Tag Archives: eggs

Torta Pasqualina – Savoury Easter Cake

This savoury Easter cake, which is really more like a pie, hails from the Northern Italian region of Liguria.  It is traditionally served on Easter Monday, and once upon a time it used to be made using 33 sheets of ultra thin pastry, each layer representing a year that Jesus was alive.  These days most recipes make it with four, which is what I did (and if you really don’t want to make pastry, store bought will do).  I needed five bunches of silverbeet to get to one kilo of leaves, it will depend on how big your bunches are; the stalks can be used for stock or soup, they are tasty and often get discarded. A lot of eggs are required here, so it was lucky that the girls had had a prolific laying week. Like lots of old recipes, you’ll see variations on the theme – some combine the spinach and ricotta, as I did, and others do them as separate layers. There are also artichoke versions.

Pastry
600g Tipo 00 flour
350ml water
1 teaspoon salt
35ml olive oil

Place the flour in a bowl, add the salt, water and olive oil and mix gently with a fork until it comes together. Tip onto a floured surface and kneed until smooth. Divide the dough into four balls – two of 300g each and the other two approx. 170-180g each. Place on a tray, cover with a tea towel and allow to rest for one hour.

Filling
1kg silverbeet leaves
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 tbsp. olive oil
3 twigs marjoram
Pinch of nutmeg
Salt
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
250g of well drained ricotta
7 eggs
1 egg extra, lightly beaten for brushing pastry

While the pastry is resting, make the filling. Blanch the silverbeet in boiling water for five minutes and drain. Squeeze out as much excess water as you can and chop finely.

Place the olive oil in a pan on medium heat and saute the onion with a pinch of salt until softened, add the chopped silverbeet and combine and cook for a couple more minutes, then remove from heat. Season. Add the marjoram, nutmeg, ricotta and parmesan and combine well. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed. Take one of the seven eggs, lightly beat, then add to the mixture and combine well. Set aside.

Assembly
Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees fan forced. Grease a 26cm springform tin with butter or olive oil.

Take one of the 300g balls of dough, and roll out thinly on a floured surface so that it is big enough for the cake tin. Gently lift it into the tin and line. Repeat with the second 300g ball, so that you now have two layers in the base. Gently spoon the silverbeet mixture into the cake tin and smooth out. Then take a spoon (I used an icecream scoop) and make seven round impressions in the silverbeet mixture. Into each one crack one of the seven eggs. Season the eggs lightly.

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Now take a 180g ball of dough and roll out big enough to form a lid, and gently place on top of the cake tin. Repeat with the second ball. Trim the excess pastry around the edge of the cake tin, and then curl into a crust to seal (I probably made it a bit too thick, I would do it thinner next time by trimming the pastry a bit more). Take the extra beaten egg and using a pastry brush, brush over the pasty and season the top lightly. Bake in the oven for about 50 minutes or until nice and golden. Remove and allow to sit for a few minutes before serving.

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In my Christmas kitchen, December 2016

‘Twas three weeks before Christmas, and in the Napoli house,
the KitchenAid was stirring, much faster than a mouse.
Pretty boxes were laid with paper doillies with care,
Wouldn’t St Nicholas have a feast if he arrived there.

I think St Nicholas would be pretty delighted if he stumbled into my kitchen in the midst of my frenzy of Christmas sweet making in my kitchen. At this time of year, I love to make biscuits and sweets to give to friends, the boys’ school teachers, work colleagues, and clients. It is even more fun hand delivering them.

This weekend’s haul included crostoli, recipe here

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Some moreish little whiskey biscuits, recipe here

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Almond bread, which turned out particularly fantastic, I had to put it quickly in boxes before I ate it all, recipe here

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And some pistachio biscotti, recipe here.

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After that I needed to sit down for a bit.

