Recipes and Ramblings in Italy

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Recipe of the Week (November 4, 2014)

Posted by William Abruzzo on November 4, 2014 at 10:10 PM


Torta di Mele e’ Noce (Apple Walnut Cake)


        This recipe takes us to the region of TRENTINO-ALTO ADIGE, where apples grow abundantly in the Val di Non. Tucked between high alpine regions, the Val di Non has the perfect climate for growing crisp, sweet apples. And the people of Trentino Alto-Adige know just how to prepare them. Sweet apples are baked in cakes and strudels, dipped in batter and deep fried, and tossed into savory dishes. Here is my version of a tradition apple cake from Bolzano. The original recipe calls for grated apple, but find chunky apple sauce works just as well and is more convenient. It is a wonderful, delicious treat!




All Purpose Flour (3 cups)

Plain Chunky Applesauce -preferably tart (2 ½ cups)

Apples (2 small)

Sugar (2 cups and more for sprinkling)

Eggs (3 extra large)

Chopped Walnuts (1 cup)

Butter (½ cup)

Vanilla Extract (2 tsp)

Salt (1 tsp)

Baking Powder (2 tsp)

Baking Soda (1 tsp)

Cinnamon (1 ¾ tsp)

Nutmeg (¾ tsp)


         Choose a high quality, thick applesauce. Sift together the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Melt the butter and allow it to cool. Beat together the eggs, melted butter, vanilla, sugar, salt, and spices until smooth and fluffy. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture 1 cup at a time and beat well. Then, incorporate the applesauce and walnuts. Pour the batter into a 10 ½ inch diameter by 3 inch deep ring mold that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Peel and core the apples, cut them into ¼ thick slices, lay on top of the cakes in an overlapping pattern, and sprinkle with sugar. Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 55 to 65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.


Categories: Desserts + Liqueurs

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Reply Chloe S.
12:23 PM on January 30, 2015 
This is a really nice pound cake, but I am curious to know why applesauce is necessary? Can this be made without it? Thank you -Chloe S. PS - I Iive in Loudoun County, so we are almost neighbors and I love your website and stories about Fauquier, where you live. I go out to the vineyards and orchards all the time! I love it out your way.
Reply Bill Abruzzo
8:16 PM on January 5, 2015 
Hello Ida, Thanks for the nice comment. Hope you join my website.
Reply Bill Abruzzo
8:14 PM on January 5, 2015 
Hello Mariabella. It has been quite a while since you visited I hope you are well. Glad you enjoyed my Italian apple cake.
Reply mariabella
1:10 AM on January 2, 2015 
Mmmmmm. Very good!!
Reply Ida from Staten Island
4:32 PM on December 19, 2014 
This is a very nice recipe for the fall. I just enjoy it for breakfast because it is is really like an apple pound cake, with nice flavor and sweetness. Great cake!

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Bill's Cooking Tip of the Month

Roll Out Pie Dough with Ease Using Plastic Wrap

This is an old trick I learned years ago from my mother. The next time you bake a pie, roll out the dough between sheets of plastic wrap. This will prevent the dough from sticking to your rolling pin and will make it easier to transport the dough from your work surface to the pie dish or baking sheet.

Cover your entire work surface with plastic wrap and sprinkle it lightly with flour. Turn the dough onto the wrap, pat it down to 1 inch thickness, sprinkle it lightly with flour, and then cover it with a second layer of wrap. Roll out the dough to just less than ¼ inch thickness and remove the top layer of wrap. Lift the dough using the bottom layer of wrap, turn it on to a lightly greased pie dish or baking sheet, and then remove the wrap. Its quick and easy! 

Tips on Italian Ingredients

 Frying Tomato Paste Enhances the Flavor and Adds Depth to Your Dish

Many recipes direct you to stir tomato paste into a sauce, soup or stew. However, frying the tomato paste first fully develops its flavor and eliminates any raw or metallic taste. It is a quick and easy way to enhance the flavor of your dish. Tomato paste should always be added at the beginning of a recipe, rather than at the end. This allows its flavor to marry with the dish. Add it immediately after sautéing your aromatics in olive oil or rendered fat. When the aromatics are soft, push them to one side of your pot or frying pan. Place a dollop of tomato paste on the other side, tilt the pot or frying pan to pool the oil around the tomato paste, and let it gently sizzle for about 2 minutes.  After the tomato paste has fried, incorporate it into the aromatics and then add the liquid and other ingredients to complete your sauce, soup or stew. 

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 My Great Grandparents, Vita and Onofrio Abruzzo, from the town of Santa Margherita di Belice, Sicily pictured here with my grandfather Vito "Bill" in the center.

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