My dad inherited his way of cutting an apple from his father, who left his little mountain valley town of Italy for the United States almost a century ago. With a paring knife held a certain way, they both shave off little slices and bits. I’d never seen anyone else eat an apple like this–that is, until I visited my cousins in Italy for the first time. Sitting at the table after our pranzo, my dad’s first cousin took one of the glistening local annurca apples from the plate, picked up a knife, held the apple in that familiar position, and began to carve. In that moment, I realized time and distance could not erase the bond that is family.
Like my grandfather, the annurca apple is a native of this region of Campania between Naples and Benevento. A popular apple throughout Southern Italy, it has an IGP designation, meaning it must be grown in a specific geographical area in order to be called annurca. The apple is an old one, even Pliny the Elder wrote about it, and it appears in frescoes in the ancient city of Herculaneum, destroyed like Pompeii by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 A.D.
Sweet and juicy, the apple is not only delicious but, according to a 2010 article in the Journal of Nutrition, it can protect against cancer.
While we visited, my cousin made the annurca apples into a delightful apple cake.
And while we visited Sant’Agata de’ Goti, the town where Mayor de Blasio’s mother’s family is from, we saw a shop selling annurca gelato.
–Dina Di Maio, author of Authentic Italian: The Real Story of Italy’s Food and Its People, available at Amazon.com
Posted in History, Italian, Local, Organic
Tagged annurca, apple, Benevento, cake, Campania, gelato, Herculaneum, mela, Naples
Sugar and Plumm on the Upper West Side is one of those places that appeals to the kid in all of us. It’s part retail candy store, part café, part patisserie but all fun. There are a number of specialty crepes, milkshakes, sundaes and cakes, but on my visit, I opted to try a little of all of them. I ordered the earthquake in a fishbowl. Earthquake in a fishbowl is a sharable dessert that could also be called kitchen sink because it has everything in it–chocolate caramel cake; key lime pie; Brooklyn blackout cake; New York cheesecake; butterscotch pudding; vanilla, chocolate and dulce de leche ice cream and whipped cream. I’m not sure the bowl is really a fishbowl, as it has a lid on it, but it looks like a large bowl used to store candy in a traditional candy store.
My favorite parts of the fishbowl were the cheesecake, the butterscotch pudding, and the key lime, but everything tasted good. This dessert was fun and delish. It’s great for kids, a family, or a romantic date.
Enter my giveaway to win a copy of Susan Meisel’s new book, New York Sweets: A Sugarhound’s Guide to the Best Bakeries, Ice Cream Parlors, Candy Shops, and Other Emporia of Delicious Delights.
Amy’s Bread is a popular bake shop with breads, cakes, cupcakes, cookies and muffins and scones with locations on Bleecker Street and in Chelsea Market and Hell’s Kitchen. As soon as I walked into the bustling bakery, I saw the yellow cake with pink frosting and knew I had to have it. I also love red velvet cake, so I ordered a slice of that too.
I love the pink and red together. So pretty!
Verdict: The cake layers are fresh, and the red velvet cake actually had a cocoa flavor, a nice surprise since so many red velvet cakes don’t have a cocoa taste. The pink frosting on the yellow cake was a sweet buttercream. For red velvet cake, I have to have cream cheese frosting. When I tasted this red velvet cake, I knew it was a shortening-buttercream frosting, which is not a favorite of mine. I later found out that it’s a Swiss meringue buttercream frosting.
The best thing about baking a cake on a snowy day is that you probably have most of the ingredients on hand. I used a basic yellow cake mix substituting olive oil for the oil. For the buttercream, I used this chocolate buttercream frosting recipe only I used a whole stick of butter. Don’t you hate when a frosting recipe doesn’t make enough frosting for the whole cake? Well, you don’t have to worry about that with this frosting. There’s plenty!
Sometimes a girl needs a piece of cake, and she doesn’t want to feel guilty about it. So she orders fish and veggies for dinner and then her cake. Well, Atlantic Grill is the perfect place to do that.
Nicely grilled rainbow trout with broccolini and a few saffron potatoes. A healthy, clean plate.
rainbow trout, broccolini, saffron potatoes
Below, the pièce de résistance: salted caramel cake–vanilla bean-soaked white cake, caramel crunch and fresh berries.
salted caramel cake