Saturday, 29 March 2008

Torta Meringata con Mele

I was browsing through Haalo's beautifully photographed blog, Cook (almost) Anything at Least Once and found this recipe for Torta Meringata con Mele, which her mother used to make. I am a little embarrassed to tarnish this recipe with my poor attempt, but when you consider my previous failure with pastry I think it turned out quite well for something I made. So please forgive me, Haalo and Haalo's mother - you might not want to continue reading!

The base of this torta is a sweet dough known as Pasta Frolla, the recipe for which also comes from Haalo's blog. It's very easy, just a mix of flour, sugar, butter and egg whizzed in a food processor. Unlike my last attempt, where I completely gave up on the homemade stuff, used bought stuff and still managed to mess it up, this one turned out reasonably similar to what it was supposed to be. I was quite chuffed when I wrapped it up and put it to rest in the fridge.

The apple mix is wonderfully light and gentle, thanks to grated apple and whisked egg whites. It was just beautiful and I loved the taste. I did have a problem with separating my eggs that morning though and I think there was a little bit of yolk that sneaked into my whites, because I couldn't get them to stiffen. This was a pretty big problem because whisked eggs whites are not only needed for the filling but also for the luscious meringue topping. So, something to improve upon next time.

The other thing I will have to learn to stop doing with baking is scaling a recipe without scaling the tin/dish that it cooks in. I halved this recipe, because DD doesn't like cooked apples and that meant it would only be me that would eat it, however I only own one tart tin and it was way too big. This meant the dough only just covered the bottom, and the meringue topping was not nearly enough to cover the top of the tart. I realised that only putting meringue topping on enough of the tart so that I could take a photo was quite silly, so I ended up whisking extra egg whites to cover the top fully.

I also don't think I prepared the pastry base well enough, as it was quite soggy at the base. I will read more and learn before I try again, because I do seem to be stumbling blindly around my pastry preparation.

However, despite my shortcomings, the tart tasted amazingly delicious. I didn't mind at all when DD tried it and decided he didn't like it, because then I got to eat his piece.

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