Vanilla Bread Pudding Cake or Torta di Pane alla Vaniglia

Vanilla Bread Pudding Cake I had a truly fun weekend where I volunteered to help out at an enogastronomic walk in Cardada (a mountain just above Locarno). The walk was dedicated to our local produces so I thought I’d post a recipe that is typical from my region: the torta di pane (or bread pudding cake). Continue reading

This is the second torta di pane recipe I post. The difference is that in this version there’s no cocoa powder; instead I used white chocolate for a twist. This kind of recipe is a great way to use leftover bread and it’s so easy that you just can’t get it wrong. For information, this cake is not made to be overly sweet and it should stay nice and moist once it’s cooked. This traditional recipe is something everyone makes here in Ticino and you can also easily find it in restaurants and grottoes.

 

 

Vanilla Bread Pudding Cake or Torta di Pane alla Vaniglia

 

For a 24-26 cm round cake mold

Prep time: 25 min (plus soaking time)

Cook time: about 1 hour

 

Ingredients:

200 g stale bread (white or semi-white)

100 g amaretti

7 dl milk

1 vanilla pod

100 g dried apricots (the sour kind) – I would have loved to use dried physalis but didn’t find them. Sultanas are also an option

Zest of 1 lemon

100 g slivered nuts

60 g white chocolate

2 eggs

40 g sugar

50 g melted butter

Icing Sugar (optional)

 

Recipe:

In a bowl or container break the bread into pieces and add the amaretti.

Pour the milk in a pan. Incise the vanilla pod by its length and scrape out the seeds. Add the pod and the seeds to the milk and bring to a boil. Once ready pour over the stale bread and amaretti and leave to soak for 2-3 hours. You can leave the vanilla pod in, just remember to remove it once the bread and biscuits have soaked.

Chop the dried apricots and place them in a cup. Add hot water and leave them to soak for a couple of hours.

Grate the white chocolate.

Heat oven at 190°C.

Once the bread and amaretti have soaked, mash them with a fork as finely as possible.  Drain the apricots and add them to the bread preparation along with the white chocolate, the lemon zest, and ¾ of the almonds.

In a separate bowl  mix well the eggs and the sugar and add the butter and eventually the grappa. Pour over the rest and mix the ingredients with your hands or with a spatula until the mass looks even.

Grease the sides of a cake tin and dust with flour. Line the bottom of the cake tin with oven paper. Transfer the preparation to the cake tin and even out the surface. Add the remaining pine nuts and place in the oven for about 1 hour.

Once ready leave to cool before removing from mold. Eventually sprinkle surface with icing sugar.

 

Swiss Cheese Tatsch with Carrots

Swiss Cheese Tatsch with Carrots The ‘Tatsch’ is another typical recipe which comes from the Graubünden canton; so basically next door to my region. Continue reading

This is actually a region I am enjoying more and more as it has a lot of recipes I really enjoy. The ‘Tatsch’ in my book is described as a kind of roasted spaezle which requires less time in the making. I had already tried this from a book I had at home and thought it was nice but that I would remake it with more flavour. I left the recipe aside for a while and did not really think about it any more until I saw the version from schweizerkaese.ch (recipe in German) and decided to try this one. I really liked the taste of this version and I particularly liked its light consistence. I totally recommend this recipe as it’s something easy and truly delicious. I will make this again and maybe add some herbs or even cooked vegetables?

Swiss Cheese Tatsch with Carrots Swiss Cheese Tatsch with Carrots Swiss Cheese Tatsch with Carrots Swiss Cheese Tatsch with Carrots

 

Swiss Cheese Tatsch with Carrots

 

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 20 min + 30 min resting time

Cook time: 15 min

 

Ingredients

For the Tatch:

100 g flour

100 g grated hard cheese – I used Appenzeller but you can use another tasty hard cheese such as Gruyère

2 egg yolks

2.5 dl milk

1 tsp salt

2 egg whites

Butter for cooking

 

For the vegetables:

320 g peeled carrots

The zest of one lemon

1 ½ tbsp raisins

3 tbsp chopped parsley

1 large shallot or 2 small ones

1 tbsp rapeseed oil

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe

For the tatsch:

In a bowl, stir together the flour, egg yolks, milk, cheese  and salt to a smooth dough. Leave to rest for 30 min.

