Certosino (Thu 24.12).

Panspeziale certosino (Carthusian bread ). Italian Christmas cake from Bologna. A combination of the recipes in “How to be a domestic goddess” by Nigella Lawson and “Gastronomy of Italy” by Anna del Conte. Third parameter was the availability of ingredients.


  • 75 g seedless rasins (I took some more)
  • 2 tablespoons/30 ml Marsala or sherry (I used some sweet french wine)
  • 150 g cooked apples (N.L. prefers 375g grated, I used 2 cooked apples +-300 g)
  • 15g blanched almonds (200g for N.L.)
  • 75g bitter chocolate
  • 150 g clear honey
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 40g butter
  • 1 tablespoon anise or fennel  seeds (left it out)
  • 140 g candied peel (left out by N.L. and me)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 350 g Italian 00 flour
  • 2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • 50g pin nuts
  • 75g walnuts

1. Cook the apples (cleaner than the grating imo).

Leave to cool.

2. Soak the raisins in the Marsala (or white wine in this case).

3. Chop allmonds and chocolate (coarse).

4. (start pre heating the oven at 180 C)

Heat very slowly the honey, sugar, butter with 3 tablepoons water until all is dissolved.

5. Mix the flour, cinnamon and bicarbonate.

6. Add the honey, sugar mixture to the flour. makes a soft dough.

7. Add the raisins, allmonds, chocolate, apples, walnuts, pine nuts.

8. Put in a greased spring-form tin (I line the bottom of the tin with baking paper).

9. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes in a preheated oven at 180 C. Test after 1 hour by inserting a needle, if it comes out dry : OK. (mind the chocolate part will always be sticky)


10. When the cake has cooled it should be glazed with heated apricot jam (4 tablespoons) and decorated with clacé cherries, almonds, marrons, ….

I just store it as such in an airtight container.

Gastronomy Of Italy

How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking

Sourdough rye bread (Thu 24.12)

Simple rye bread made with a sourdough starter.


  • 200g sourdough starter (100 g water, 100g flour)
  • 700 g white bread flour
  • 750g water
  • 700g wholemeal (coarse) rye flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 40g olive oil

1. Reactivate the starter.

Add 300g flour, 300g water.

Mix well to a smooth batter.

Store 200g for future use. Leave the remaining batter to rise for 8 hours (overnight).

2. Mixture should be bubbly.

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Add 400g flour and 400 g water to the starter. Mix well, and leave to rise for another 5-6 hours.

3. Starter dough should be very active now.

Add the rye flour, salt, honey and olive oil.

Mix well, the dough should be very sticky and rather heavy. Add water as needed.

Turn out on work surface and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

4. Knead for 5 minutes. If still too difficult, knead twice for a shorter period with a 1 minutes rest in between.

Return to the greased bowl and leave to rise for 2 hours, or until doubled in size.

5. If well risen, turn out on a floured surface.

Divide into 2 equal parts and form into 2 loaves.

leave to rise for 1 hour to 1 1/2 hour.

6. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 210 C for about 40 minutes. Check by tapping underneath, should sound hollow.

Put on a wire rack to cool.