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Cicerchia flour: an ingredient that needs to be re-evaluated

Tiziana Colombo: per voi, Nonnapaperina

Recipe proposed by
Tiziana Colombo

biscotti con farina di cicerchia
Recipes for Intolerants, Italian Cuisine
Gluten-free recipes
Lactose-free recipes
Vegetarian recipes
preparazione
Preparation: 01 ore 00 min
cottura
Cooking: 01 ore 00 min
dosi
Ingredients for: 4 people
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5/5 (1 Review)

Biscuits made with Cicerchia flour, a recipe full of authentic flavours

In the heart of the Italian culinary tradition, there has always been a special place for homemade desserts. Today, we present a modern and nourishing reinterpretation of a classic biscuit. It’s not about biscuits, though. We have blended the sweetness and freshness of blueberries with the richness and distinct texture of cicerchia flour, which is an ancient legume mostly valued for its innumerable health benefits.

This recipe is devoted to all biscuits and to those who are constantly seeking out real flavours infused with a dash of creativity. Let’s discover recipes, curiosities, advice, and secrets to creating the perfect biscuit with these surprising ingredients. Whether you are celiac in search of gluten-free alternatives, cooking enthusiasts, or simply curious, we invite you to explore and challenge yourself with this tasty meeting.

 

Recipe biscotti con farina di cicerchia

Preparation biscotti con farina di cicerchia

  • In a bowl, mix the soft butter with the sugar until creamy.
  • Add the egg and mix well.
  • Add the grass pea flour, yeast, salt, and flavourings. Mix until you obtain a homogeneous mixture.
  • Gently fold the blueberries into the dough.
  • If the dough is too dry, you can add a little milk or water, a spoonful at a time, until you reach the desired consistency.
  • Take small portions of the dough and shape them into biscuits on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for approximately 15–25 minutes, or until the biscuits are lightly golden. Cooking time may vary slightly due to the moisture added by the blueberries.
  • Let it cool completely before serving.
  • As the blueberries bake, their juice is released, giving the cookies a hint of moisture. Keep an eye on your cookies while they bake, because this extra moisture may cause them to bake a bit longer than the basic version.

Ingredients biscotti con farina di cicerchia

  • 200 gr. of grass pea flour
  • 50 gr. of rice flour
  • 100 gr. of sugar
  • 130 gr. of soft clarified butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • grated lemon or orange zest (optional)
  • aromas to taste: vanilla
  • cinnamon
  • etc.100–150 gr. fresh or frozen blueberries (if you use frozen ones
  • do not defrost them before using them)

What is cicerchia flour, and what are its characteristics?

Today, we are using cicerchia flour for our biscuits, a flour that is rarely used in Italian cooking. The reason is simple: it is rarely used in recipes. Still, it’s a legume that grows naturally all around the Mediterranean region, having been around in Italy for thousands of years. Why, then, is the cicerchia so little known? The truth is that while it was once a famous ingredient in ‘poor foods’, it is now barely known and hardly consumed. The cicerchia has disappeared, maybe due to its association with poverty in the past and also because new, more beneficial, and nutrient-dense legumes have appeared in its place. However, the cicerchia has a lot to offer; it bears testament to a humble, nutrient-rich, and age-old cuisine.

Actually, there’s not much about chickpeas, beans, lentils, and many other legumes that this legume should be envious of. The cicerchia, and consequently its flour, is characterised by a good protein content. In the same way, it is rich in fibre, which, as everyone knows, is good for digestion and contributes to solving episodes of constipation. The cicerchia also excels in terms of mineral salts, with reference to potassium, phosphorus, calcium, and especially iron. Additionally, there is a good intake of vitamins, specifically B1, B2, B3, and P. Since the cicerchia doesn’t contain gluten, people with celiac disease or those who are intolerant of it can also eat it.

The latter feature is very important and makes cicerchia flour a valid substitute for normal wheat flour in the production of bread or confectionery products. Lastly, this bean has a relatively low glycemic index, which makes it especially suitable for the diets that people with diabetes must follow. It must be acknowledged that the cicerchia has a problem: if ingested in large amounts, its seeds are somewhat poisonous.  In the vast majority of people, toxicity does not produce effects, but some individuals could be affected. However, you just need to avoid excessive intake, and you’re good to go.

 

Farina di cicerchia

How do you use cicerchia flour?

Cicerchia can be consumed like any other legume. Therefore, it can be the main ingredient in soups. It can also act as an ingredient for pasta, a bit like it happens with beans, green beans, lentils, etc. Because of its rather minute form, many also combine it with rice. Partially different speech for cicerchia flour, in fact, behaves like any other flour.

