May 14, 2012

torta con amaretti & banana bundt cake

torta con amaretti has been in the making for a long time*. i got the recipe almost a year ago when we were in malcesine and staying at the hotel internazionale. they had a nice breakfast buffet that always included something sweet.

one morning during our stay in the hotel i decided to have a taste of this particular tart, and after the first bite i knew that, while i don't enjoy amaretti, certain someone would love the tart. he did, so much so that i ended up asking claudia (her family runs the hotel) for the recipe. she says, modestly, "oh, i just whip it up".

a few days later she did give me the recipe, which goes:

200g ricotta
1 uovo
2-3 cucchici latte
200 g amatetti (bisquit)
50 g zucchero

300g farina
100 g zucchero
1 bustina lievito
100 g burro

mettere in forno a 160C per 45 mins

i had assured claudia that i would know what to do if i just got the ingredients...

...measuring everything was the easy part...

...the machine did all the hard work, mixing the dough... this point i was a bit hesitant as i had no clue as to how the dough (=crumbs?) should look.

went ahead by mixing the filling...

...well, the machine did.

i chose a loose-bottom tart pan that was closest to the size of claudia's tart and divided the dough in half, pressed the first half on the tart pan...

...spread out the filling (the aroma of amaretti was substantial!)...

...spread rest of the crumbly dough on top and baked in 160C for 45 mins. i have no idea if i should have done something else with the dough, like press it into two disks, or something...

...the baked tart smelled amazing.

i have to say that while i don't enjoy amaretti, nor almond liquor, this one was very tasty. i took some to work and it disappeared pretty fast, certain someone still loves it. i will make this another time, but in a square loose-bottom pan and cut smaller "slices" as they would make great tiny mouthfuls "of something sweet" with coffee, or as dessert. one thing is for sure, if you love amaretti, you will love this tart. i managed to do it with a finnish-italian dictionary, it goes to show that this is a fool-proof recipe. there are, however, several recipes (both in english and in italian) for this kind of tart if you wish to have a more detailed recipe.

banana bundt cake from myllyn paras (recipe in finnish). i baked this recipe for the first time at my brother's house a while back. they had a pile of bananas that were badly bruised, i knew none of the kids (including my brother) would eat them, and as it's always better to bake a cake than to toss food...

banana cake is always best when done with very ripe bananas. in addition to this recipe being very forgiving as to measuring (gotta love that!) it requires minimal mixing, hardest part is probably mushing the bananas.

you'll need

5 dl all-purpose flour
2 dl sugar
2 ½ tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
2 dl cream (i used sour cream)
3 eggs
2-3 dl mushed bananas (2 to 3 large ones)
1 ½ dl liquid margarine (you can use melted butter but cool it before adding to batter)

start by preparing a 2 liter bundt pan. don't even think you might get away with a smaller pan, because you won't. i've had my share of banana vulcanoes in the oven, they are such a mess and the smell isn't nice. use a large pan, ok?

i couldn't find cinnamon (tragedy!) so i used the spice tree's sweet mystery dessert mix that has cinnamon in it.

next mush the bananas, mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl, then add the liquid ones including the bananas and mix well...

...and pour into the prepared pan and bake in 175C oven for 50 to 60 mins. now, if i hadn't cleaned so many burned banana vulcano lava-blobs (all that burned batter on the bottom of the oven is wasted cake!), i'd think the pan was too big. don't make that mistake...

...see how much it rises? most banana cake recipes call for baking soda, which i think is the main culprit for the volcano effect, but baking powder can be potent too. cool the cake in the pan for the first 15 mins.

then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely, with the pan on. the cake keeps well and will improve spending a few days in the fridge (wrapped tightly). sprinkling of powdered sugar will make the cake festive.

(* long time because i "lost" the recipe, or rather, misplaced it. i was looking for it several times and was always sure that i had put it in one particular cupboard with other recipes on the wait list. but it was nowhere to be found, until a few weeks ago when i was browsing thru martha's cooking school looking for something completely different and found the recipe between the pages of that book. how it ever got there...)

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