Ready for another Cookbook Club recipe from Silvia Colloca? Yep, of course you are. (Once again, from her book The Italian Home Cook.) This is a sweet one, her take on an apple and blackberry cake - Torta di Mele E More. It's not blackberry season (and really it never is in sunny sub-tropical Queensland), so I used the frozen variety.
I've talked before about picking blackberries with my sister when we were quite small, and selling them to the local jam factory. I can't imagine any parent would allow their small daughters to go wandering off into the bush on their own these days; nor can I imagine a jam factory accepting berries from lord knows where!
Not to mention the thorns and the spiders and the crazies who lived in the mountains where we grew up! We had a very eclectic childhood. Did I mention that we grew up in a cult? There is a famous one called The Family (we weren't in THAT one), but still pretty crazy. You can google The Family. They were located in the Dandenong Ranges in Victoria, and it still exists apparently.
|fruity and golden|
4 Granny Smith apples, peeled and thinly sliced - don't bother coring them, just slice around the core see Notes
zest and juice of half a lemon
2 large eggs
200g./7 oz soft brown sugar
pinch of sea salt flakes
300g./2 cups self-raising flour
150g./5.3 oz apple sauce/purée see Notes
100g./3.5 oz butter, melted
125g./4.4 oz blackberries (don't thaw if using frozen)
whipped cream, to serve
Heat your oven to 170C/340F, while you grease and line your 20cm/8 inch round cake tin with baking paper (base and sides)
Grab a large bowl, throw in the apple slices which you toss with the lemon zest and juice, then get on with the cake
Grab another large bowl, whisk the eggs and brown sugar till pale and fluffy (or as pale and fluffy as it will get, which wasn't much to be honest, so don't fret)
Chuck in the salt flakes, sift in the flour and mix well
Add the apple sauce and butter and mix well, then you add the apple slices and HALF the blackberries, and fold them in gently
Cake tin and batter; in it goes; thump to make it level, and fling on the other half of the blackberries
Bake for 60-65 minutes (mine took 80 mins. but as you can see in the notes, I added TWICE the butter!!) You want the top golden-brown and "softly firm", says Silvia. Pierce the middle with a skewer to make sure it's cooked through; you want a clean skewer to come out, of course
Let it sit and contemplate its behaviour for an hour in the tin, then serve on a nice plate with lots of billowing whipped cream (that's just plain cream that has been whipped!)
Use whatever tangy, crunchy cooking-type apple you can get if you can't find the Granny
My suggestion for apple sauce/purée - buy baby food! This is 100% apple, with no preservatives or sugar. Or you can buy a tin of (100% pure) apple slices and blitz them in the food processor
I managed to stuff up by adding 200 grams! of butter, so the batter was like a lake; probably why it took so long to bake!
|nice and thick when the flour is mixed in|
|and I added waaaaay too much butter! Twice the amount...|
|fold in the fruit|
|plop on the other half of the blackberries|
|ready to eat|
|c. Sherry M.|