It is recommended, though, to combine cicerchia flour with other flours—possibly in small amounts. As a matter of fact, Cicerchia flour has decent, if not extraordinary, baking qualities. The easiest recipes, like bread, can be made with just cicerchia flour; the trickier ones, like desserts, call for combining it with other flours.

There are legume flours to suit every budget and taste. Legume flours, high in proteins, are used by athletes, vegetarians, and vegans as a great alternative to red meat for feeding youngsters.

The flour is also obtained from the drying and grounding of beans, peas, chickpeas, lentils, beans, lupins, cicerchia, and soybeans. Obviously, to complete the contribution of essential amino acids, they must always be mixed with other types of cereal flour.

The presence of gluten, which is completely absent in some types of legumes, makes it not very suitable for the mixture with the water that prevents the formation of the glutinic shirt responsible for retaining the “gases” that allow the digestion of the yeasts. It is therefore impossible to prepare dishes that require leavening.

The protein denaturation method, which entails baking flour at 90 degrees for three hours, can fix this “defect” in bean flour. The end product is a flour that retains the characteristics of legumes while acting much like regular flour. Many legume flours are available on the market, and while they naturally contain no gluten, this need is lost in processing.

There are several recipes to try with this kind of flour

The recipes that feature cicerchia flour are numerous. I have a preference for a select few that can bring back the rustic sense that most flours lack. The connection is specifically to cicerchia biscuits, which I occasionally like to make. As I have mentioned previously, cicerchia flour is insufficient for certain confectionery preparations. As can be the case with rice, the biscuits are actually intact thanks to a naturally gluten-free flour. The outcome is outstanding in terms of consistency and flavour.

Patacò: a culinary treasure of Catania

Tra le prelibatezze che adornano la ricca tavolozza culinaria di Catania, spicca il Patacò, un piatto avvolto nella tradizione e nella storia. La vista può ingannare: la sua consistenza ricorda quella della polenta, con un caratteristico colore verdognolo donato dai broccoli. Ma un assaggio rivela subito la sua unicità: la dolcezza dei broccoli si combina con la profondità aromatica della cicerchia e il sapore robusto della salsiccia, dando vita a una sinfonia di sapori equilibrati e deliziosi.

Definito spesso come un piatto “povero”, il Patacò è un’esemplificazione della capacità della cucina siciliana di trasformare ingredienti semplici in delizie gastronomiche. Ma non lasciatevi ingannare dal suo umile status: questa pietanza è una potenza nutrizionale, offrendo un mix bilanciato di carboidrati, proteine, fibre, vitamine e sali minerali. La cicerchia, ingrediente principale, è una leguminosa antica che non solo impreziosisce il piatto con il suo sapore distintivo, ma lo rende anche sorprendentemente leggero e digeribile.

In un’epoca in cui la riscoperta e la valorizzazione dei sapori tradizionali è fondamentale, il Patacò rappresenta un ponte tra il passato e il presente, dimostrando che alcuni tesori della cucina non tramontano mai. E mentre Catania ha molti gioielli culinari da offrire, questo piatto, nella sua semplicità e ricchezza, occupa un posto speciale nel cuore di chi lo assaggia.

La farina di cicerchia è un ingrediente versatile e nutriente

Among the delicacies that adorn the rich culinary palette of Catania, patacò stands out as a dish wrapped in tradition and history. Appearances can be deceiving though; its consistency resembles that of polenta, with a characteristic greenish colour given by the broccoli. However, one taste exposes its distinctiveness right away: the powerful flavour of the sausage, the fragrant depth of the grass pea, and the sweetness of the broccoli come together to create a symphony of flavour that is well-balanced and excellent.

Often labelled as a “poor” meal, patacò is a prime example of how Sicilian cooking can elevate basic materials to exquisite culinary creations. This meal is a nutritious powerhouse, providing a well-balanced combination of carbohydrates, proteins, fibre, vitamins, and minerals, so don’t be deceived by its modest appearance. The primary ingredient, the ancient legume known as grass pea, gives the dish a unique flavour and an unexpectedly light and easily digestible texture.

Patacò serves as a link between the past and the present, proving that some culinary gems are timeless in a time when the rediscovery and appreciation of classic flavours are essential. And although Catania is home to many fine culinary gems, this meal, in all its simplicity and richness, leaves a lasting impression on those who try it.

 

Do we have recipes with legumes? Of course, yes!

5/5 (1 Review)
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