Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Italian Apricot Cake ("Torta Di Albicocche")

This cake can be made with any number of fruits and in fact, I have never once made it with apricots. I have used apples, pears & plums with great success.

The recipe is easy, comes together quickly and is not a sweet cake. It looks quite plain, but don't be fooled. It is delicious and addictive.

1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 pound ripe apricots or plums, halved, pitted and cut into thin slices (if you are using apples or pears, see note below)
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
1/3 cup warm water
4 extra large eggs
2 cups unbleached flour
Additional granulated sugar for topping cake

Preheat oven to 375. Butter a 10 inch springform pan. (I just spray it with PAM)

Heat 1 T of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. When the butter foams, add the apricots or plums and 1/2 cup of the sugar. Cook, stirring until the apricots begin to soften, 3-4 minutes. With a large slotted spoon, scoop up the apricot or plum slices and place them in a large bowl. Cook the juices in the skillet over high heat until only a few tablespoons of thick, glazy sauce are left. Pour over the apricots or plums. Cool the apricots to room temperature or refrigerate until ready to use.

Stir the yeast into the water until dissolved and let it sit for 10 minutes until it foams up. I always add a tsp. of sugar to the water and then add the yeast to give it a jump start.

Beat the eggs and the remaining sugar in a large bowl until pale yellow and thick. Beat in the remaining butter and when it is incorporated, beat in the flour and the yeast mixture. Add the fruit to the batter and fold it in with a large spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle sugar over the top generously.

Bake 30 - 40 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake.

NOTE on other fruit:

If you are using apples or pears, there is no need to cook them before hand. Just peel and slice and fold the fruit directly into the batter. Since you will not use the 1 T butter for saute-ing the fruit, you may either use 7 T in the batter or the entire half stick. I have made the cake with as little as one half stick of butter and it comes out fine. For sugar, use a scant cup.

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