Nonna Mary’s Ciambella from Hazan Family Favorites

by cakeduchess on May 21, 2012 · 27 comments


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. :)

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Lael Hazan @educatedpalate May 21, 2012 at 1:17 pm

LOVE IT! Thank you so much for your kind words. I too could eat the ciambella for breakfast everyday.


Bunkycooks May 21, 2012 at 1:17 pm

Very nice review of the book. I look forward to trying these recipes as well as the ones I will be writing about. The ciambella sounds perfect for breakfast or an afternoon snack with a cappuccino.


simple baking May 21, 2012 at 1:31 pm

Impressive review. You say “giant cookie”, definitely love it :D


Paula May 21, 2012 at 4:06 pm

Sounds like a beautiful book and that Ciambella looks delicious. Love anything with lemon (zest) in it :)


Linda May 21, 2012 at 6:40 pm

This looks wonderful! I am waiting for my copy of the book to arrive! Can not wait!


Jennifer May 21, 2012 at 7:11 pm

This book looks and sounds like something I would really enjoy. Can’t wait to test out the recipe.


Sue May 22, 2012 at 2:56 am

A giant sugar cookie? LOVE!


Zoe May 22, 2012 at 3:09 am

Every recipe that originates from mum or nonna always sounds very homely. Giant sugar cookie? Yum!


Swathi Iyer May 22, 2012 at 3:54 am

It looks like biscoti type. Looks delicious.


Kim Bee May 22, 2012 at 5:13 am

I’ll have to scope out this cookbook at the bookstore so I can flip through. Sounds wonderful. What a great recipe to make. Anything that tastes like a sugar cookie is something I need to try.


Maureen @ Orgasmic Chef May 22, 2012 at 7:32 am

I love the Hazan crew. I want to take a course there if I could ever afford it. Amazing place.

Until then I will settle for the cookbook. :)


lena May 22, 2012 at 12:40 pm

hi lora, just came over from elisabeth, your mum’s blog . Nice to know you. I find it cute when you said that they resemble cookies but in a loaf form, they look good here in the photo!


Lizzy May 23, 2012 at 5:19 pm

Like a giant sugar cookie? I better try this yummy treat!!!


Barbara | Creative Culinary May 23, 2012 at 6:14 pm

I can’t wait to try this ciambella; actually can’t wait to try several of the recipes in the new Hazan cookbook but wish I had a slice of this now. With you. :)


Lisa May 24, 2012 at 3:32 am

What a delicious (yep..I’m using THAT word again..I like it! lol) looking ciambella. I think I’ve had one once before, but I’m not sure. After reading and gawking Gwen’s post with the meatballs and peas and the strawberry sorbet, and now this ciambella, I think I’ll be ordering it this coookbook soon. I have two of Marcella’s cookbook, and love them. Apparently the apple and his lovely wife don’t fall far from the tree :)


Lisa May 24, 2012 at 3:34 am

Ooops..meant strawberry GELATO – I’m currently eatinf strawberry sorbet. Freudian slip!


Wendy@chezchloe May 24, 2012 at 11:44 am

I’m happily seeing recipes popping up from this new cookbook… and they all look good. Well done on the marketing aspect and I appreciate the disclosure. How wonderful to be able to review such a gem of a book! I’ll check it out.


Jane May 24, 2012 at 12:29 pm

Lovely! Your ciambella looks moist and yummy. Perfect with a hot cup of coffee or tea. That cookbook sounds like a keeper. I’d like to get my hands on a copy soon!


Georgia | The Comfort of Cooking May 24, 2012 at 4:08 pm

What a beautiful baked bread and an interesting story behind it. Thank you for sharing, Lora!


Kristina May 25, 2012 at 3:01 am

I love Giuliano Hazan! great review and story – the bread looks delicious!


Magic of Spice May 26, 2012 at 3:23 pm

What a wonderful treat, and great review :)


Tania @ A Perfect Pantry May 28, 2012 at 7:50 am

This looks very nice… something I’d make for afternoon tea:)


Cookin' Canuck May 29, 2012 at 10:39 pm

I adore cookbooks where each recipe harkens back to a memory from long-ago. It sounds as though I need to pick up a copy of this book! Then, I certainly need to make this ciambella.


Anna C May 30, 2012 at 7:32 pm

Oh my gosh! This is such a delight to actually discouver a ciambella recipe post. This brings back such fond memories of my mom’s baking days.


serafinadellarosa March 3, 2013 at 5:05 pm

This is delicious! Making it again today. Wonderful to have in the AM with coffee.


Ottavia February 24, 2015 at 9:54 am

In Bologna we call this a brazadela dura (hard) as opposed to the soft ciambella, or brazadela tendra. We love it dunk in milk, caffelatte or wine, as you rightly say, probably a fizzy Lambrusco to stay in tune with the region!


cakeduchess March 1, 2015 at 9:19 am

I think it is wonderful dipped in Lambrusco, one of my favorite wines!! Grazie, Ottavia!


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