These are flavoursome small rolls, full of raisins and rosemary. They are typical of Florence and are great simply plain as a snack (or merenda, as they say in Italy). I also like them toasted with a nice mature pecorino or goat’s cheese. Toasted and spread with butter and jam is delicious, too.
Crumble the yeast into a large bowl. Add the honey water and a large handful of flour. Whisk until smooth, then set aside until the yeast begins to activate. Add the rest of the flour, the salt and 1 of the eggs, whisked lightly. Mix until a dough forms, then knead with floured hands on a lightly floured surface until smooth and compact, adding a little more flour or water if necessary. Return to the bowl, mark a cross in the top and cover with a tea towel. Leave in a warm place for about an hour to puff up.
Put the olive oil and raisins in a small saucepan. Gently sauté until the raisins have absorbed most of the oil, have plumped up and are a bit golden. Add the rosemary, along with 6 or 7 good grinds of black pepper and stir until it is heated through and smells good. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
When the dough has risen remove it to a lightly floured work surface. Add the raisin mixture and knead until incorporated. Divide the dough into 9 portions and shape each into a smooth round ball. If you prefer, you can leave it as 1 large loaf. Put on a baking tray lined with baking paper, with space in between for spreading, and leave to rise, covered, for 35-40 minutes.
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