Friday, September 14, 2007

Torta al testo

The fast food of Umbria has come to this backyard. I have found our new Sunday night (or any other night) "quick fix" dinner. Torta al testo literally means Cake of the Tile, but this is actually bread of the tile....a quick flat bread cooked on a tile placed over an open fire. In my case, it was cooked on a cast iron frypan on top of the stove, not quite as authentic as they do it in Umbria, but the result was more than satisfying. It is usually cooked, split into two discs, stacked, wrapped in foil to keep warm, then filled and reheated just before serving.

The options are endless with this type of bread. It can be filled with any combination of ingredients you have on hand. You could even use it as a pizza base, or a variation of panini, a sandwich toasted in a sandwich press...the possibilities are endless.

I chose to fill this one simply with rocket (aragula) from my garden, and some left over cheeses - camembert and mozarella. Simple as that.

I'm warming up for the World Day of Bread on October 16th, so expect a few more "practice runs" published in the meantime.


For the dough -
2 tsp dried yeast or 15 gm (1/2 oz) fresh yeast
315 ml (10 1/2 fluid oz) water
500 gm (1 lb) strong white flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
I tblsp olive oil

For the filling-
250 gm (8 oz) melting cheese (fontina is recommended)
125 gm (4 oz) rocket leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Sprinkle the yeast into 200 ml (7 oz) of the water. Leave for 5 minutes then stir to dissolve. Mix the flour and salt together into a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the yeasted water and the olive oil.

2. Mix in the flour and stir in the reserved water, as needed, to form a firm moist dough.

3. Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured work surface, and knead until smooth, shiny and elastic, about 10 minutes. I used my Kitchenaid for this part.

4. Put the dough in a clean bowl and cover with a tea towel. Leave to rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. In the meantime, pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celcius (350 degrees F), or gas mark 4.

5. Knock back, then leave to rest for 10 minutes. Divide the dough into 8 pieces, and on a lightly floured surface, roll each piece to form a round of approx 20 cm (8 inches) across and 5 mm (1/4 inch) thick. If the dough resists rolling out, leave it to rest for a couple of minutes, and then continue.

6. Heat a heavy frying pan or griddle over medium low heat until very hot, about 10 minutes.

7. Place one of the dough rounds in the hot pan and prick all over with a fork to prevent air bubbles. Cook until golden on both sides, flipping it over frequently to avoid scorching and to aid even cooking, about 5 minutes. Repeat with the remaining dough rounds.

8. Stack the rounds on top of each other and cover with a tea towel to keep soft and warm. When cool enough to handle, use a sharp knife to cut around the edge of and bread, and using your hands, separate it into two halves. Top one half with the cheese and rocket and season with salt and pepper.

9. Place the other half on top and put the stuffed bread onto baking sheets. Bake in the preheated oven for 5 minutes until hot and the cheese has melted. Cut into wedges and serve immediately.

If you're super lazy, like I was this night, and want to make a less delicate version, don't split the bread, just place filling on top of one round, then place the other round on top and proceed to heat in the oven.


Lucy said...

Hi Pam, you're a brave woman taking on bread! Wonderful stuff. This is a stunning pizza, something I might even attempt over the weekend to break in my new (and frankly wrist-breakingly heavy) cast iron pan.

Your rosemary is looking fantastic - so happy that winter's over. Pleased that you left me a comment lead me here.

zorra said...

I'm drooling!

Pam said...

Thanks Lucy, I hope your new cast iron pan doesn't cause too much physical strain for you. Good luck with the bread. Don't forget to prick it with a fork once in the pan, otherwise you'll end up with big round pillows of air (trust me!!)

Zorra, this recipe has that effect on the best of us. Do you think I should add "napkins" to the list of indredients? Glad you liked it.