Monday, 17 January 2011
If I Knew You Were Comin' I'd've Baked A Cake
I like the idea of sharing recipes which I've found reasonably easy to do and taste pretty scrummy (not as I'd mistyped in an earlier post "scummy").
I discovered the following treat in my wife's "Italian Kitchen I Dolci Sweet Things" by Anna Del Conte I knew nothing about this cookery writer until I was looking for this recipe on line. She's in her 80's, been in England since the 1940's and is adored and copied by all the best professional cooks. There's plenty to get stuck into on line - whether you're a meat eater or not. She now joins Marcella Hazan as one of my Italian cooking heroines.
"I Dolci" is a small, thin volume with 29 recipes of all things sweet ranging from cakes, through biscuits to desserts rich with cream and soft cheeses and ices. I haven't tried them all by any means and the one I'm about to share with you has been done to death by me. It is relatively easy and most important of all the finished thing looks really professional. Oh, and by the way, it is very, very tasty.
So here it is....Anna Del Conte's Torta Di Mel (Apple cake to you and me)
Serves 8 (that's a joke)
2 pounds of apples (I use cookers)
juice of one lemon
2 extra large eggs separated ( at birth)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 stick unsalted butter,melted (about 25 -30 gms)
1 cup all purpose flour preferably Italian 00 (gauge track)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
unsalted butter and dry bread crumbs for the pan
2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
confectioners' sugar (lots)
Peel the apples and cut into quarters. Remove the core, thinly slice and place slices in bowl . Mix in lemon juice covering all the apple and leave to macerate while you prepare the cake batter.
Beat the egg yokes ('til they reveal their sources) with granulated sugar until pale (and interesting) and mousse-like. Add in melted butter and stir until fully incorporated.
Heat oven to 350F (180C)
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Sprinkle 2 tablespoon of flour mixture over egg mixture and fold in with 2 tablespoons of the beaten egg whites. Repeat this addition of flour and egg white, folding in very gently with a high movement (so you get a lot of air into the mix).
Butter a 10 inch spring form cake tin and sprinkle with breadcrumbs to coat base and sides, discard excess crumbs. Spoon the cake batter into the tin (remembering to lick the spoon afterwards) and cover with layers of apple.
Pour the melted butter (2 tablespoons) all over the apple slices and bake in oven (where else?) for at least an hour. If it is browning too much at the edge turn heat down. It is cooked when an inserted wooden toothpick (the book's American) comes out dry.
Turn the tin over onto a wire rack, remove the clip band and the base of the tin and let the cake cool. When cool turn out and sprinkle lavishly with sifted confectioners sugar - best to do this just before serving; but I always forget and do it straight away!
There, a lovely, healthy, low maintenance addition to your tea time cuppa.