Buccellato is a traditional cake to celebrate the spring in Tuscany. It’s an ancient recipe dating back to medieval times. Today there are as many versions as there are cooks, and the term has taken on a generic quality that typically means rustic cake. This lemon version is slightly sweet with a bread-like crumb. The dense cake is soaked in Vin Santo before being served with blackberry sauce and cream.
- 1 pint fresh blackberries, washed and dried
- 200 gram sugar
- 2 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 10 gram dry activated yeast, at room temperature
- 50 gram unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature, plus more for bowl
- 400 gram all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
- milk, at room temperature
- 1 pinch salt
- 2 pinch baking soda
- 1 zest and juice of lemon, separated
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- vin santo
- barely sweetened whipped cream for garnish
- additional whole blackberries for garnish, optional
Put the blackberries and 50 grams of sugar into a saucepan set over medium heat. Cook the mixture stirring occasionally. Once the blackberries begin to release their juice mash them with a spoon until the mixture is soft and just begins to boil. Remove from heat and press the mixture through a fine sieve or cheesecloth-lined strainer. Set aside. This sauce may be kept covered in the refrigerator for 5 days.
Place a large mixing bowl onto a scale. Using the tare feature, return the reading to zero. Sift in 400 grams of flour. Tare the scale to zero. Add 150 grams of sugar. Tare the scale to zero, then add 50 grams of butter.
Using a fork or a pastry blender work the mixture into a dry coarse sandy consistency, with the butter well distributed.
In a small glass or on a small plate, mix just enough milk into the yeast to form a paste. Scrape this mixture into the flour mixture, followed by salt, baking soda, lemon zest and juice. Add the eggs, stirring until just combined.
Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead it until it become smooth and elastic. Form the dough into a ball and place it into a buttered bowl. Cover the bowl with a clean dry cloth allowing it to sit undisturbed about 4 hours.
At the end of the waiting period preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Transfer the rested dough to a lightly floured surface and knead it again for a few minutes. Shape the dough into a 12″ x 4″ inch log, placing it onto a baking sheet. Bake in the oven about 40 minutes. Then allow the cake to cool about 30 minutes before serving. This cake really is best served warm, but it’s not mandatory.
To serve, cut the ends of the cake, saving them for another purpose. Slice the remainder into 12 equal pieces. Pour about 1 inch of Vin Santo into a bowl large enough to accomodate 1 slice of cake laying flat. Dip each slice into the wine, turning it once to allow it soak up the wine. Repeat with the additional slices adding more wine as needed.
Lay 2 slices of cake on each of 6 plates. Drizzle a little of the blackberry sauce alongside and top with a dollop of the whipped cream and (optionally) additional whole blackberries.