Nonna Mary’s Ciambella from Hazan Family Favorites


The last few weeks I’ve been pleasantly perusing and reading Giuliano Hazan’s latest book, Hazan Fam­ily Favor­ites. It is filled with photos of Giuliano as a boy with his darling mother Marcella and other family photos from the time he spent as a child in Italy. Each recipe brings back memories from Giuliano’s childhood.

His father’s parents were Sephardic Jews that settled in Italy and then fled to the United States. His maternal grandparents cooked recipes typical to the Emilia-Romagna region with some Arab influenced dishes from the time his grandmother lived in Egypt. As I lived a few summers in Rimini near where Giuliano’s mother was born in Cesenatico, I felt connected to many of the dishes in the book.

The recipes are a culmination of this mixture of different cultures and culinary styles. Giuliano shares eighty-five recipes that he makes for his own family today.  The recipes are not complicated and many have a few steps. The book is written clearly and even details the time it will take to prepare the recipe from start to finish.

Giuliano includes his mother’s famous tomato butter sauce that is a hit every year at his cooking school in Verona. Giuliano says, “It’s the one dish that exemplifies “Hazan family favorites”. You put four ingredients together in a pot and soon will have a wonderfully simple and delicious sauce. I tried the sauce and it was smooth and buttery. Perfect to make for a no-fuss and tasty dinner with your favorite pasta.

I had to try Giuliano’s recipe for Nonna Mary’s Ciambella. My best friend’s mother is from Bologna and her signature dessert is a ciambella. A ciambella is traditionally made in the shape of a ring. Giuliano’s nonna Mary made hers just as my friend’s mamma Marta does: in the shape of a loaf.  Marta makes her dough on the counter; she doesn’t measure the ingredients. It’s all by memory and touch. She works the dough together until it is smooth enough and ready to bake. Giuliano’s ciambella dough is made in the convenience of a food processor. I loved the idea and have made it several times since I first tried it. It’s identical to nonna Marta’s recipe and is a cake my children could eat every day for breakfast.

Giuliano has invited his readers into his home and life by sharing the flavors and stories from his childhood. These are recipes that can be made every day; Hazan Family Favorites is filled with uncomplicated and some traditional family recipes that even a novice cook will enjoy making. 

DISCLOSURE: The publishers sent me a copy for review. The opinions of the book are all mine. :)

How to describe this ciambella? It’s almost like a giant sugar cookie. The dough is firm and perfect for dunking in your hot coffee or tea. It’s wonderful for breakfast or an afternoon snack. Simple and lovely. The ciambella is by far one of our favorite cakes.

recipe reprinted with permission

Nonna Mary’s Ciambella from Hazan Family Favorites
Copyright (c) Giuliano Hazan 2012, All Rights Reserved

3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons whole milk
2 eggs
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter
grated zest of lemon
1 egg yolk


Preheat the oven to 375 F on the regular bake setting.
Put the flour, sugar, milk, and 2 eggs in the bowl of a food processor. Add the baking powder and salt, taking care not to put one on top of the other or the salt may inhibit the action of the baking powder. Cut the butter into at least a dozen pieces. Add the butter and lemon zest to the other ingredients and pulse until a dough forms.
Transfer the dough to a counter and knead it gently until you obtain a smooth ball. Shape the dough into loaf about 12 inches long and 3 inches wide. Place it on a  baking sheet that has been buttered and floured or lined with parchment paper. Place the egg yolk in a small bowl. Add 2 teaspoons water and whisk. Make 4 or 5 shallow diagonal cuts on top of the dough and brush the surface with the yolk mixture.

Bake for 35 minutes. The ciambella is ready when it is golden brown and feels fairly firm when prodded.
Thanks for stopping by to say, “Ciao!”:) Hope you are having a sweet Monday. :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *