Friday, 24 June 2011

Torta con albiccoche e pinoli/Apricot and pine nut cake

Recipe is taken from Taste Italia/issue June 2011
serves 6 ( I would say, rather greedy 6 people, as it is a big size cake)
prep 30 minutes
cooking 1 hour 30 mins
100g pine nuts
250 g unsalted butter, softened
250g caster sugar
grated zest of 2 unwaxed oranges
3 free range eggs, lightly beaten
310 g plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
200 g dried apricots, chopped
250 ml orange juice
for the chocolate sauce: 150g plain chocolate and 150 ml double cream (very optional, I think, as it is a very rich cake, it uses a whole pack of butter. Not exactly for Weight Watchers.)

Preheat the oven to 175C/gas mark 4. Grease a 23cm cake tin, then line with baking paper. Toast pine nuts in the oven for a few minutes, then chop them coarsely. Beat the softened butter with the sugar and orange zest. Continue beating as you add the eggs a little at a time. Sift the flour and baking powder together, then use a mixing spatula or wooden spoon to stir the flour into the eggs and butter.
Add the pine nuts, apricots and orange juice to the mix. Transfer to the cake tin and level the surface of the cake mixture. Bake in the oven for 1 hour 20 min until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool for 15 mins before turning out of the tin.
Melt the chocolate in a bowl with the cream to create a rich chocolate sauce, then pour a little of this sauce over each piece of cake to serve.
Tip: to prevent the apricots sinking to the bottom of the cake as it cooks, toss them in flour and shake them in a sieve before adding to the mixture. (Done exacty that, but the apricots were still evenly distributed in the lower half of the cake. Which is also fine).

A good recipe, works well. The cake is lovely straight from the oven, I didn't wait for 15 minute and cut the slices while it was still hot. My old friend Anne was coming for tea in the morning, and we enjoyed the cake very much.
I love pine nuts, so it is just the right cake for me. Will try to bake it again with a bit less butter.
Years ago, when we visited my husband's grandma in Viareggio, she bought a cake from the local pastry shop called Matilda, it was a local speciality, a lovely pine nut cake, very moist. I cannot find the recipe anywhere. There are many pine nut cake recipes online, but not for Matilda. If only I could find it.....