My way of baking a sticky Sicilian Orange Cake

Now the citrus fruits are back in season. What better way than using oranges “head to toe” in a cake? I adapted a recipe which I found in a newspaper using entire oranges.

Ingredients for a 18-20 cm diameter spring tin:
5 organic sicilian oranges (or any other with few seeds)
3 medium fresh eggs (yolk and egg white separated)
100 gr caster sugar
100 gr brown sugar
100 gr unsalted butter
150 gr almonds, freshly ground
150 gr flour, 00
Vanillaseeds
2 tsps baking powder
70gr candied small orange cubes
For the syrup additional ca 50 gr sugar (white or liquid)
Preparation:
Heat oven to 180c ventilated (190c static)
Separate eggs and mix the yolks with the two sugars until creamy.
Add the butter which you cut in cubes, do not melt it, it’s the bakery’s secret 😀
Continue to mix it until all is well amalgamated.
Beat the egg whites until very stiff, set aside.
Wash the oranges and cut two of them in cubes, do not remove the peel, but the inner white bits around the seeds, and remove the seeds too of course.
Blend the oranges until you get a kind of purée.
Add the juice and grated peel of another orange to the purée and mix well.
Now add the almonds, flour and baking powder to the egg yolk batter, stir well, add the candied oranges and the orange purée. Mix well until you get a smooth batter. Now finally add the egg whites, stirring carefully until all is well blended together.
Prepare a spring form by layering a baking sheet on the bottom.
From another orange, cut rondelles and put them on the bottom of the pan. I did half them to make them fit.
Pour the batter over the oranges and bake for 45-50 minutes.
For the syrup, bring the juice of the last remaining orange to a boil with ca. 100gr sugar until you get a sticky syrup.
Let the cake cool off a few minutes, then turn it upside down and pour the syrup on it. Let dry and cool off completely before digging in!
This cake goes well with some vanilla icecream or chantilly, or just plain!
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Moscato Sorbet

This is my new office, no joke. And the ceiling is covered with Moscato Grapes. Yesterday I harvested about 2kgs of them, they are juicy and very sweet. And…the grapes ultra-organic, we haven’t treated them at all.

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As there aren’t enough grapes to produce wine or grappa, I thought I try to make a sorbet.

I washed the grapes and extracted approximately 9dl of juice to which I added 2 tablespoons of glucose syrup (liquid sugar or invert sugar work too). In a pan I did bring the juice to light simmer, just until the glucose syrup dissolved.

Then,  I let the juice cool down about an hour in the fridge and used my icecream maker to mix and freeze it. I transferred the sorbet into a plastic container and put it in the freezer. It is very smooth and tasty, I think it will go well with a sip of Moscato d‘Ast poured on it 🤩

Autumn Treasures – Plum Chutney

 

It’s still harvesting time here in the beautiful Piemonte! I found some sweet plums on the farmers market and thought i try something else than baking a cake with them. A quick and easy recipe for plum chutney .
Ingredients for a 2.5dl jar
300 g plums, washed and cut in chunks
1 small red onion (Tropea if you can get them), cut in fine 2cm long strips
2 tbl spoons of raw sugar
1 tea spoon of cinnamon
1 tea spoon of ginger (fresh or powder)
0.5 dl of aceto balsamico di Modena (use a good one, it’s worth it)
0.5 dl water
Some pepper corns
Chilli and salt to your liking
Add all the ingredients to a sauce pan and let simmer for 20 minutes, until plums are very soft and the liquid becomes a syrup.
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Wash the glass jar very well with hot water and dry it completely (ideally a few minutes in the oven).
Pour the chutney into the jar and close it firmly, let cool on a towel.
Keep in a dry, cool place up to two months. Once opened, keep refrigerated and use it within two weeks.
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Goes well with Cheese and Meat.

Apricot Sheet Cake with Crumble

As harvesting time is in full swing, I cannot help but bake and cook even with the big heat outside.

Today, I saw nice apricots at one of my “go-to” veggie and fruit shops and thought I could try something new.

We’re invited for dinner tonight, so this may make a nice dessert.

Ingredients for a 20×35 cm baking sheet:

4 large eggs

200gr caster sugar

150gr butter in cubes

200 gr flour (all purpose)

1/2 lemon, zest only

1tbl spoon vanilla sugar

8gr baking powder

1kg apricots, washed and cut in 1/8

For the crumble:

100gr flour

65gr caster sugar

65gr butter in cubes

Plus icing sugar for the finishing touches

For the dough, blend the sugar, vanilla sugar, zest and butter for 10 minutes with a hand mixer.

