Imola (Italy) 2020

 As racing returns to another classic track we return to safe ground by baking a bread-based recipe.

We created maritozz-Heidi.

A cross between iced finger buns and hot cross buns, intended for Italian lent.

Heidi chose these and did most of it herself, apart from the cleaning up.

The recipe consists of a sweet bread dough, where strong flour is partially replaced with Tipo '00' flour (to imply it's Italian). If you eat them with an Italian accent, they are even more authentic.

A glaze of sugar syrup adds most of the flavour, and a filling of sweetened whipped cream adds to our sugar intake.

Our first attempt took most of a day while we waited for the rise in various stages, each time giving up. We were left with something more like rock cakes - and perfect as paper-weights. So we made another attempt using yeast that had spent less time in the back of our baking cupboard. 

Tally decided she didn't like it, Sian was un-bothered, Heidi quite liked them and I think they're the best thing we've baked for a long time. Every now and again another goes missing from the tin.

Mix some stuff

Point at it

Make it into rugby balls

Paste with sugar

Serve with cream

Comparison of the first and second attempts

On hearing that Imola was in Italy, Tally insisted on making pasta (and funny faces)


For the sponge
50g bread flour
20g caster sugar
11g fast-action dry yeast which hasn't yet died
250ml lukewarm milk (that's not 4 minutes in the microwave!)

For the bread dough
240g bread flour
120g Tipo '00' flour
50g caster sugar
The zest of half a lemon
40g sultanas (our first attempt added cranberries and candied peel - but for which I was told off for taking ingredients intended for the imminent Christmas cake)
A pinch of salt
60g olive oil
1 egg yolk (squeal while you separate it from the egg white in your fingers, for the full dramatic effect)

For the glaze
50g sugar
dribble of water

For cream
100ml double cream (fridge cold)
2 tablespoons of icing sugar


  1. Mix the sponge ingredients and leave for 20 mins to see it start bubbling. If it doesn't bubble, then please learn our lesson and give up there.
  2. Add the dry ingredients of the bread dough. Mix together.
  3. Add the oil and egg yolk. mix in. Knead until smooth (5 mins in the mixer, using a dough hook, followed by some more time by hand for the fun of it).
  4. Place into an oiled (olive) bowl and cover with oiled clingfilm. Leave in a warm place to rise to double.  
  5. Knock the dough out on an oiled surface and weigh out 15 pieces of 55g. Shape each into a ball and then squidge to make rugby balls - use this opportunity to train your Welsh children how to beat the Scots.
  6. Leave for another 20-30mins to rise. Preheat the oven to 180C or Gas mark 6. (I had thought this was too low, which is why I turned it up to 7 and ours came out black.)
  7.  Whip the cream and sugar with a balloon whisk, but not too much that it makes butter.
  8. Stuff the still warm buns with cream, stuff the warm family with buns
  9. Leave Daddy to clean up.


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