may 11th 2013
dessert for special occasions, vegetarian: without… limits!
Have you ever received so many flowers to run out of vases? I received seven bouquets in two days! Considering the reason why I received them, I do not wish it to anyone, but I have to say that it is definitely something beautiful.
In this illness you feel definitely alone, but receiving so much attention from friends, family, acquaintances helps to feel surrounded by love. So much to think… do I deserve it? After all this illness just happened to me, I did not choose for it. But precisely for this reason many people admire the way I am facing it, with positivity and strength. I actually believe that everyone has inside the strength I have, without realizing it. It is in the most difficult moments that it is easier to “grit your teeth” (as we say in Italian) without making a face. Everything becomes relative. This is the possibility that is given to me, there are no other ways or alternatives, so better follow it head-on, in the hope that this attitude will help me reaching the desired goal. Now I sound very wise. In reality I am only a woman which wants to survive and enjoy life or what is left of it. I would like to find the recipe that would allow me to keep on doing so also in case of a complete recovery, so that I would no more complain about trivial things as I was used to do in the past. Probably this is the reason why I write, to help myself remember how I feel right now in order to be able to go back to this strength in times when it seams disappeared…
Anyway, the flowers: how to thank people for all this attention I receive? Simple: with a cake, actually two, prepared to welcome the participants to the pilgrimage that is going to start. Two cakes before the operation (one for the surgeon and one for the nurses that followed me during the chemotherapy) and two cakes afterwards. I talk about only one of them because the other one is a variation on the granny’s cake prepared on the 5th of may. Normally I would not buy rhubarb, I am not used to eat it and nevertheless cook it. But I got it via the organic veggie’s package/bio pakket I receive every week, so we had to be creative. When granny is here everything is possible, so we decided to experiment a bit with a rhubarb pie, and, since we were engaged, I convinced her to use something else than wheat flower and white sugar. As always, granny is a quality warranty :-), the cake was very tasty!
If you also like to experiment, the ingredients are (more or less because she doesn’t like to use the scale):
For the dough:
250 g spelt flower (white)
100 g kamut flower (white)
175 g organic sugar cane (fine grinded)
150 g butter
1 spoon of yeast
For the filling:
300 g rhubarb
30 g raisins
50 g amaretti (italian dry bitter cookies, the most famous come from Saronno/ italiaanse droge bitterkoekjes, de meest beroemde komen uit Saronno)
30 g walnuts (coarsely chopped)
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
half a glass of marsala wine
cinnamon as needed
This time the dough was prepared by my mother since I had just been operated. She poured the 2 different type of flower on the wooden plank and started to incorporate with her hands the butter just taken out of the fridge. In the meantime I processed the brown sugar in a blender because otherwise the dough would not get to a smooth consistency. When the butter was dissolved into the flowers, she added the sugar, the lemmon zest and the yeast. Then she incorporated the eggs (2 were enough but, as always, it depends on how big they are etc etc.), she formed a ball, she wrapped it in plastic and let it rest in the refrigerator for half an hour.
In the meantime we prepared the filling, cutting the rhubarb in small cubes and cooking it in a pan with the maple sirup and the brown sugar. After 2-3 minutes we added the marsala wine and we let it cook until the rhubarb reached the consistency of a jam. We turned off the fire and added the walnuts, coarsely chopped, the raisins and the cinnamon.
At this point we 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. We wrapped gently the pastry around the rolling pin and laid it out on the baking tin. We pressed the rolling pin over it in order to separate the overflowing mixture. Then we distributed the crushed amaretti over the entire base surface and we poured the rhubarb filling spreading it evenly. We re- kneaded the dough in excess , cut it into strips which then were laid on top in two directions. I turned over the edges and baked the cake at 180 degrees for about half an hour.
time 1 hour preparation and 30 minutes cooking time