Pan di Ramerino
- bread dough
- brewer's yeast
- a pinch of salt
- a sprig of ramerino (rosemary)
- good handful of sultanas
- This is one of the simplest and most traditional sweets in Tuscan cuisine: pan di ramerino, or pandiramerino, all joined together as was customary a long time ago, just like panforte or pandoro. In nineteenth century Florence and up to the first decades of the twentieth century there still existed the padiramerinaio, a street seller who walked along the streets with his baskets of freshly baked sweets; a trade that was so common as to be registered in the "professions" section of the census conducted by the Grand Duke in 1841.
- Just like many other popular recipes, the custom of making or selling pan di ramerino followed the calendar cycle that fell during Lent and Easter, especially on Maundy Thursday, the day in which it was offered in front of the churches (the custom of visiting seven churches still existed), blessed and eaten with an almost holy rite. it was also one of the few occasion on which children could eat sweets. My father (born in 1902) told me that as I had many brothers and sisters, we each got a small piece. This was because pan di ramerino is round with a double cross which allowed it to be divided into nine pieces.
- The recipe is simple: make some bread dough and add brewer's yeast, sugar and a pinch of salt, kneading well and leaving to rest. Then mix in some lard (or olive oil) in which a sprig of ramerino (rosemary) has been fried and a good handful of sultanas softened in warm water. Leave to rise for another half hour, then divide it and roll it out into round buns about two or three centimetres thick, cut double crosses to give them their characteristic lobe shape and brush with beaten egg before baking in the oven.