I love when the seasons change, there’s always a different variety of foods to choose from and I find that my pallet also changes with the season. The summer staple of berries is replaced with apples and tangerines, I don’t know why but those seem like winter fruits to me. I’m pretty sure it was the way I was brought up.
As the winter months and the holidays approach I also find that I start baking with different ingredients. I so cannot wait for the holidays to make gingerbread; sure I can make it all year round but it just doesn’t taste the same in the sweltering summer, know what I mean?
Yesterday I was inspired to try something different using something wintery, what’s more wintery then chestnuts. There’s this great shop, Consiglio’s my place that sells an array of Italian products (did I mention I live in one of the two little Italy’s in Toronto?). This is my go to place for Italian goodies, so naturally that’s where I went when I was looking for chestnut flour I needed for a recipe I found on a great Italian blog; Menu Turistico.
You know that feeling you get when something triggers a memory and you’re suddenly transported back to your childhood?
It can be something as simple as the smell of bubblegum, for me it was a little Italian recipe book from Bertolini that my mom has had for years. I was over my moms the other night and I asked her for her apple cake recipe or torta di mele. She then came back with this little recipe booklet that I haven’t seen in years.
Aside from the great recipes it holds, the one thing I remember most is the story at the end of the booklet, the story of Maria Rosa. As a child I used to beg my mother to read it to me over and over again, I loved the characters, the pictures and of course the story. Flipping through the pages I felt like a little girl again in my mother’s kitchen, I almost asked her to read it to me …almost. The booklet itself according to my mother is 40 years old and she has kept it in pretty good condition. I asked her to borrow it so that I can scan it to have a copy for myself (not sure if I am breaking any copyright laws here, no copyright notice on the booklet itself).
The first recipe I made was the Torta Di Mele or Apple Cake. My mom has been making this for years and everyone who tastes it asks for the recipe. Continue reading
I love all things pie, but I never really ventured into the land of pie making until this year…especially Apple Pie. I have only ever made two types of Pie in the past, either Lemon Meringue or Cherry Pie. We have a cherry tree in our front yard that boasts the most perfect and sweet cherries imaginable. So it’s only natural that I make Cherry Pie, which has become one of my favourites.
But for some reason I had never before attempted to make Apple Pie until this year when my husband (Anthony) requested it. I was always worried about making a double crust pie, and I am partial to butter crusts so I wasn’t too sure how an Apple Pie would turn out. I used my basic pie recipe (recipe to follow) and really don’t follow a recipe for the filling. I do always use Granny Smith apples; I prefer their firm texture and keep its shape nicely when baking. Granny Smith do tend to me more tart, so I do add a little extra sugar. Another trick that I picked up is to scatter some bread crumbs on the bottom crust before putting in the filling; this will prevent a soggy crust.
I made this particular pie posted here for a dinner party, and it was a huge success!
Recipe to follow after the jump