Sunday, February 04, 2007

Torta di mele con zabaione

The 'Weekend cookbook challenge' theme this month is to make a recipe from the newest cookbook we received. Last time I went to Italy, my father gave me two really interesting cookbooks, both about Piemontese cuisine. So I decided I will try to make a few recipes from one of them, which is called 'Cucina di tradizione del Piemonte 2, secondo ricettario a fumetti' ('Traditional Piemontese cuisine n.2, second cooking book - comic stripes'). It's the continuation of that book of Piemontese cuisine that I took so many wonderful recipes from.. And it's made in a comic strip format. For example:Isn't it cute?!?! Doesn't it make you want to try the recipe!??
So I decided that in order to welcome Lucas coming to visit me this week, I would make a nice cake for him, and I chose the apple cake that's described above. English version with pictures follow. It turned out to be the best apple cake I ever had..

Torta di mele servita con zabaione / Apple cake served with zabaione cream
Ingredients (btw: my cake was made with only 3/4 of these doses and 1/2 of the butter):
4 eggs
3/4 cups + 2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla flavor
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 sticks of butter
2 lb apples (if you find the 'rusty' ones that's the best)
Soften the butter, by leaving it out of the fridge for a while. Peel and cut the apples. Beat the eggs in a bowl and add slowly the sugar, keep beating. Add vanilla, flour (previously mixed with baking powder), and butter. Add the apples to this batter. Butter and flour a pan, flatten the cake dough with your fingers, and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 330 F for 40 minutes.
When I made it I was very curious to see how it would come out, because it's a really 'dense' batter (you can see that there's no milk or other liquid except than the yolks). But after you make it, it turns out to be the softest cake ever!

At the end, the recipe suggests to serve it warm together with zabaione. This was the real reason why I wanter to try the recipe, because I just had zabaione in Turin and I loved it so much.

It's a traditional torinese cream, served warm or cold, usually with small cookies to dip into. It's made of eggs, sugar, and an alcoholic beverage. The traditional one is made with Marsala (a liquor-like white wine, very strong). Otherwise you can use another strong white wine, or I just found out (in this same cookbook) that you can use even red wines.
The apple cake recipe suggested to serve with 'zabaione al moscato', so I prepared the zabaione with moscato d'Asti, a white sparkling delicious wine from Piemonte (which I found here in Harris Teeter).
To make it, for example for 2 people, mix very well 2 egg yolks and 2 tbsp sugar. Put on the stove, and cook at _very_ low power until you have a smooth cream. You can use a double boiler if you you want to be sure not to burn it. Add slowly 1/4 cup wine, and keep mixing and slowly cooking, until the cream is smooth, dense, and kind of fluffy. If you're using the double boiler, the water in it shouldn't boil.
It's absolutely delicious.

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