It seems that it’s that time of year when some peoples crafting goes down a rather spooky road, and while halloween themed crafting doesn’t really grab me, all seasonal baking does. Here in Siena, the lead up to All Souls or the Festa dei Morti (2nd November) is marked as so many Italian festivals both local and national, with a particular food; Pan Co’Santi. This is a sweet yeasted bread with dried fruit, walnuts and all importantly, and not to be left out unless you have an allergy, pepper. Pepper features in a lot of cooking locally, including sweets and as someone who’d take a fully loaded pepper mill as her Desert Island luxury, that’s fine by me.
Seeing Pan Co’Santi in the supermarket the other weekend, I thought it time I brushed off my recipe and made some. If you’re a fan of sweet fruited breads, cinnamon rolls, teacakes etc. I would really recommend giving this a go. There’s nothing complicated or difficult about making it.
Pan Co’santi comes in two main forms, as a loaf or as a ciaccino style flat bread. In loaf form it can be found on supermarket shelves or in special displays, while the flatter ciaccino style is found at the deli counter. This distinction is something you might want to think about when making yours. The loaf will keep longer and you can toast it as it gets older. The ciaccino style will dry out and taste stale after a couple of days so really needs to be eaten on the day of, or day after, baking.
So what do you need:
- 2 3/4 cups of flour – I use whatever I have and often mix up wholemeal with regular plain or 00
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 2 teaspoons of ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil – plus a little extra for greasing tins and topping
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of dry yeast, or or half a 14g block of fresh yeast) dissolved in one cup on warm water
- 1 cup of sultanas
- 1 cup of walnuts roughly chopped
- sugar for topping
- Mix all the dry ingredients
- Add the wet ones and mix until it comes together in a ball
- Now you have an option either:
- Knead til its smooth and elastic.
- Leave covered in an oiled bowl for half an hour, give it another mix up folding from the side of the bowl to the centre, then leave it until it doubles in size.
- If you want a loaf style pan co’santi:
- Knock it back, shape it, then place it on an oiled baking tray.
- Leave it approximately 30 mins to rise further. Lightly oil the top, (optional -sprinkle with sugar – I use soft light brown which caramelises nicely but whatever you have).
- Bake at 180-200 degrees until it’s golden brown.
- If you want a ciaccino style flatter bread:
- Put it on an oiled baking tray and gently roll it out to about 1cm thick with an oiled rolling pin.
- Lightly drizzle oil the top
- Sprinkle with sugar.
- Leave it to rise by about a half, then poke it in places.
- Bake at 180-200 degrees until it’s golden brown. between 10-15 minutes depending on the mood of the oven. The one I made below could have come out about 2 minutes sooner I think…
Any questions, leave a comment and if you get chance to try it, again let me know what you think in the comments. Also if you have any tips on food photography, please share, really, it’s supposed to look as good as it tastes right…
Until next time, happy knitting and happy baking,