Learning to Bake: Una Torta di Nocciole

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My First Cake!

It’s time for a recipe!  Just back from a week in Rome, and having been more on the road than off for a couple of months now, I miss cooking.  Needless to say I am happy to have a week off to spend some time with my boys. At dinner on my first night home, Emanuele, my nine year old, asked me if I could teach him how to cook something.  He pointed his

It is time for a recipe!  Just back from a week in Rome, and having been more on the road than off for a couple of months now, I miss cooking.  Needless to say I am also happy to have a week off to spend some time with my boys. At dinner on my first night home, Emanuele, my nine year old, asked me if I could teach him how to cook something.  He pointed his finger in my face and said,”you tell me what to do, but I want to do everything.”  Message received.  I tend to take over in the kitchen but I am up to the challenge.  Delegate!   Asking Emi what he wants to make I throw out a few ideas, maybe some pasta…Taglietelle?  “No! Been there, done that.” Torta di mela…we have tons of apples right now?  “No! Papa makes that all the time.” Hmm…Something simple for an inexperienced cook…a four ingredient Torta di Nocciole (hazelnut cake) is perfect and Emi thinks so too!

Not having any hazelnuts on hand, we need to go shopping the next morning.  Fortunately, in our little town we have a few small grocery stores and hazelnuts are a staple here.  Our usual Sunday routine, if we have nothing else planned, is to walk to the cemetery to visit Mauro’s parent’s tombs.  We go to make sure the flowers are watered, for memory and simply to spend time with each other without the distractions of home. Armed with umbrellas and a shopping bag, off we go.  It’s nice to be out with my boys and they fill me in on the week I missed.  We take the long way round and are gone for about an hour picking up toasted hazelnuts on the way home…Let’s bake!

The first thing I ask Emi to do is read the recipe from start to finish (my mother taught me this but I still had to learn from experience and a few botched recipes).  We then get all of our ingredients together and pull out the mixer and the bowls we will need for the cake. There is a moment of panic.  We have no sugar!  Luckily, I filled the sugar bowl we use for company before going on tour…there is just enough.

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Ready to Bake!

La Torta di Nocciola (Hazelnut Cake)

Preheat oven to 300 F.

10.5 oz.  toasted hazelnuts

3 eggs, separated

2/3  cup of sugar

Chocolate chips (optional)

Grind the hazelnuts up in a food processor until the are quite fine.  Separate  the eggs and add the sugar to yolks.  Beat the yolks until creamy yellow and light.

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Keep Beating!
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Perfect!

In a separate bowl beat the egg whites into stiff peaks.  Gently fold the hazelnuts and egg whites in with the sugar and yolks.

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Learning to Fold…

Once blended pour the batter into a buttered 10 inch cake pan or a silicone cake pan (no butter necessary). We decided to throw some dark chocolate chips on top but this cake is delicious on it own. If we add chocolate next time I am going to try with smaller chips and fold them in with the hazelnuts.

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Chocolate is always good!

Bake in a preheated oven for 1 hour.  Cool completely in the cake pan before removing. This is a cake that tastes better the second day in my opinion, but we are not that patient! Being a lazy Sunday we just dusted the cake with a little powdered sugar to dress it up a bit. If you want to make more of an effort this cake is delicious with a bit of Zabaglione on the side but I would skip the chocolate in that case

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Buon Appetito!

Emi did almost all of this by himself.  Teaching him to separate the eggs was a bit messy but he managed.  The only thing I didn’t make him do was the dishes.  That will come next time!

3 thoughts on “Learning to Bake: Una Torta di Nocciole

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