rising and baking, they become a cake but you can easily get one ball and enjoy like a soft sandwich.
But what can you stuff in each ball? whatever left over in the fridge or pantry, according to tradition. Usually ham or salami or sausage and cheese.
The Danube is a "democratic food". Why? Because it is made with the leftovers, because the individual "balls" can have a different filling, because it lays in the center of the table, perhaps in a nice wicker basket, and everyone can serve.
Easter is the traditional period to enjoy this dish: Neapolitans often gather after the Easter Vigil to "break the glory", that is to say to end up the fast and eat Easter delicacies including this rustic bread. But it is found also during the most important festive holidays: for example, often at the center of the table when people meet to play cards at Christmas and you can see a bread ball in one hand and cards in the other!

But what are its origins?
Theories about the origins and the suggestive name (very odd for Campania region) are different.
There are obviously several testimonials about the traditional Neapolitan cuisine, but the texts that date back to the end of 1600 prefer to tell about "noble and rich" cuisine, for few people.
It was only at the beginning of 1800 that the poorest kitchens of all Italian regions (Neapolitan included) started to be considered in Vincenzo Agnolotti's book “La nuova cucina economica", published in Rome in 1803.
The cuisine of the poor and working-clas arrived on the tables of the court when the Bourbons came to Naples. Ferdinand, returning to Naples after Murat to govern the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, was a very big fan of the popular cuisine, had a great passion for macaroni and the tale said he used to eat even at San Carlo Theatre during shows, and with his hands!
From now then there was a plethora of popular restaurants where you could taste macaroni, pizza, salt cod stew, soup and ragù, demonstrating that that cuisine was then our grandparents' and nowadays is the traditional Neapolitan one.
Returning to the birth of this dish, the simplest explanation points out the Neapolitan origins, without giving a precise historical setting, and justifies the name by comparing the surface structure of the stuffed bread to the surface of the river rippled by the waves (definitely very romantic ...).
There is akso a very "Neapolitan" theory which is performed by a very famous Neapolitan man: Mario Scaturchio (which actually first name is Nicola) the owner and icona of one of the oldest Neapolitan confectionery, Pasticceria Scaturchio, known as "the gentleman baker." The nearly octogenarian ex-owner (but despite having sold the bakery still continues to be the consultant for the new owners) argues that Danube was invented by his maternal aunt. And why did she give this name?
Nothing more simple: Mario's aunt was from Austria!
The latest theory is about crossing out food data, family tree of the Bourbons of Naples, who ruled the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.
Bourbons reined from 1734 to 1861 (first it was the Bourbon Kingdom of Naples and Sicily, then unified into the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies). Ferdinand I of Naples married in 1768 Maria Carolina of Habsburg-Lorraine, of Austrian origin. She gave a "cultural-gastronomic mingling" between Viennese chefs and local traditions at court. In Austria, in fact, an ancient sweet called "Buchteln" (Bohemian origins) has the same structure as Danube, a set of "buns" stuffed with "powidl", a plum jam without added sugar, placed next to each other in a baking pan, which rise and become a tart. So the arrival of the Viennese chefs at the court of the Bourbons, probably with the help of local chefs and tasty ingredients of traditional Neapolitan cuisine may have created this dish (from Cookaround).

mise en place primavera

The recipe belongs to my dear friend Ale, a very Neapolitan crazy nice girl, and she assures it's very similar to the ones they sell in bakeries.
But what shape will you give to Danube? Any form will do, the classic ris ound, but also rectangular or square, according to a mold and decorations of the season, placing the balls on the baking tray according to a drawing or a written below (a fish, a bunch of grapes, a basket with a handle, a letter or number), you can also use muffin molds to have single portions, will be fine as a placeholder or good-looking in the individual plate for bread. With this recipe I could make a dove (in the 500 g paper mold, 9 balls) one star (13 balls) and a flower (7 balls), and 2 muffins (with black and white sesame seeds above), 31 balls all.

danubio fiore con semi papavero

You need:

550 g strong flour
250 g lukewarm milk
50 g extra virgin olive oil
30 g sugar
10 g salt
25 g yeast
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 egg for brushing

Savory filling: any ham or salami or sausage and cheese, but also vegetables and leftovers of the fridge, I put ham and cheese
Sweet filling: nutella, jam or marmalade, chocolate eggs, lightly sautéed and caramelized fruit

In Thermomix: put milk, oil, sugar, baking powder and egg in the bowl, 10 sec. speed 6 40°. Add flour and salt: 2 min. speed 7, then 1 min. Dough mode.

In the stand mixer: put the flour in the bowl, start kneading at low speed and add milk (with yeast melted into with sugar) little by little, then oil and egg. Finally add salt. Knead well for 5/10 minutes at medium speed.

By hand: pour the flour on the working surface and make a well, put in the middle milk, oil and egg, mix, dissolve the yeast, get some flour and start kneading. Then add remaining flour and salt. Mix and beat until pretty smooth and elastic.


Let dough rise in a lightly oiled bowl and covered in a sheltered place until doubled (usually an hour and a half). Divide the dough into small pieces, flatten each, fill with the filling and form a ball (slightly larger than a golf ball). Place in a pan lined with parchment paper, brush with beaten egg and allow to stand still half an hour , yet covered in a sheltered place. Brush again with egg and bake at 180° for about 30 minutes, making sure to cover it with aluminum if it turns golden fast, even after 15-20 minutes. Let cool on a rack.
Can be frozen, defrost at room temperature then warm at 150° in the oven for a few minutes.

mise en place primavera

A Spring Danube decorated with dandelion flowers and leaves
on a Spring tablesetting composed with daisies, forsythia, english ivy, muscari and pansies
from my garden.

This recipe is also my entry to this week Susan's YeastSpotting
YeastSpotting Round up 4.22.11

5 commenti:

Alessia ha detto...

Ma che bel post:) Complimenti e buona domenica!:)

hobby baker Kelly ha detto...

Lovely table and delicious Danube I'm sure! And now I'm getting quite hungry looking at them. Thanks for sharing. ☺

thezaman ha detto...

i fell in love with danubio in naples two weeks ago. found your recipe. perfect reproduction of the danubio enjoyed at the hotel Vesuvius.

thezaman ha detto...

i found you recipe after i got back from naples.i had danubio at hotel Vesuvius and fell in love with it. you recipe recreated the taste and texture perfectly

Cindystar ha detto...

Ma che sbadata, questi due commenti dell'anno scorso mi erano sfuggiti, che figura :-((, sono desolata.

Alessia, buonissimo w.e.!

Hobby Baker, thanks so much for your visit :-)

Thezaman, thanks so much and hope you had a great time and lovely weather in Naples as well!

Posta un commento

grazie della visita e gentilmente firma sempre i tuoi commenti!
thanks for passing by and please sign up your comments!

Template Design | Elque 2007