Home-made grissini: giving my grandma a run for her money



My grandma grew up in a rather bourgoise family, with all that entails. She had a private tutor for everything that was must-have skills for a young lady, from good manners to navigating her way in the kitchen with grace. She was a fabulous baker and she loved it! Growing up, I was fascinated by the entire alchimistic process: perched upon a kitchen stool, I was fiercely following her every move. She used to make the most grandiose cakes, cookies, biscuits, pies, crumbles, fruit dumplings that everyone in the family loved and enjoyed. Except me. I never had a sweet tooth, not even as a child. So in a grand gesture of love, once the cake was in the oven, she used to look at me and give me a playful smile. I knew I was saved, it meant it was time to make grissini! How can I describe these to you? She was gravitating more towards French cooking (so much in style when she was growing up) rather than classic Italian, so the consistency of the grissini was rather flaky, layered, buttery, a bit crispy, almost like a classic French dough with more weight and crunchiness. She always kept true to a simple topping: white, feta-like cheese and cumin seeds. Years later I realized it was, of course, Sanda’s classic recipe, with an unexpected twist. She made it look so simple, easy-peasy, that somehow, I always thought making grissini take 15 minutes on the clock. Lured in by this (fake) memory, I embarked on the adventure, but little did I know. Truth be told, I am not a great baker when it come to sweets, but this was different, right? In the end, all turned well and I feel that I, somehow, conquered this milestone, too. So roll up your sleeves, boys and girls, today we’re making grissini!

What you need

250 grams flour
100 grams butter
Two eggs
One spoon sour cream
Three spoons milk
Cheese (I used gouda and provolone)
Seeds (I had pumpkin, sunflower, flax, black onion and cumin)

How to make grissini

Mix the flour, cubed butter, one egg, sour cream and milk in a large bawl. Season with salt and knead well. Leave it in the fridge for at least an hour to rest. Start heating the oven (gas 3) then roll the dough into a thick sheet. If you prefer more crunch, make it thinner. Beat the second egg and brush the dough sheet with it, topping the soon-to-be grissini with cheese and seeds. I made three combinations: provolone + sunflower seeds + flax seeds, gouda + pumpkin seeds + black onion seeds and white cheese + cumin seeds. Cut the grissini with a sharp knife, about 1.5 centimeters and lay them on a baking sheet. I kept them in the oven for about 15 minutes. That’s it, it does seem easy, right? Enjoy with a nice beer, or two, or three!

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