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Fortunately, with all the eggs I needed, our chooks have been going great guns, each of them laying every single day for the last ten days or so.  One of the girls (my bet is on Lily), has been laying some whopper eggs.  We were pretty impressed with this 88 grammer a week ago

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But then, last Friday morning out of the nesting box came this one, 105 grams! I liken this to giving birth to a 14 pound baby, and I’m surprised whoever laid it didn’t sit down for a week to recover. But no, she laid the next day too.

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Here is the Monster Egg as we called it pictured next to a 70 gram egg, which is considered “extra large” in the supermarket.  It is exactly fifty percent more in weight. And here it is in my hand, to give you a feel. I’m hoping this means the girls are happy!

I hope you are having a lovely December in your corner of the world.  Have a peak at other kitchens in the In My Kitchen series, hosted by Lovely Liz at Bizzy Lizzy’s Good Things.

Buon Natale from the Napoli Household.

Today’s cake – classic tiramisu

Lots of people and restaurants claim to have ‘invented’ tiramisu, and who knows who is telling the truth.  What we do know is that it was an invention of the 60’s, along with audio cassettes, the beehive hairdo, and colour television.  Fast forward fifty odd years and we still predominantly use savoiardi, or lady finger biscuits, to make it but in the modern world there have been endless versions with berries, mango, yoghurt, and in the latest trend I’ve noticed in restaurants, “hot and cold tiramisu” (the last of which I recently had a delicious version of at Sarti in Melbourne).

The one below is classic in my mind.  My Mamma Rosa has always always made it with marsala, so that’s how I make it too. My cousin Concetta on the other hand uses Amaretto, and the method below is hers; Mamma Rosa has given me a couple of versions – one with a custard and cream (if you don’t like the thought of raw eggs, or are allergic, this is the way to go) and a ricotta one.  But whatever you use, like most Italian sweets, they are never complete without a splash of alcohol somewhere.  Tiramisu is great for a dinner party, because you can serve a crowd with it easily, but also you can make it the night before, or at least give it several hours before serving – many recipes say to leave it two or three hours, but I think you need at least twelve.

Once upon a time you could only get lady finger biscuits at Italian delis, but now the supermarkets stock them too. If you’re worried about the raw egg whites, use some cream instead. You can use a square, oval, or round dish, or you can even make it in individual glasses. So easy and so good!

Ingredients
6 eggs, separated
1 cup caster sugar
250 ml espresso coffee, chilled
150 ml marsala (or other preferred alcohol)
500g mascarpone
1 400g pack Saviordi biscuits
Cocoa or grated chocolate, for topping

Making it
1. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks and caster sugar until thick and pale. Add the mascarpone, and beat till combined
2. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gently fold into the yolk and mascarpone mixture
3. Combine the marsala and coffee in a small flat dish of a suitable size for dunking the savoiardi. Put each biscuit in the liquid mixture just for a few seconds so that only half the biscuit is dunked (if you put it in too long it will collapse). Place the biscuit in your serving dish with the “undunked” side on the bottom. Repeat until you have covered your serving dish.  You may need to cut your biscuits in order for the dish to be covered.

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4. Cover the layer of biscuits with half the mascarpone mixture. Then do another layer of dunked biscuits, then the other half of the cream. Refrigerate until ready to serve. You could also do it in individually served glasses or bowls.

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5. Just before serving, dust with the cocoa or grated chocolate.

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Baked Eggs with Spinach and Ricotta

A great breakfast! Serves 4

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Ingredients
1 brown onion, diced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp raw sugar
100g baby spinach, wilted
100g ricotta
1 can canellini beans, rinsed and drained
8 eggs
Toast to serve

Making it

1. In a small pot, heat olive oil, add onion and saute until onion is soft. Add tomatoes, salt, sugar and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes. (If you like you could also throw in a whole chilli for flavour)
2. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees
3. Spread beans among four individual baking dishes (or you could do all in one large dish), ladel sauce on top.
4. Create a little well in the centre, crack two eggs into each dish, add spinach and dot ricotta around the dish.
5. Bake for 3-4 minutes or until eggs just set. Serve with toast.