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28217Re: Kasutera/Castela - a Portuguese sweet bread from 16th c. Japan

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  • elwenaduialloth
    Mar 27, 2012
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      The last time I was in Nagasaki, my co-workers bought me some castela as an omiyage. The texture was soft and cakey, though a bit drier than most Western cakes tend to be. Think a slightly dry and more airy angel food or pound cake and you've got the right idea. I don't know, however, whether the texture of modern castela resembles the texture of the period version or not.

      --- In sca-jml@yahoogroups.com, "SeanM" <srmalloy@...> wrote:
      >
      > --- In sca-jml@yahoogroups.com, "LJonthebay" <wodeford@> wrote:
      > > Rath's translation is of a recipe for kasutera (Pao de Castela or Bread from Castile) that dates to 1641, however, the treat was known during our period.
      > >
      > > "Knead together 10 eggs, 160 momme (600 grams or 2.5 cups*) of
      > > sugar and 160 momme of wheat flour. Spread paper in a pot and
      > > sprinkle it with flour. Place the dough on top of this. Place a
      > > heat source above and below to cook. There are oral instructions."
      > > from the Nanban Ryorisho or Southern Barbarian's Cookbook, which
      > > dates from 1641.
      > >
      > > The first batch from a couple weeks ago used ten modern Grade A
      > > large eggs, 2.5 cups Gold Medal all purpose flour and 2.5 cups
      > > granulated sugar. This produced a wet, yellow batter that baked
      > > thoroughly at 350 degrees in about 30 minutes in a pan lined with
      > > parchment paper. Baked, it looked a lot like corn bread and was
      > > much more cake-like than it probably should have been. It tasted
      > > pleasantly sweet and a little eggy and had a slightly spongy
      > > texture 24 hours later.
      > >
      > > Today I baked two batches, one using seven eggs, one using six. The
      > > six-egg batch actually produced dough instead of batter, required a
      > > slightly longer baking time before my testing skewer came away
      > > clean, and only rose about an inch. The flavor is about the same
      > > and the consistency is dense, chewy and a bit more bread-like.
      >
      > From a little rummaging around the Net, it appears that it's _supposed_ to be a batter; it's one of the many variations on sponge cake (or pound cake), which depend for their rise on the expansion of the air trapped in the batter. Most of the castela recipes specify that the eggs should be beaten until very light (some sponge cake recipes separate the eggs and beat the whites to soft peaks to get more air into the batter).
      >
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