Dr. C. and I left San Diego just before the heat wave hit, and had been on the road for about 2 1/2 weeks before arriving in Spello on Thursday afternoon. After living out of suitcases, and not being able to cook too much, it's been a delight to have a kitchen, and a beautiful apartment here in Spello to set up as our own for the next 2 months.
We are living in an apartment that is part of a larger palazzo. There are frescoes on the ceilings in the living area, and we have a beautiful terrace, and garden just outside our living areas and master bedroom. As well as our own olive tree---it doesn't get much better than this.
But, making a place your own to me, means getting into the kitchen and yesterday after having been gifted with a zillion plums from our family at Enoteca Properzio I decided to bake a cake. The plums were grown by an organic wine maker in Ravenna, who drove down to deliver them. I decided to bake a cake (torta in Italian) using the plums. There is a very old recipe from the New York Times and Marian Burros that has been a standard since the 80's and I decided to use the basic recipe for these spectacular plums. The result was amazing, the batter rises up over the plums and the plums add moisture and a bit of tartness to an otherwise sweet batter, that gets crispy when baked. I'm dealing with an oven that is calibrated in Celsius and I don't quite understand which dials do what, but it worked, and I was delighted to bring it down to the enoteca as a gift for their generous hospitality. I've said it before and I will say it again, I know NOTHING about hospitality compared to my Italian family here. They are amazing and we are so grateful to have them.
Plum Torte or Torta di Prunia
Makes one 10-inch (25cm) cake
This cake is incredibly forgiving, I doubled the recipes when I suddenly realized I'd used twice as much butter as the recipe called for (blaming that on jet lag) I don't think I'd make the single recipe as it probably wouldn't puff up as beautifully, although the comments on the NY Times website seem to indicate it's a winner any way you make it even with canned fruit (OK, it was the 80's) Below is the double recipe I used.
1 cup (250 g) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups (325 g) sugar
4 large eggs
2 cups (250 g) self rising flour (here in Italy they sell farina con levito---it's awesome)
8 to 12 plums, cut in half and pitted
Coat the inside of a 10-inch (25cm) spring form pan with non-stick cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Add the flour, and stir to blend.
|Into the oven|
Serve slightly warm.
|Remains of the cake, you can see how the cake has covered the plums|
Here are a few more views of our beautiful terrace and yard.
Wishing you a great weekend, ciao for now.