I have spent my life pretty much as a city girl. If you’re from Europe, you will apparently find that hard to believe, because whenever I tell someone here that I’m from Canada, the universal response is: you must think it’s so busy and cosmopolitan here in the city! Now, Geneva is a beautiful city, but it’s not particularly big or bustling. When I respond that I came from a city about ten times the size of Geneva, they get all confused. Then, there’s a momentary relief as they ask: Toronto?
No, not Toronto. It seems that to outsiders, Canada is either full of nothing but fields, or Toronto. That’s it. Actually, I’m exaggerating. All the French know about Montreal too. But I do find it funny that I’m basically cast as girl from the country. I’ve spent my life in cities, or the suburbs, which is almost FURTHER from actual country life. So I’m still amazed nowadays when traffic gets tied up down the block because a thresher* is positioning itself on the road.
*I don’t know if this is the thresher. It’s just that it’s one of the only farm terms I have heard of but do not understand.
I just have a little bit of glee to be so close to the countryside, even if I have no clue what is going on. I feel this hippie tie to the earth as I watch real things grow from it, which is then commercially produced to feed the world. I hope that X gets a chance to see this too (and maybe understand things better than I do) as he grows, because I think it’s important that kids understand where their food comes from. Which, in our case, is the fields out back. I took these photos on our walk to the local park.
I’ve just been enjoying my slow progress from ignorant city slicker into country girl. Finally, now that I live in “busy” Geneva, I might become what everyone assumes a Canadian is. Okay, I digress. The real post today revolves around this stuff here:
Mixed with Coke, this is my sister’s favourite drink. Holy sweet, but this stuff is delicious. Which means it works really well in baking, too. With my overload of ripe fruit lately, I’ve been experimenting with using Amaretto, with sweet results all around.
My first foray into baking with Amaretto was an Italian Apricot Amaretto Cake. This was so good it’s not even funny. The first cake disappeared so quickly I had to make another one. Another great way to use up apricots (this was a part of my frantic mission to use all my apricots, but I thought I’d break things up a bit with a new post.) The recipe is remarkably easy, especially if you have a spring-form pan, and the final result is so so pretty. I found the original recipe on Almost Italian food blog.
Apricot Amaretto Cake
2 tbsp softened unsalted butter
2/3 cup of castor sugar
¼ cup plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ cups almond meal
2 Tablespoons Amaretto liqueur
7 or more apricots large, ripe, enough to fill the tart
2 tbsp flaked almonds
Preheat oven to 180c /160c FF. Grease a 25 cm loose bottom tin. Line base.
Place butter and sugar and eggs in a mixer bowl and beat for 5 minutes until thick and pale.
Stir in the flour mixed with the baking powder, then fold in the almond meal, followed by the Amaretto. Pour into the prepared tin.
Arrange halved apricot over the top and lightly press down so they are submerged. Scatter the top with the flaked almonds.
Bake for 45- 50 mins. Cool in tin.
I like how the apricots in the uncooked batter look like cobblestones. This is so good. I love the slightly toasted almonds on top. It’s also suggested to dust a little icing sugar over top and, if you like your alcoholic sweet on top of your sweets, with a tiny bit of Amaretto.
I’ve been experiencing some powerful chocolate cravings lately, and there’s no better place on earth to satisfy that craving than Switzerland. But sometimes eating straight blocks of chocolate get old (just kidding … it never gets old) and I want to do something a little different. With a pint of raspberries in the fridge and that Amaretto stocking my liquor cabinet, I decided on some rich gooey brownies. With an emphasis on the goo. These brownies are supposedly lower fat (although when you replace the butter with mayo, does that really do much?) and they are very light, but goopy. The original recipe was found here, on Comfort Bites.
Raspberry and Amaretto Chocolate Brownies
40 g flour
1 tsp baking powder
35 g cocoa powder
80 g dark chocolate
170 g brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
110 g mayonnaise
30 ml Amaretto
150 g raspberries (use fresh if possible)
Grease a 25 cm square baking tin. Mix together flour, baking powder and cocoa until lump-free.
Melt the chocolate, in the microwave or in a bain-marie over the stove.
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with sugar, vanilla and Amaretto until it starts to thicken. Into this mixture, stir the melted chocolate.
Gently stir flour mixture into egg mixture. Fold in the mayonnaise, combining until the mixture is silky. Then add the raspberries, stirring gently until distributed.
Scrape into baking tin and bake at 160C for 45 minutes, until brownies are cooked through, with crisp topping.
Cool and cut into squares. Makes about 30 squares. And then hide them from the family, that’s how quickly these will go!