Mar 29
Schiacciata alla Fiorentina is a specialty typical of Florence that can be found there during the first months of the year, especially during Lent. This cake is the quintessential Florentine dessert because it is based on olive oil and is simple and healthy.
This recipe is from my mother and, like every recipe, hides some little secrets. This one has three:
1. It must be baked on a very ordinary iron oven tray, not an aluminum one.
2. As soon as you have prepared the mixture and have laid it out, put it in the oven, immediately!
3. Make sure the oven is at the right temperature before you start cooking because the preparation only takes a few minutes.
This cake is simple to make but the decoration is what makes it impressive: an egg with a bow if you do it for Easter, or with a Lily of Florence on any other occasion. The Easter egg design you see here may look hard, but it’s as easy to do as the schiacciata!  Just click here to download the stencil.
Schiacciata alla Fiorentina
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons

extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra
2 1/2 cups flour, plus extra
2 eggs
3⁄4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 1⁄4-ounce package instant yeast
1⁄8 teaspoon salt
1 1⁄2 cups whole milk
confectioners’ sugar
Preheat the oven to 375°. Lightly brush a 9-by-13-inch pan with olive oil and sprinkle with flour. Shake the flour around the pan so that there are no spots left uncovered and tap to remove any excess. Place the eggs, sugar, orange zest, yeast, and salt in a mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, whisk until well combined. Add the olive oil and milk in a slow, steady stream and mix until combined. Add the flour and mix until a smooth batter is reached. Pour the batter into the pan and transfer to the oven to bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the schiacciata is golden and springs back when touched. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar, using a stencil, if desired, and serve. Serves 10
Mar 22

3 eggs
salt and freshly ground pepper
12 small pre-cooked shrimp, tails left intact
1 bunch seedless red grapes, halved

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a bowl, whisk the eggs and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. 2. In a 12-cup mini muffin tin, place 2 to 4 red grape halves. 3. Slowly pour the beaten eggs into the muffin tin, dividing it evenly among all 12 cups. 4. Carefully place one shrimp, tail up, into each muffin cup. Try to arrange it so that it stays in place. 5. Transfer to the oven to cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the eggs are set, and garnish with the remaining grape halves. Serves 4

Note: The mini frittatas can be served warm or at room temperature. Enjoy by simply picking up one by the tail and biting off the entire frittata, then discarding the tail. These snacks also make fun appetizers for a gathering.

Replace: pre-cooked shrimp with fresh or frozen shrimp, cook in boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes.

Medium to full-bodied white wine, such as Vermentino or Soave

Mar 15

Mar 8

4 ripe pears

juice of 1 lemon
6 chopped plums (or frozen plums)
2 tbsp. sugar
2 c. ice

1. Peel 4 ripe pears and remove their seeds and cores. Chop the pears into pieces and transfer to a blender. 2. Add the juice of 1 lemon, 6 chopped plums (or frozen plums), 2 tbsp. sugar, and 2 c. ice. Blend until smooth and add more sugar if necessary. 3. Pour the mixture into 4 short glasses, add a splash of seltzer to each one, and serve garnished with plum slices. Serves 4

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