Separate the eggs, add the egg yolks to the sugar/butter mix. Blend well.
With clean beaters, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.

Add the baking powder to the flour.

Now alternatively add flour and egg white to the mix, stirring very gently until you get a creamy texture batter

Heat the oven to 180c.

Line the baking tray with baking paper. Pour the batter into the tray and spread it out evenly.

Now spread the sliced apricots on the batter.

Mix the flour, sugar and butter with your hands until you get a crumbly texture. Spread the crumble over the apricots.

Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes at 180c

Let cool off and cover with icing sugar. Cut in pieces of the size you like them. Can be enjoyed as is or with a blob of softly whipped cream.

PS: as I had a spoonful of Mascarpone and whipped cream left from another dessert, I added those to the batter. Not a must but makes it extra moist.

PPS: the other dessert is a peach semifreddo. Same recipe as my melon semifreddo. Substitute melon with 1kg sweetest peaches.

Semifreddo al Melone

A refreshing dessert when it’s really hot!

We were invited for a Ferragosto lunch, I think almost 100% of all Italians that day celebrate with family and friends, eating, drinking and being merry (Kudos however to those who work that day)! So, I was bringing a dessert and opted for a refreshing Semifreddo. It’s so simple to prepare!
Ingredients for 4 persons
1 melon, choose a beautiful and sweet one
7 tbl spoons caster sugar
3 tbl spoons lemon juice
5 tbl spoons of fresh mascarpone
2dl whipped cream
1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
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Slice the melon in half carefully and remove seeds. With a spoon, shave the pulp out of the melon halves, be careful not to hurt the skin of the melon.
Sieve the melon liquid (keep the liquid to pimp your ice tea or water) and purée the pulp with the lemon juice, sugar and mascarpone until you get a silky mixture.
Whip the cream and add the vanilla sugar, add to the melon mixture until well amalgamated.
Now fill the Melon halves with the mixture, cover with saran wrap and freeze over night. If you have melon mixture left, put it in a cake pan and freeze it as well. You can keep it for 2 weeks.
Remove the melons from the freezer ca. 30 mins before serving and put them in the fridge. Slice the melon halves in 4 pieces and serve with some mint leaves as decoration and some Amaretti.

Maccheroncelli with Guanciale al Brandy Sugo

 

Fancy some quick pasta lunch? Try this recipe, it’s very tasty and prepared in less than 30 minutes, unless you want to let simmer the sugo for some longer for even more taste!
Ingredients for 2 persons:
300gr Pancetta (not our cat Pancy of course!), I used Guanciale aged in brandy. Basically any type of greasy bacon works.
300-400ml canned tomatoes
3 garlic cloves
2 spring onions
Small tin of peas
Oregano, Thym, Salt, Pepper, spicy olive oil, chilli flakes, bay leaves
500gr Pasta, me: Rummo Maccheroncelli
In a deep pan, fry the Pancetta without adding oil. When slightly brown, add garlic and onion, stir fry for 2-3 minutes, add 1-2 teaspoons of the spiced oil, thym and oregano.
Now add the Tomatoes and the salt, pepper, bay leaves and chilli flakes. Stir well. Add the peas and let simmer on low heat.
Meanwhile, boil water in a pan, add salt and the pasta, cook as per instructions. Me, usually 2 minutes less to really have them al dente.
Add the pasta to the sugo, stir well and serve. For those who like it, add grated Parmesan cheese. Buon appetito!
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Polenta con Pancetta

When it’s foggy outside it’s time for a heartwarming lunch. Today, I tried Polenta con Pancetta. It is very simple to cook and tastes yummy, well, we are in Foodie’s heaven here in the Piedmont and getting excellent ingredients is easy, so even the simplest meal becomes a feast!

Ingredients for about 8 servings:

440 g Semolina (me farina di Mais Fine Mulino Marino)
2liters of water
100 g Parmesan grated
80 g Pancetta (if not available use bacon)
Salt, pepper, aniseed, thym, rosemary

Bring the water to boil, add salt and the semolina. Stir very well to ensure all lumps are dissolved. Turn down the heat to the lowest flame and let the polenta simmer for 60 minutes, stirring well every now and then. Towards the end, add the spices and the cheese.
Prepare a baking dish by layering half of the pancetta on the bottom of the pan. Top with the polenta and add the other half of the pancetta on top of the polenta.
Bake in the oven at 180c for about 15 minutes until the pancetta gets crispy.

Enjoy alone or with grilled sausages, or any kind of stew.

Ps: and while I was cooking, the sun came out 👍☀️