It's officially fall, and apples abound. Why don't you pull up a chair and join me with a cup of coffee or tea - or cider, perhaps? - and a slice of this authentic Italian torta di mele (apple cake), made gluten-free just for you (and me)?
We'll sink into contentment as we peruse the pages of an incredible, unique book. A cookbook that doesn't just give you recipes and a little story here and there but actually transports you to another place and another time at Fattoria Poggio Alloro - a family farm in Tuscany - season by season, month by month.
Sarah Fioroni, the chef, cooking instructor and sommelier who brings us this feast of a book for the eyes, mouth and mind, won't disappoint you with this treasure she shares. Stay tuned to the end of this post to find out how you can win a copy of "A Family Farm in Tuscany: Recipes and Stories from Fattoria Poggio Alloro"
|Sarah Fioroni. Photo by Dario Fusar of Organic Gardening|
I knew it would be interesting from what Ginny had told me, but I must tell you I was honestly blown away by this book. I love cookbooks and own a great deal of them, but until now I haven't owned one quite like this. Not only are the pages filled with photos of the countryside ...
|Photo by Oriano Stefan|
|Photo by Oriano Stefan|
|Photo by Oriano Stefan|
... animals, food ...
|Photo by Emiko Davies|
|Sarah's father, Amico Fioroni. Photo by Maggie Shearer Smith|
|Photo by Oriano Stefan|
I'm not the only one in the family enjoying this book. My husband's great-grandparents came to the U.S. from Italy, so he has had several moments of relaxing through the pages with great interest himself. I've walked into the room on several occasions to find one or both of my daughters flipping through it, as well.
It's so much more than a cookbook. It's a journal. A memoir. Travel guide. Picture book. It's a lesson in history and culture of an area many of us dream of visiting one day.
And can we just talk about the food in this book for a minute? The. Food. *sigh*
Much of it is naturally gluten-free (hello, fennel salad ... be still, my heart!) but when it isn't as in this cake, or the pasta dishes, you can just switch out the flours or the type of pasta. This recipe is purely Sarah's with the exception of the gluten-free substitutes of flours and ground chia seed, which are entirely mine.
Torta di Mele (Apple Cake)
Makes one 8-inch cake, about 8 servings
1 cup (200 g) sugar
30 grams almond flour*
30 grams millet flour*
60 grams brown rice flour*
60 grams tapioca starch/flour*
1 1/4 teaspoons ground chia seed*
1/2 cup (120 ml) whole milk
2 1/2 tablespoons (40 ml) butter, melted
2 teaspoons (10 g) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (3 ml) vanilla
3 medium apples, about 1 3/4 pounds (800 g), peeled, cored, and cut into wedges 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick
Powdered sugar as garnish
Vanilla ice cream (optional)
(*Sarah's original non-GF recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups or 180 g unbleached all-purpose flour rather than these flours and ground chia seed)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Butter and flour an 8-inch (20 cm) springform pan, tapping the pan to remove excess flour; set aside. (Caneel's note: My springform pan is larger than this, so I used a regular 8-inch round and generously buttered it and lined the bottom with parchment paper.)
Combine the eggs and sugar in bowl of electric mixer. (Caneel's note: I used paddle attachment.) Beat at medium-high speed for 5 minutes, or until pale lemon in color and thickened. Gradually add the flour, milk, and butter, stopping to scrape down the sides of bowl after each addition. Beat at low speed until each ingredient is blended, then increase speed to medium high and beat for 3 minutes. Add the baking powder and vanilla and beat an additional 2 minutes to blend well.
Turn batter out into the prepared pan. Arrange the apple slices vertically, with the core side down, in concentric circles in the batter, beginning with the outside edge of the pan and continuing to the center. The arrangement of the apples should resemble a rose in full bloom. (Caneel's note: I'm sure I didn't do this decoration justice, at all, in my blundering attempts of this.)
Bake in preheated oven for about 50 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean and apples are lightly browned.
Remove from oven and cool for 10- minutes. Remove the sides of the springfom pan. To serve, cut the warm cake into slices, then scatter powdered sugar over each serving. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream to each serving, if desired.
(Caneel's note: This cake is amazing. My entire family loved it, and we thought it was equally good warm and cooled off.)
If you can't wait until you get the book to find out more about Fattoria Poggio Alloro, you can visit their website here. I also understand the farm will also have their pastas, wine and olive oil available for purchase in the United States through this website, which will be live later this week. If you want to follow more of Sarah, you can see her book tour schedule and ask her questions on her Facebook page here.
Be sure to stop by Ginny's blog here to see what other bloggers all over the world have to say about "A Family Farm in Tuscany," and what recipe they chose to prepare from the book.
***Now for instructions on how you can win this amazing cookbook:
This giveaway is for one copy of "A Family Farm in Tuscany: Recipes and Stories from Fattoria Poggio Alloro" and the entry period begins today, October 29, 2012 and will end on Monday, Nov. 5, 2012 at 12:00 p.m. (noon) CST. The winner will be picked through the Random Sequence Generator on Random.org.
*******THE GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. CONGRATULATIONS TO CINDY FOR WINNING THE BOOK! I WILL CONTACT YOU TO LET YOU KNOW. THANKS TO ALL WHO PARTICIPATED!*********
You are eligible for up to seven entries in this giveaway. To enter:
1. Leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite food season (only one comment per person will be counted this way, and this counts as one entry).
Additional entries may be earned by leaving a comment EACH TIME you do one of the following (you get an entry for each one only if you leave a comment for each):
2. "Like" Mama Me Gluten Free on Facebook (if you already "like" the blog on Facebook, that also counts as an entry) and leave a comment here telling me you've done this.
3. Follow @MamaMeGF on Twitter (if you already follow, that counts as an entry), then leave a comment here telling me you've done this.
4. Share this giveaway on Facebook with a link to this post, and leave a comment here telling me you've done this.
5. Share this giveaway on Twitter: "I want to win A Family Farm in Tuscany @MamaMeGF! http://bit.ly/UXlrRC " and then leave a comment here telling me you've done this.
6. Subscribe to Mama Me Gluten Free RSS feed, then leave a comment here telling me you've done this. (If you already subscribe, then that counts too - just leave a comment letting me know!)
7. "Like" Sarah's page on Facebook and then leave a comment here telling me you've done this.
You must leave a comment on this post for each of things if you want an entry for each one. Only one comment per item per person will be counted. In other words, if you comment more than one time saying you "like" Mama Me on facebook, only one of those comments will be counted, etc. On the other hand, if you only leave one comment saying you did all of these things, you will only get one entry rather than seven.
********Be sure to leave a contact email if you are posting anonymously or don't have a way to contact you listed in your profile!
*In the interest of full disclosure, Shearer Publishing provided a copy of this book for my review. I was not compensated in any other way, and the opinions of this book and recipe are entirely my own. In addition, the book for the giveaway is provided by Shearer Publishing.