Epi­curean heavy­weight

Italy’s third largest city is noted for its culi­nary prow­ess

Life & Style Weekend - - TASTE -

NAPLES is a beau­ti­ful city of vi­brant con­trasts, with restau­rants full of a num­ber of tastes, tex­tures, and cook­ing tech­niques. In Food of Naples – Au­then­tic Neapolitan Cui­sine, chef Johnny Di Francesco takes read­ers on a per­sonal jour­ney deep into the heart of his child­hood Naples and cap­tures the amaz­ing recipes of the city and sur­round­ing ar­eas. He shares a recipe with Week­end read­ers. Rum baba with cus­tard Serves 6 IN­GRE­DI­ENTS: Baba – ◗ 50g yeast ◗ 250ml milk ◗ 1kg flour, sifted ◗ 150g caster su­gar ◗ 400g un­salted but­ter ◗ 4 eggs, lightly beaten ◗ 3 egg yolks, lightly beaten ◗ zest of 1 or­ange and 1 lemon Syrup for baba – ◗ 1 litre wa­ter ◗ 500g caster su­gar ◗ rum ex­tract, to taste ◗ zest of 1 lemon Creme patissiere – ◗ 8 egg yolks ◗ 185g caster su­gar ◗ 135g plain flour ◗ 1100ml milk ◗ 2 vanilla pods METHOD: Dis­solve the yeast in some warm milk un­til it be­comes frothy. Put the flour and su­gar in a bowl and make a well in the cen­tre. Add the yeast mix­ture to form a soft, sticky dough. Add a lit­tle more milk if the mix is too dry. Shape into a ball and knead un­til smooth. Place in a bowl and leave in a warm place to rise to dou­ble in size. When it has dou­bled in size, re­move and in­cor­po­rate the re­main­ing in­gre­di­ents, knead­ing well to en­sure it is mixed and be­comes smooth and elas­tic. Pour the dough into a lightly greased and floured baba mould. Cover with plas­tic wrap, leave in a warm place and al­low to rise to the top of the mould. Bake at 180C for 20 min­utes, or un­til golden and cooked through when tested with a skewer. While cook­ing keep the oven door closed at all times un­til ready to test with skewer. Mean­while, make the syrup for the baba. Place the wa­ter, su­gar, lemon zest and a few drops of the rum ex­tract in a pot and bring to the boil un­til the su­gar has dis­solved. Re­move from the heat and al­low the syrup to cool. When the baba are cooked and still warm, pour the cooled syrup over the baba. Be­fore serv­ing, add a splash of rum if de­sired. To make the creme patissiere, place the egg yolks in a bowl, add the su­gar and mix to­gether. Sift the flour and add to the egg mix­ture. Place milk and vanilla pods in a pot and bring to the boil. Re­move the vanilla pods and pour over the egg mix­ture slowly while whisk­ing. Place the mix­ture in a clean pot and heat again to cook out the starch in the flour. Al­low to cool. Once your pas­try creme is cooked, fill the baba.

Food of Naples – Au­then­tic Neapolitan Cui­sine by Johnny Di Francesco, RRP $45, is out now through New Hol­land Pub­lish­ers Aus­tralia.

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