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Thursday, March 15, 2012

BIZCOCHO, BISCOCHO WITH A 13TH C A HANDSOME "ISFUNJA," CAKE SPONGE RECIPE

rosquillas

Photo by: aliywhilly 
(fr. bi twice + L. coctus cooked), OCast vizcocho, It biscotti, Eng. biscuit or brioche, sponge cake. As seen in the Anón Andalus, from the 13-15 C. this was a flatbread bread without yeast, Ar. esfunj (sponge [with no sponge]), baked a second time to dry it out and to last during a long period for which it was a basic supply on ships. These are translated into Spanish as rosquillas (hard doughnuts). There is one exception, “elegant isfunja,” which does contain yeast although not called for by the author, he does allow time for the dough to rise. Due to the absence of eggs, it is surmised that the “sponge” part of the cake is the soaking up of honey and butter added at the end of the preparation. This recipe was adopted by Christians and has made especially for Corpus Christi celebrations in León for centuries. The sponge cake known today seems to have evolved from this but was not documented until Marie-Therese of Austria (1638-1683), daughter of Philip IV of Spain, took the recipe to France and gave one to her husband Louis XIV (1638-1715).  [Anón/Huici. 1966:477:260-261; ES: Anon/Perry. Sep 5 02; and Pacho. “Cocina.” 1994:143]

A HANDSOME "ISFUNJA," SPONGE CAKE RECIPE ADAPTED FROM HUICI'S
TRANSLATION OF ANÓN AL-ANDALUS #477. HECHURA DE ESPONJA HERMOSA,
p 260-261


Honey

Photo by: dalyswe 

Ingredients 

1 1/3 c semolina flour
*3 tsp yeast
2/3 c clarified butter or fresh olive oil
½ c clarified butter and
½ c honey
1 c chopped almonds and walnuts or pinenuts or pistachios
1 tsp white sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Preparation

That ain't Mary Baker Project 365(3) Day 69

Photo by: Keith Williamson
PREHEAT OVEN TO 325ºF/165ºC

Grease an angel food cake tin.

Sift the flour and yeast into a bowl.

Knead the flour in lukewarm water and yeast twice. Shape it in the form of a ball, put it in a bowl and cover it with a cloth. Leave it for one or two hours to rise. When almost risen knead it again moistening it with water little by little until it has a texture like tar. Wet it with water and then soak it with 2/3 c butter or oil. Put the dough in tin.

Bake about 45 minutes until done. Invert the tin over a bottle. Let it cool. Remove the cake from the tin and put it on a plate.

Heat 1 c clarified butter and honey. Pour half of it into the hole in the center. When the “sponge” has soaked it up, add more.  Cut it as one cuts a melon. Chop nuts and mix with sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle this mixture over it. (In the photo powdered sugar was sprinkled on top instead.) Serve if God so wishes.

*The recipe does not call for yeast but the reader is instructed to let the dough rise.

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