Italian cuisine is well known for its intriguing diversity. With such substantial regional differences, it is easy to encounter a type of recipe that is only ever made in a particular town or village. Bussolai (also known as Bussolari) is one such recipe, typical of Burano, near Venice. You can find them shaped into rings or resembling the letter S, either way they are divine, dunked in coffee or, as Paola Bacchia suggests in her beautiful book ADRIATICO, dipped in wine.
I have slightly changed Paola’s recipes and swapped butter for olive oil, mainly because that’s what I had on hand. I am happy to report the biscuits were a hit, with my two boys dunking away in their milk, and my baby Luna begging for crumbs! I quickly stashed away two to have with Vinsanto later that day. What a good idea that was!
3 egg yolks
90 gr (3 oz) Caster or superfine sugar
75 ml of olive oil (or 100 gr -3 1/2 oz) soft butter
250 gr (1-2/3 cups plain or all purpose flour
pinch of salt
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
finally grated zest of 1/2 orange
1 vanilla bean, slit in half and scraped
1. Beat eggs and sugar until pale and fluffy (either with a hand which or using a machine), add butter or olive oil and beat until combined.
2. Add flour, salt, lemon and orange zest, vanilla and mix with a spoon or your hands to incorporate.
3. Wrap the dough in plastic film or beeswax wrap and rest in the fridge for 1 hour.
4. Preheat your oven to 170 C (340 F), conventional, Line a large oven tray with baking paper.
5. Divide the dough into 14-16 pieces, roll each into a log and shape with your hands as an S. Place onto tray and bake for 15-17 minutes or until pale golden.
6. Take tray out of the oven, cool for 5 minutes, then transfer cookies onto a wire rack to cool completely.
They will keep in an air-tight container for 4-5 days, if they last that long, that is!
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