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"To read a book about a country's cuisine isn't simply to go looking for 'good things'; it is also to better know - by means of the recipes - the customs and the richness or poverty of a place, and the spirit of those who inhabit it. It is above all, to participate in the symbolic celebration of the shared repast."

~ Ginette Olivesi-Lorenzi, La Cuisine Mentonnaise



Savoring Tuscany : Recipes and Reflections on Tuscan Cooking

Savoring Tuscany : Recipes and Reflections on Tuscan Cooking (The Savoring Series)
by Lori De Mori

Part of the Savoring Series, which is one of my favorite series of books about Regional Cuisine, Savoring Tuscany is a beautiful book filled with sumptuous recipes and delectable writing about the cuisine and culture of Tuscany. As with all the books in the series, Savoring Tuscany is put together beautifully and all of the recipes are well written and presented. The recipes that we tested were all superb and the book is an excellent source for fans of Tuscan cuisine.


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Recipe - Schiacciata alla fiorentina (Florentine Sponge Cake)
by The Art of Cookery: Traditional Florentine and Tuscan Recipes and Wines

"This light sponge is traditionally made during Carnival time, in February. Originally lard was used, but I have replaced it with oil as this makes a lighter cake. But if you are not worried about your cholesterol level, then why not try the flavour of the original recipe? "

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Schiacciata alla fiorentina (Florentine Sponge Cake)

Preparation time: 15 minutes.
Cooking time: 30 minutes.

250g plain white flour.
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (or 50g lard).
One glass milk.
One orange.
Half a teaspoon powdered saffron.
90g sugar.
2 eggs.
2 teaspoons baking powder.
Icing sugar.
Salt.

Put the sifted flour, baking powder, oil, milk, grated orange rind, saffron, sugar, eggs, and a pinch of salt into a mixing bowl and beat together thoroughly until all the lumps are eliminated and the batter is smooth and thick. Grease a shallow rectangular baking pan and pour in the mixture (the schiacciata should be about 2 cm high). Put into a preheated oven at 150c for half an hour. Sprinkle plenty of icing sugar on top of the cake before sprinkling with icing sugar to make design. If you are very sweet-toothed, you can cut the cake in two and fill it with whipped cream, chocolate icing, chocolate cream or any other sweet filling or spread you like.

This light sponge is traditionally made during Carnival time, in February. Originally lard was used, but I have replaced it with oil as this makes a lighter cake. But if you are not worried about your cholesterol level, then why not try the flavour of the original recipe?

This recipe was reprinted with the gracious permission of The Art of Cookery: Traditional Florentine and Tuscan Recipes and Wines. The Art of Cookery: Traditional Florentine and Tuscan Recipes and Wines offers a wide variety of information about traditional Florentine and Tuscan cuisine, including a huge collection of fantastic recipes and basic information about this fascinating cuisine.

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