8garlic cloves250 ml(1 cup) extra-virgin olive oil2tomini (see note)4thyme sprigsTaralli dough250 gm(1 2/3 cup) “00” flour1 tbspfennel seeds, coarsely crushed in a mortar and pestle1 tspcaster sugar125 mldry white wine125 ml(½ cup) olive oil
For taralli dough, combine flour, fennel seeds, sugar and 2 tsp fine salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add wine and oil and mix until smooth (4-5 minutes). Transfer to a bowl dusted with flour, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate to rest (4 hours-overnight).
Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface, knead lightly and divide into 8. Working with one piece at a time, keeping remainder refrigerated, roll to a cylinder 2cm wide and 30cm long. Halve lengthways, form each half into a ring, secure with a small knot at the top and press to seal. Place on an oven tray lined with baking paper and dusted with flour. Repeat with remaining dough.
Preheat oven to 180C. Cook taralli in batches in boiling salted water, turning occasionally, until they float (2-3 minutes). Transfer to an oven tray lined with baking paper and bake until golden (35-45 minutes).
Meanwhile, combine garlic and oil in a small saucepan over low heat, cook until tender (20-25 minutes), drain (reserve oil for another use) and set aside.
Place a 20cm square of baking paper on a work surface. Place one cheese in the centre, scatter over a few confit garlic cloves and a little thyme, season to taste, gather edges of paper, then tie with kitchen string. Repeat with remaining cheese. Place on an oven tray and bake until cheese melts (10-15 minutes). Serve warm with extra confit garlic and taralli.
Note Tomino is an Italian cheese produced from goat’s milk or a mixture of goat’s milk and cow’s milk. If unavailable, substitute goat’s camembert.
This recipe is from the September 2011 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.