Tag Archives: Apples

Torta ai Semi di Papavero e Mele (Poppy Seeds and Apple Cake)

21 Jan

Have you ever tried a butter-less, gluten free cake? I ate this delicious cake for the first time in South Tyrol. I was immediately struck by the delicate taste, in addition to the absence of butter and wheat flour in the recipe. The butter is replaced by poppy seeds, and wheat flour by gluten -free almond flour, but rich in protein, fats, vitamins and minerals. The cake with poppy seeds and apples is a typical German dessert, but also enjoyed in Trentino Alto Adige, a region in the north of Italy that was part of Austria until the beginning of the last century. The recipe is simple and includes eggs, sugar, poppy seeds and grated apples. After slow cooking in the oven, the cake is decorated with marmalade and toasted almond slices on the side. In fact, the poppy seeds blend very well with the citrus flavor, a real treat!
Poppy seeds are used mainly in bakery and confectionery, but we should not confuse the seeds with seed pod and straw. The seeds contain very low levels of opiates. The seeds are really healthy because they are rich in linoleic acid, omega 6, vitamins (vitamin E ) and minerals. They are used to treat anxiety and stress and, in fact, have a mild sedative and calming effect. You can enjoy this inviting and elegant dessert after dinner or in the afternoon with a good cup of tea or coffee.

Preparation time: 1 h        Cooking time: 50 min.            Servings: 8

Torta ai Semi di Papavero

200 g (1 scarse cup) granulated sugar
6 whole eggs
200 g (1 ¼ cups) ground and toasted almond flour
3 grated apples
200 g (1 cup) poppy seeds
1 teaspoon vanilla
50 ml (¼ cup) rum
350 g (about 1 cup) orange marmalade (puree)
120 g (1 cup) toasted almond flakes
1 slice of candied orange


1. Preheat oven to 160 ° C.
2. In a non-stick skillet over low heat toast the almond flour for 4-5 min., stirring with a wooden spoon. Allow to cool and set aside
3. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar with an electric mixer until mixture is fluffy. Add ingredients in the order according to the list above. Stir with a wooden spoon, and not with an electric whisk, to prevent overheating of the poppy seeds
4. Coat the bottom of the spring form pan (25 cm in diameter) with baking paper previously wet under running water and wrung out. Pour the batter into the pan
5. Bake for approx. 50-60 min.
6. In the mean time in a nonstick pan toast the almond flakes with a teaspoon of sugar. Cool and set aside
7. Allow the cake to cool on a rack. Remove from the pan, cover with orange marmalade and decorate the sides with the toasted almond flakes. At the center of the cake you can place a slice of candy orange peel to give a touch of color. Paola

Miascia, Lake Como Cake

3 Nov

Today I would like to present miascia (mee-AH-sha), a typical cake from my beautiful home, Lake Como. It is one of the traditional peasants’ sweets prepared with stale bread (“pan poss” in the local dialect) with the addition of dried and fresh fruit. Most of the farmers’ cakes are prepared with dried fruit or fresh fruit (both in this recipe) to compensate the lack of sugar that, in the past, was very common among the less well off. The fruit actually adds minerals and vitamins that sugar doesn’t have, making this cake also nutritious. In the past miascia could even replace a full meal or be served on very special occasions such as parties or celebrations. Today it is enjoyed as a great dessert accompanied by a fortified wine or vanilla ice cream. It is also a tasty snack, going well with a glass of milk or a cup of coffee.

Preparation time: 2 hrs +40 min.    Cooking time: 45 min.  Servings : 8

Miascia fetta

500 g (18 oz) stale bread
15 amaretti cookies, crushed
500 ml (about 2 cups) whole milk
120 ml (½ cup) Amaretto di Saronno liqueur
50 g (⅓  cup) toasted pine nuts
150 g (about 1 cup) raisins
2 eggs
70 g (⅓  cup) sugar
2 apples
2 pears
1 lemon, grated rind
50 g (about ¼ cup) butter, melted
1 tablespoon flour 00

1. Toast the pine nuts in a frying pan over low heat for a few minutes until golden brown. Cool and set aside
2. Cut the bread into small pieces and soak in a large bowl with milk and Amaretto liqueur. Let stand for about 2 hours. Add more milk if the bread is not soaked enough. The amount of milk depends on the type of bread used and how stale it is
3. Preheat oven to 190°C – 350°F
4 . Cut apples and pears into thin slices and add to the bread with the remaining ingredients (pine nuts, amaretti, raisins, eggs, sugar, lemon peel, butter and flour). Mix all ingredients together well
5. Wet and wring out some baking paper and line a baking pan (25 cm diameter, 10 inch) with it to make prevent the cake from sticking. Wetting the paper allows it to follow the sides of the pan better
6. Pour the batter into the pan and cook for 15 min. After this time, lower the temperature to 150°C and bake for an additional 30 minutes until golden.
7. Remove from oven and let cool on a rack for about 15 minutes. While your cake is still warm, sprinkle with powdered sugar and enjoy.

Note: There are a few variations of this classic recipe in which a small amount of corn flour (2 tablespoons ) is added . The type of bread used is very important both for the taste and the quantity of milk. You can also use whole wheat bread with cereals , as was used in the past.  In any case, the bread should be a hearty, baker’s bread, not an industrially-produced sliced bread. The result will be a very sweet, delicious and healthy treat! – Paola 




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