Whisk the egg whites to a peak.

Add the egg whites into the batter and fold delicately (do not over work the mass).

Melt the butter in a large, non-stick pan and pour to the batter. Cover and cook over a low heat to solidify and colour on one side. After about 10 min, turn around the tatsch with the help of a pan lid and cook second side. Cook until golden brown, for about 4-5 min. Break the tatsch up into pieces with the help of a couple of forks or a spatula.

 

While the tatsch is resting, you can prepare the carrots:

Cut the carrots and the shallot into strips about 4 cm long.

In a pan with 1 tbsp rapeseed oil, add the shallot to soften on a low fire for five minutes. Stir in the carrots, salt, pepper, lemon zest and a little water. Cover and cook on a low-medium heat for about 8 min, or until they have softened. Stir occasionally.

When ready add the parsley and raisins, stir and serve with the tatsch.

My “Ticino Experience” Experience

T.E.7Last Wednesday I met up with my boyfriend to attend a local product tasting activity. It was during the time of the aperitif and it would be presented along with a mute comic film. Continue reading

When I found out where the event took place I was surprised ; it was a place we used to hang out at night a few years ago. Back then they used to have toilet seats as chairs and somewhere there must have been a bathtub too. Of course, the chairs had changed to suit today’s circumstances… We were welcomed by a very friendly woman, our/the hostess Claudia. While waiting for everyone to arrive she offered us some cured meats and bread. As the people progressively arrived I was happy to notice that half of the people we tourists and the other half were locals. I find this to be a good sign because it means the activity touches more categories of people. We sat down and after a short presentation we watched the introductory part of the mute film which set the ground for the main part of the story. Fidelio has a three starred restaurant in Spain. After a visit from a gastronomic critic he loses one. Now he is desperate to gain it back.Through a psychic St. Borromeo (a saint from the region)  tells Fidelio to travel to Ticino to gain back his lost inspiration.

T.E.1

At the end of the first part we were invited to grab a plateau with a set of tasting items which we would put on our laps. At set times of the film we would be able to eat these delicacies.

T.E.4

Each product was tied to a section of the story, and it was hard to stay back and wait for the right moment. Fortunately these moments came along quite fast. In the middle of the film, as I was watching I could hear a husband and wife speaking in our local dialect:

‘Oh look, that’s Lalo on the screen.’ The wife said.

‘Come on. I didn’t see but… wait. You’re right, it is Lalo.’

A few minutes later the wife spoke again:

‘And the monk the is Roberto.’

It amused me to hear them while I was munching away some of the local goat sausages called “Cicitt”. Apart from the sausages we tasted different cheeses, wines, one liquor (“nocino” which is the monk’s traditional liquor) and finally a sweet spread made with “Farina Bona” (in English it would translate as good flour). I just want to add a quick word about this type of flour which is made of toasted corn grains (basically popcorn) and which is a traditional product of the Onsernone Valley. It is a very versatile product and it can even be used to make “Farina Bona” ice cream (link: http://www.farinabona.ch/en/index.php).

T.E.9

I really enjoyed my moment at “Ticino Experience” and my boyfriend (although it doesn’t look like in the picture) must have liked it too as he kept on repeating what a nice idea it was to have tried this activity out. Personally I found that the hour literally flew and would recommend it to anyone. I can say that I will surely return, especially when I have guests coming to visit.

T.E.8

PS: Sorry for the quality of the pictures,I only had my phone and found it hard to shoot in such low light… or perhaps it’s the photographer’s skills.

Where : La Rustica (Albergo Losone), Losone, Ticino, Switzerland.

When : March-October / Mon-Thu 18:00, Fri-Sat 17:00 / Lasts about an hour

For who: Adults and kids, locals and tourists. If wish to have an overview of the region (because there are nice shots of the landscape too) or you already know it but wish do something different, this is for you.

Link : http://www.ticinoexperience.ch