"I like to cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food." W.C. Fields
The general rule is to use a white wine with chicken or fish and a red with beef, or lamb, but who follows the rules. Experiment with Prosecco, or another Italian sparkling wine such as a sparkling verdicchio or a sparkling gavi, in a variety of dishes. There is just one simple rule that I do believe in. If you wouldn't want to drink it, don't cook with it.
Baking simple Italian desserts is my second love, after drinking a great Italian sparkling wine. And so I look for opportunities to combine these two passions. Fortunately, many Italian dessert recipes use wine or a liqueur and a sparkling wine makes a good substitute. Just remember that in desserts of this type, it is important to choose a good wine because the flavor will be apparent. So, if you don't like the taste of the wine to drink, you will not like it in a cake or cookies.
Below are two very traditional Italian dessert recipes using sparkling wine. They are based on different versions of the ciambella. In Italy, the word ciambella means doughnut. And anything with a hole in the center is called a ciambella including doughnut shaped cookies or cakes which are big versions of the doughnut called ciambellone.
Ciambelle with Prosecco and Anise
4 cups of flour (use 00 flour for best results)
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of dry white sparkling wine (Prosecco or another Brut)
1 teaspoon of anise seeds
2 teaspoons of baking powder
Electric mixer - I used a kitchen aid with a balloon attachment
Oven preheated to 350 F or 180 C
Making the Ciambelle
Step 1: Mix together the flour, sugar and baking powder in a large mixing bowl.
Step 2: Slowly mix in the olive oil and sparkling wine. (I mixed them together in a measuring cup and poured them in a slow stream into the flour mixture. If the dough is too dry, add another tablespoon of the wine. However, this dough should be a little bit dry since the cookies are best if they are crisp and flakey.)
Step 3: Break off pieces of the dough and work with your hands until the dough is workable and not too dry. If it is not worked enough, it will fall apart as you try to roll out the ropes in Step 4.
Step 4: Roll the piece of dough into 12 to 14 inch ropes that are about 1/2 inch in diameter.
Step 5: Cut the rope in half and with each half form a circle overlapping the ends of the rope slightly.
Step 6: Place the ciambelle on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and sprinkle with sugar.
Step 6: Place the cookie sheet in the center of the oven and bake for approximately 15 to 20 minutes until the ciambelle are golden brown.
Step 7: Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.
Ciambellone with Prosecco
3 3/4 cups of flour (use a 00 flour or a cake flour for best results)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of sugar
4 eggs plus one egg yolk
11/2 teaspoon vanilla or lemon flavoring
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Zest of one lemon finely chopped
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup minus one teaspoon Prosecco (or another sparkling wine)
Oven preheated to 350 degrees F
Buttered and floured bunt cake pan
To Make the Ciambellone
Step 1: With an electric mixer combine the eggs and sugar until light in color and increased in volume.
Step 2: Gradually add the sparkling wine and the olive oil and continue to mix until well integrated.
Step 3: Add the lemon zest, flour, baking powder and flavoring and continue to mix on medium speed until all ingredients are just integrated; do not over mix.
Step 4: Pour the batter into the prepared bunt pan.
Step 5: Place the pan in the center of the oven and bake for approximately 35 minutes until it is golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean.
Step 6: Remove from oven and let cool prior to removing from the pan. Top with powdered sugar prior to serving.