Sunday, March 25, 2012

When the going gets tough the tough bake a cake.....

When  Christmas and Easter lure their heads I always get emotional thinking about my Nonna(pictured below)mainly due to the fact that she was the one behind all the family get together’s …the Chef!.

Now as Easter is approaching I think of my beautiful Grandmother preparing Easter biscuits, making delicious meals that would hit you right in the face when you entered her home. But above all I remember my “Nonna Palma” always smiling and always being in the kitchen cooking. I didn’t start cooking because of my Nonna as I actually didn’t find out until a couple of years ago that she too was a chef and a lover of all things cooking. But I do definitely keep cooking because of her and whenever I have a “bad” day and question my cookery skills she is always with me guiding me to cook from the heart. So in saying that I wanted to share the below recipe dedicated to my Nonna she would always make Easter Biscuits slightly sweet dough which I couldn’t get enough of as a kid (and I loved the fact that she made every person a biscuit).

This bread/ cake is called Ciaramicola and is traditionally baked at Easter. Ciaramicola is a traditional cake from Perugia, Umbria’s capital city. In a past when things were simple, young women made it for their fiancé as a gift for Easter. The cake is highly symbolic: an immaculate meringue hides a red-hot heart( the sponge inside)

I make the dough as a cake, not as a sweet bread:
§  450 gr. ( 4 and 1/2 cups) cake flour
§  2 whole eggs
§  2 egg yolks
§  250 gr sugar
§  170 gr butter
§  grated zest of one lemon
§  1 teaspoon vanilla extract
§  3 tablespoon alkermes or dessert wine
§  4 tablespoon milk
16 gr (4 teaspoons) baking powder

Using a food processor, mix first dry ingredients with butter, then add all liquid ingredients. Transfer in a buttered bundt pan and bake in preheated oven at 180° C until set, about 45 minutes. Meanwhile make the meringue as explained below. Remove from the oven, switch off heat, but keep the oven warm as you will need it to dry the meringue. Remove the cake from the cake mold as soon as it is cool enough to handle.

for the meringue topping:
§  110 gr. Caster  sugar
§  2 egg whites at room temperature
§  2 tablespoon lemon juice

To make a classic Italian meringue, combine the ingredients in a metal bowl. Place over a saucepan of gently simmering water and beat with an electric mixer until very thick, about 5-6 minutes. Remove the bowl from heat and beat off the heat until light and fluffy.
Assemble the ciaramicola:
Cover the cake above and around the sides with a thick layer of meringue. Sprinkle with multicolor confetti if you like. Transfer in the warm oven and leave to dry for several hours or until the next day. Enjoy with a glass of sweet wine like Moscato or Vin Santo.

Now with Easter coming up if you are having friends/ family over a great canape to serve are my amazing Corn Fritters. I usually serve them with creme friache(sour cream) and a sprinkling of chopped chives. However I was thinking before I drift off to sleep the other night as I often do and I came up with a "low carb" burger and I have named it after my boxing buddy Daniela as well we have had our fair share of not consuming carbs. But feel free to add a bread bun I just totally love the fact that the corn fritter takes the place ...literally!

"Dani's Corn Fritter Burger ..Low carb"
 1 cup Self-Raising Flour
1/2 cup Milk
2 eggs
420g can corn kernels, drained
 1/4 cup finely chopped chives
1 teaspoon of Tabasco sauce
Salt & Pepper to taste
olive oil cooking spray

Avocado, lettuce, tomato, red onion etc for assembling burger

  1. Sift flour into a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Stir until well combined. Make a well in the centre.
  2. Whisk buttermilk and eggs in a jug. Add to flour mixture with corn kernels, creamed corn and chives. Using a large metal spoon, gently fold ingredients together until combined (don't overmix).
  3. Preheat oven to 150°C. Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. When hot, remove from heat. Spray with oil. Return frying pan to heat. Add heaped tablespoonfuls of mixture, 3 at a time. Use a knife to spread to 8cm (diameter) rounds.
  4. Cook for 2 minutes or until bubbles appear on surface. Turn. Cook for a further 2 minutes or until fritters are firm to the touch. Keep warm in oven while cooking remaining fritters. Place onto plates. Top with chives.
  5. Now for the burger slice up an avocado and place on top of a corn fritter . Slice tomato, red onion, grill some bacon, toss in some lettuce. Top with a 2nd corn fritter. Yummm your very own Corn fritter burger.

My sister Eloise got engaged last week so a HUGE congratulation's to Eloise and Daniel !!!
I am already thinking of what I can wear and really what I can make for their bonbonniere :)

Easter is 2 weeks away so I am busy preparing ; I will be making freshly made Hot Cross Buns so stay tuned for super easy recipe. Until I write again keep on cooking and loving life!!!

1 comment:

  1. Yummmmm
    umm, how do the rest of us get a dish named after us?? ;-)