Saturday, April 3, 2010

Sweets for Easter and Beyond

This week in Titina's kitchen--wonderful smells of baking as half a dozen Pastiera Napoletana cooled on the counter. An ancient tradition in the Naples region where Titina grew up, these ricotta filled tarts have long been associated with Easter Italy.

Like Titina, Neapolitan cooks typically make the Pastiera a few days ahead to allow the citrus and cinnamon flavors to develop. Check out this previous blog post, if you'd like to make this spring-time classic at home.

Or consider something a little easier and lighter. Titina's Lemoncello Capri Cake is the desert she will be making when she returns to her classroom-kitchen on Monday night. Simple and delicious, it is made with olive oil and showcases the lemon favors her home island is famous for.

This cake would be fantastic served with some of the season's fresh strawberries.

Torta Caprese al Limoncello
Limoncello Capri cake

1 cup sugar
6 eggs
1 ½ cup almonds
4 ounces white chocolate
¾ cup CapriFlavors extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon liqueur
1 fresh lemon, grated as zest or a few drops of lemon oil
¼ cup plain water

Preparation: 20 minutes; Cooking Time: 50 minutes; Level of difficulty: Simple

Grease a 9” or 10” pan with olive oil, sprinkle with flour, and line with wax paper. Cut up chocolate with a large knife very coarsely. Coarse cut almonds in blender, not fine. Set both chocolate and almonds aside.

Beat sugar and eggs together for about 4 minutes, and then add coarse cut almonds and chocolate very slowly. Add 1 Tbsp. lemon liqueur and the grated zest of lemon. Turn mixer to slow and slowly add the olive oil and water little by little. Pour mixture into pan. Bake in a preheated oven at 350F for 1 hour. Garnish as desired.

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