Salt flower & Cookies

Se vuoi leggerlo in ITALIANO ecco qui

When you live in three different houses and you move with many things in different bags, losing something is inevitable, above all in the house where your family lives.

I had lost my Fleur de Sel.

I searched and searched and then it reappeared in the most unimaginable place and , above all, it was reduced to a half O_O
Once my mother forgot to go to supermarket and use it to cook the pasta. Tablespoons of Fleur de Sel thrown away for the pasta…

Now I have to wait for the end of summer for the new harvest.

Thanks to connection, or rather I’m Giovanni’s girlfriend, Giovanni is Salvatore’s friend, Salvatore is the Lord of Saline Calcara (Calcara salt pans, I talked about them here), I’ve the last sack of this precious salt from the last harvest at Saline Calcara one year ago, and it was free.

But…how much is the salt at Trapani?“…mmm in effect the normal salt is a cheap substance BUT this is NOT a normal salt, this is the first salt, the best one, and it could be very expensive.

Two years ago I didn’t know fleur de sel (salt flower, if you prefer) but knowing the owner of a salt pan could be useful and romantic! During the summer nights in August, when there aren’t tourists at the salt pans, they are the perfect location to have a party with friends and walk between the pans with your boyfriend under the moonlight.

When there isn’t the moon, salt pans are immersed in the darkness and you can see only lights of far near town, over the sea, because Trapani port and the salt pans look mutually. You could see the Milky Way and thousands of stars, without that urban light. But when there is the moon, which illuminates the pans, stars are on the water.

Between August and September the sun beats down in Sicily and the sea water in the pans begins to evaporate. The first salt on the surface is fleur de sel, little salty isles even surrounded by much water and unadulterated because all impurities sediment. They look like crystalline water lilies which sparkle the thin moonlight, the salt flower indeed.

I don’t know if they call it flower thinking the water lilies or because it’s the best quality of salt.

It’s an unrefined salt but however fine enough, without manipulation. It’s hand-picked by “salinai” (the salt pickers), like in ancient times, when it’s crystallized on the surface because of the mix of wind and sun, and for this reason it’s a Slow Food Presidium product.
There aren’t additives nor preservatives and it includes a more varied mix of mineral salts. It has less sodium chloride, because which it doesn’t cover flavours of foods. I’m looking my Fleur de Sel and it’s silver-grey, damp and friable.

Don’t use it to cook pasta, as a person I know are doing because she forgot to buy it at supermarket. Conserve it for more refined dishes and the unusual recipes.

I wanted the Fleur de Sel to prepare cookies. Yes, Fleur de Sel cookies.

I was looking for an alternative to the usual biscuits for the breakfast at Giovanni’s B&B and I like to test new recipes. I was looking for something of particular and typical in the same time (Trapani sea salt is a Slow Food Presidium but serving it alone for breakfst is not a good idea 😀 ) so I used a Sigrid Verbert recipe from her wonderful food blog Cavoletto di Bruxelles. It’s in italian but there is Google Translate “luckily”.

I tried to translate the recipe for you below:

Fleur de Sel Cookies (Estimated time : 2 hours for kneading, leaving to stand and baking)

• 250 gr/8,82 oz/2 cup “00” Italian Flour”
• 125 gr/4 oz butter
• 125 gr /4 oz/ 1/2 cup white sugar
• 10 gr / 5 tsp vanilla-flavoured powdered sugar ( I used directly 2 gr/ 1 tsp of vanillin)
• 1 egg
• Half teaspoon of Fleur de Sel

I hope that the weight conversations are correct O_O For types of flours I found this article with descriptions of Italian flours

Ok, now we make the cookies:

You have to sift the flavour and mix ith with white sugar, vanillin and fleur de sel.

Add the cool butter (before dice it) and start to knead crumbling all ingredients, the flavour has to “absorb” the butter.

Create a little mountain with flavour crumbs, make a well in the centre and break the egg into it.

Now knead, knead and knead.

When you have a consistent dough, create a ball, cover it with a film and put it in the fridge for one hour.

After you have to roll the dough on a slightly floured surface and obtain a thickness of about 4 mm. Now you can cut the dough in the shapes you prefer while the oven heat at 160 °C. Arrange the cookies on a baking tray ( cover it with the greaseproof paper) and cook for 13 minutes (10 minutes if you want a light color)

With these doses you can have 35-40 super good cookies, with few cheap ingredients you can make a good impression :). You see the little salt crystals “sparkling” on the surface. The flavour? Much vanilla with some crunchy salty crystals distincted. Particular!

This post is short but the translation was very hard. All I can do is keep my fingers crossed for your cookies 😛

If you want to correct my English (please, be kind because I’m a sensitive person and I’m learning) or suggest something, you can write to fioredinespula@gmail.com
If you want to have breakfast at Belveliero in front of Trapani port, you can write here bebilveliero@gmail.com .
If you prefer to have breakfast at Boutique B&B Granveliero and partecipate to cooking workshops with us, write to granveliero@gmail.com (write FIORE in the email to receive a discount! 😉 )

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