Granny’s cake

May 5th 2013

dessert for special occasions, vegetarian: without… limits!

There are moments in life that should be sealed. Losing a breast, especially one as big as mine (!), and relative lymph glands, is not a small thing. I wanted to seal it in this way: making the cake that my mother makes for special occasions. This is the first cake eaten by my youngest son for his first birthday. Obviously he adored it, as most of the guests!

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I made it hoping to be able to continue making cakes for a long time ahead. I normally enjoy very much making savory pies, but this cake had the right to go down in history. Moreover it was a long time that I wanted to try making a “crostata” (typically italian cake made with shortcrust pastry decorated with pastry lines perpendicular to each other).

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Two days before the operation, we started to work as a team, myself, my mom and my dad, who was visibly intrigued by the recipe. It was a special experience: making a cake under the supervision of my mom and with the help of my dad, who immediately offered himself to cut apples and pears.  A special experience especially because my mom and my dad – divorced since several years – never talk to each other and, if they do it, they argue.  On this occasion instead (my disease, the operation … ) they managed to live together peacefully under the same roof.  This disease does wonders… on the one hand it destroys you and the other it makes you think that everything is possible!

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And in fact it has been possible: the cake was super tasty! I can say it because I tasted it the day after the operation when my mom, my father and my parents in law came to the hospital. I gave a quarter to the surgeon after the operation, as a sign of thanksgiving and omen. We hope in fact that especially this healing is possible…

The ingredients are:

For the filling
6 medium-sized apples/ middelgrote appels
2 peers/peren
50 g raisins/ rozijnen
50 g pine nuts/ pijnboompitten
75 g amaretti (italian dry bitter cookies, the most famous come from Saronno/ droge bitterkoekjes, de meest beroemde komen uit Saronno)
juice of half an orange/ jus van halve sinasappel
3 tablespoons sugar/ lepels suiker
cinnamon as needed/ kaneel zo nodig

For the base
300 g white flour/ patentbloem
150 g sugar/ suiker
125 g of butter/ boter
2 eggs/ eiren
lemon zest (organic)/ geraspte schil van 1 biologische citroen
½ teaspoon of baking powder/ lepel bakpoeder

I started by preparing the base. I poured the flower on the wooden plank and I started to incorporate the butter, just taken out of the fridge and previously cut in small cubes. When the butter was almost dissolved into the flower mixture I added sugar, lemon zest and baking powder.

Then I started to work the mixture with the eggs. I prepared 3 eggs but 2 were enough. In any case, the amount of eggs depends on the size of the eggs or consistency of the dough. If your mixture remains still too hard and chalky you can eventually add one egg. Once ready, I formed a ball, I wrapped it in cling film and put it in the refrigerator. It must rest there for at least half an hour.

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Meanwhile, I prepared the filling. With the help of mum and dad, we cleaned and cut into cubes apples and pears. Then I pan-fried them with sugar . Once the sugar was melted,  I added the juice of half an orange and I left everything on the fire until the fruit was caramelized and the juice dried up. I turned off the fire and dusted with cinnamon, then I added the pine nuts and the raisins.

At this point, I removed the dough from the fridge and started to roll it out using plenty of flour on both sides and making sure that the laid out pastry had a larger size of the baking tin. I wrapped gently the pastry around the rolling pin and I laid it out on the baking tin. I pressed the rolling pin over it in order to separate the overflowing mixture. Then I distributed the crushed amaretti over the entire base surface and I poured the apple and peers filling spreading it evenly. I re- kneaded the dough in excess , cut it into 8 strips which I then laid on top in two directions. I turned over the edges and baked the cake at 180 degrees for about half an hour.

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time 1 hour of preparation and half an hour cooking time

difficulty medium

to be consumed… only for special occasions because it is made of sugar, refined flower and… industrially produced amaretti (I don’t want to know what are they made of!)

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