A while back, we went on a field trip and scoffed maritozzi con la panna at Regoli. They are reputedly Rome’s best. They are indeed delicious, albeit a bit OTT with the whipped cream (panna montata. Not to be confused with hannah montana).
Seeing as I made splits the other day, and splits and maritozzi con la panna are basically both variations on the enriched dough cream bun, it seemed fitting that I try and make maritozzi too. Me living in Rome, and them being a local speciality and all. My version isn’t quite so generous with the cream as Regoli’s, though how much you use is really up to you.
My research took me to numerous recipes on Italian websites1. The basic gist really is an enriched dough, some with milk instead of water, some with oil or butter, all with egg and/or egg yolks.
My recipe is a kind of hybrid, though relatively authentic in that it contains the key flavourings of candied peel, citrus zest, raisins (or sultanas) and pine nuts. Some of the recipes I found use a biga, but I decided to use the sponge-and-dough technique. Here’s the nice active sponge:
For this recipe I agonised with professional-style recipe calculation 2, bakers’ percentages and scaling weights. Then I made a schoolboy error and left a key ingredient out of the dough. Then I burnt the buns.
So I made a second batch too – and tried to remember all the ingredients and tried to not burn them. (In my defence, my oven has fierce bottom heat, even when I use multiple sheets for some shielding, so it’s hard to get nice colour on top without the bottoms getting a little bruciato…)
|Ingredient||Bakers’ percentage||Quantity (g)||Notes|
|Strong white flour||10||41||Aka manitoba|
|Yeast||5||21||Fresh. If using ADY, use 7g, easyblend use 6g|
|Strong white flour||60||246||Aka manitoba|
|Plain flour||30||123||Aka all-purpose, or Grano tenero 00|
|Butter||12||49||Or oil. See ‘Options and decisons’, below|
|Zest||1||1||Lemon, orange or mix|
|Pine nuts||8||33||Aka pinoli|
|Raisins or sultanas||8||33||Soaked, squeezed out|
|Candied peel, chopped||8||33||Orange or citron or both|
1. Make up the sponge by combining the first four ingredients: the milk (warmed to about blood temp), yeast, sugar, flour. Whisk together.
2. Leave the sponge, covered, to ferment. You want it nice and bubbly. Time will depend on the warmth of your kitchen or chosen location. With all that yeast and sugar it won’t take too long – around 20 minutes.
3. When it’s nice and active, add the rest of the ingredients (except the pine nuts and fruit) and bring to a dough. Do by hand or with a mixer with dough hook.
4. When you’ve achieved a nice smooth dough, stretch out, then add the fruit and pine nuts. Fold it over and knead again. I’m adding them a little later so the sharp nuts don’t tear the dough as you’re developing the gluten structure.
5. Put the dough in a clean bowl and leave to prove again. Prove until doubled in size. Again, time will vary.
6. Gently deflate the dough, to regulate the structure. (This is called “knocking back” in Britain, but all that business with thumping it with your fist is far too violent – you don’t want to lose all the inflation.)
8. Form a ball and rest for 10 minutes.
9. Divide the dough into 10 pieces, each weighing 85g or thereabouts.
10. Form the pieces into balls, then allow them to rest again for 10 minutes.
11. Form the balls into cylinders by turning over (so the rougher base is upwards), flattening and rolling up. You can roll the ends to a tighter point if you want. You might want to also pinch the seam (on the underside) closed so it doesn’t open up again.
12. Place on a lined baking sheet, and leave to prove again, until doubled in size and soft to the touch.
13. Preheat oven to 200C.
14. Bake until nicely browned on top, around 15 minutes. (Again, depends on your oven.)
15. While they’re baking, make a stock syrup with 50g sugar and 50g water, brought to the boil together. This is optional (see Options and decisions, below).
16. When the rolls are baked and still warm, brush with the syrup.
17. Leave to cool entirely on a wire rack.
18. Whisk 500g whipping cream to stiff peaks. (You might need more, but healthy types might get upset if I put “whisk 1 litre” of cream…)
19. Split each roll long-ways and fill with cream, with piping bag.
20. You can also serve with a sprinkling of sieved icing sugar (see bel0w).
Options and decisions
The last two steps are involve some decisions, depending on you how you want to present your calorie bombs. Although some of the photos you’ll find online have the creamed piped with a star nozzle, many of the maritozzi I see in Rome have the cream smoothed off (with a palette knife presumably). I think I prefer the latter.
As for the icing sugar, this is why I said the stock syrup glaze was optional. If you’re going to sieve icing sugar all over (again, this is very popular for the presentation of cakes and pastries in Rome), the glaze could arguably be seen as useless. So you could either not bother with the glaze, or you could even egg-wash the rolls before baking, to help with colour.
As for the butter – if you want to be more wholeheartedly Italian with this recipe, replace the butter with good quality olive oil (extra virgin), which some of the recipes I’ve looked at use. Some also use sunflower oil, or similar.
One final option – you can also add some vanilla essence when making up the dough. Maybe a teaspoonful, around 6g.
1. Here are some of the recipes I looked at online, all in Italian: Giallo Zafferano (Italy’s biggest online recipe resource); Alice (a cookery channel; this one uses a biga and some “qb“); Arturo (another cookery channel, related to Alice); Cookaround (a forum); PaperBlog (an online magazine); La Cuochina Sopraffina (a blog, though this one seems to be missing some vital info); Paciulina (another blog); also the book La Cucina di Roma e del Lazio by Maria Teresa di Marco and Marie Cécile Ferré.
2. This style of recipe calculation is very handy if you’re trying to accurately scale up quantities, and for doing costings. You start by adding up all the bakers’ percentages (ie, all the ingredients given as a percentage of the total flour used. Comprehensively explained here). In this case, that gives me 210. You then divide the total dough required by that figure to give you a “recipe factor”.
Here, the total dough I want for 10 buns each made with 85g of dough is 850g. Add a little extra (2%) for loss/wiggle room, giving a total desired dough weight of 867g. 867 divided by 210 gives a recipe factor of 4.1 (rounded).
Then, multiply the bakers’ percentage by the recipe factor to give the ingredient weight (which you can also round, obviously). The total of these ingredient weights should be the total dough. As I rounded a few figures up, the total weight of ingredients here is 871g.
So If you wanted to do 30 buns instead, simply work out a new total dough weight, ie 85g x 30 = 2550g. Add 2% for loss, giving 2601g. 2601 divided by 210 gives a recipe factor of 12.4 (rounded), etc.