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Traditional Tuscan Recipes - The Desserts

Torta Chianina – Chianina Style Cake

This is a chianina version of the Zuccotto from Florence signed by Orietta Fabi and Arianna Ranocchia.

Preparation time: 3 hours

Ingredients for the short crust pastry for 6-8 people:

300 g of icing sugar, 600 g of flour, 3 eggs, 300g of butter, a pinch of salt.

Method:

Make a well with the sugar and flour. Add the eggs and room temperature butter and knead until you get a smooth and compact dough. Leave in the fridge for 30 minutes. Roll out the short crust pastry and line two round cake tins.

The custard and chocolate custard:

Ingredients for the two types of custard for 6-8 people: 500 g of milk, 150 g of sugar, some vanilla beans, 4 egg yolks, 70g of flour. All the same ingredients plus 3 tbs of unsweetened cocoa for the chocolate custard.

Method:

Boil the milk in a pan together with 80 g of sugar and some of the vanilla beans. Mix the egg yolks with the remaining sugar and the flour. Add the hot milk. Boil the custard for 2 minutes while it all blends. Pour the custard into a stainless steel container and leave to cool. Repeat the process adding 3 tbs of cocoa to make the chocolate custard.

Sponge:

Ingredients for 6-8 people:6 eggs, 180g of sugar, 75 g of flour, 75 g of potato starch, a pinch of salt.

Method:

Put the eggs into a mixer and beat with sugar, for at least 15 minutes until the mixture has body, is frothy and is light yellow in colur.Remove whisks and add the flour, the starch slowly over the mixture using a sieve, and mix slowly using a wooden spoon, so that it does not undo the whipping. Pour the mixture in the center of the mold which has previously been greased and lightly dusted with flour and even it out, lightly hitting the tin on the table once it is full. Put in the preheated oven at 150°C for about 40 minutes. Once removed from the oven leave to cool on a rack.

Preparation:

Cook the two short crust pastries in the oven for 25 minutes set 180°C. Once the pastries are ready, spread the custard on top of one of them. In the meantime cut the sponge into thin slices, soaking with coffee and water and put them on top of the custard, leaving the edges empty. Put the chocolate custard on top. Cover with other slices of coffee soaked sponge, and more custard on top. With the second short crust pastry cover the cake. Glaze with a beaten egg yolk. Pull a fork along the surface. Bake for 20 minutes at 170°C.

Ciambellone con pere e mele – Ring Cake with Pears and Apples

The farmer’s cuisine had very few cakes. Dry biscuits in winter, and these ring shaped cakes in summer were the last to be cooked in the oven where the bread had just been baked. The fruit cakes reached the table along with tarts, meringues and almond biscuits when families celebrated with friends and relatives.

Preparation time: 60 min.

Ingredients for 6-8 people:

3 apples, 3 pears, 3 eggs, 150 g of sugar, 200 g of flour, 120 g of butter, a hand full of pine nuts, a hand full of raisins, 1 sachet of baking powder.

Method:

Peel and dice pears and apples. Beat eggs with sugar in a bowl. Add the flour and warm butter. Mix until you get a smooth mixture. Add the pine nuts, raisins, and for last the powdered yeast and the chopped fruit. Grease a tin with butter; pour the mixture into it and bake for 50 minutes at 180°C

Latte in piedi – Upright Milk

At the beginning of the 20th century fish gelatin was imported into Toscana. This in fact helps give stiffness and body to soft desserts and so gives the possibility of creating new dishes of surprising appearance. For this reason this dessert has a curious name as it is a Bavarian pudding in a rural version which Arianna Ranocchia has brought back to its old splendor.

Preparation time: 60 min.

Ingredients for 6-8 people:

1 litre of whole milk, 1 vanilla bean, 6 eggs, 200g of sugar; 2 or 3 sheets of fish gelatin, 6-8 molds.

Method:

Put the milk in a pan with a vanilla bean making sure the milk does not boil. Beat the eggs together with the sugar in a bowl. Put sheets of gelatin in a bowl with some cold water. Pour the beaten eggs in the milk, cook for two minutes without boiling and then add the gelatin. Put in the molds and decorate as desired with icing sugar, cocoa or fruit syrups.

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