On the day before baking/eating:
Dissolve 1/4 tsp regular yeast in 1/2 cup water and let sit for a few minutes. Add 1 cup flour and mix well. Cover well and let sit overnight. (this is the Biga, or starter,and is a great beginning for all manner of Italian breads).
On baking/eating day:
1-3/4 lbs. Ground Pork (NOT SAUSAGE!)
Can of Crisco
Soften 1 tsp regular yeast in 1 1/2 cups of warm water and let sit for a few minutes. Stir in the biga with a stout wooden spoon (or the equivalent), mix in well and let sit a few more minutes.
Start adding flour until you get a mildly stiff but sticky dough. You’ll have to be the judge of the right amount: err on the side of less flour, you can, if necessary, incorporate more when you’re working with the dough later. Let rest for at least 2-1/2 hours covered.
Divide the dough into 8 balls (hard to do because it is very sticky; you have to keep your hands well-floured).
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Roll each ball into a paper-thin disc.
Dab liberally with Crisco. (This too is tricky if the flour disc does not adhere somewhat to the table).
Dab each disc with one-eighth of the Ground Pork.
Sprinkle the disc with lots of salt and pepper, to taste.
Roll disc into a long tube, continually pulling gently on the dough in order to thin it out a bit more.
Cautiously flour the tube and roll it back and forth under your palms to lengthen it somewhat
Spiral 2/3 of the tube flat and then coil the remaining third on top. Pat down nicely.
Beat an egg and brush liberally over each loaf.
Bake at 350F for about 50 minutes, turning the pans a few times, until the loaves are golden.
For the cousin’s variation, saute the pork until it is cooked. In another pan saute a goodly amount of chopped onion in olive oil until soft (I don’t know why you couldn’t cook them in the same pan, but they don’t). Mix together the onion, the meat, some chopped up pitted black olives, and some cubes of a softish cheese (they use toma, which is a Piemontese semi-hard cow’s cheese – perhaps a Monterey jack, or brie could be used instead – experiment!). Add a sufficient amount of ground black pepper to the mix. Then dab over the rolled dough as above and continue to form the turbans and bake.