Sunday, January 20, 2008
Torta di Miele
We were having Italian-themed dinner with friends, and I was set on trying out a recipe from the book I was reading, True Tuscan by Cesare Casella. The author is quick to point out that “Tuscans have never been into sweets the way the other Italians are”. Still, he had to come up with some desserts for the book, because, seriously, how can you have a dessert-less cookbook? So, he claims that the recipes he uses are “both new, yet completely rooted in [Tuscany] traditions”.
My choice was Torta di Miele, honey cake. I was drawn to it by the combination of honey, walnuts, and figs.
12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
¾ cup honey
1 ½ cups flour
1 cup dried diced figs
½ cup chopped walnuts, toasted
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter and flour a 10- by 3½-inch loaf pan.
Using mixer, cream together butter, sugar and honey.
Add eggs, one at a time, and continue beating until they are incorporated.
Add the flour and mix until it is just combined, stopping occasionally to scrap down the sides of the bowl. Fold in dried figs and walnuts. Pour the butter into prepared pan and bake for 40 or 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
You can serve this loaf warm, or let it cool. To store any leftover cake, cover with plastic wrap and keep at room temperature.
I had to bake it for two hours straight, and the edges were slightly burned. But overall, it was a good thing: very sweet and nutty, and even better on the second day. I am not sure that toasting the walnuts was that necessary: I love the taste of them raw.