Skip to main content

Limoncello & Torta di Mele

The lemon tree  in my parents garden yields an abundance of citrus fruit each year and is now over 50 years old.  Like all Italian families, no garden is without a lemon tree but this is not just your average lemon tree.  30 years ago, papa` decided that a meyer lemon tree, which at the time was well established and already 20 years old was not good enough. The tree needed lisborn or genoa lemons growing on it, those typically used in  Italian cooking.   This tree has since been grafted with lisborn lemons, oranges and two varieties of mandarins...truly a citrus glory.

The meyer varieties even though not papa`'s favourite, have never gone to waste and are used in mamma's cakes or turned into granita or lemonade.  

This year my father decided to make limoncello for the first time using the meyer lemons. This recipe is not ready to be shared as yet as it has been scribbled on a piece of paper by papa`- half in English, half in Italian and with little indication of exact quantities (all'occhio)...typically Italian!  He told me that my cousins wife had shared a recipe for limoncello she had made, but he had misplaced it. This was his attempt at piecing together the recipe.  I had to spend some time with him discussing the process and making my own notes.  I managed to score a bottle though and the results are amazingly delicious. 
The base ingredients are grappa (made by my uncle), meyer lemons and sugar. I will be sharing papa`'s limoncello recipe in another post with his other liqueurs, and hope my cousins recipe surfaces in the meantime.

What I can share with you is mamma's apple cake,  which instead of using lemon juice to drizzle over the apples so they don't turn brown, I have used papa`'s limoncello.

Torta Di Mele & Limoncello


125g butter

1/2 cup castor sugar
2 cups self raising flour
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
3 apples (I use pink lady) peeled and cut into thin slices
1 cup of limoncello
1 lemon rind (grated)
1 extra tablespoon of sugar to sprinkle on top of cake before baking.

Pre heat oven at 180c and line a 20cm round tin with baking paper.

Peel apples and slice thinly.  Place in a bowl and pour the limoncello over them. Stir through so they are all generously coated.

Cream sugar and butter and then beat in the 2 eggs one at a time.  Add 1/2 cup of milk a bit at a time alternating with the flour.  Mix until well combined.  If the mixture is too dry, add a bit more milk.  Consistency of batter will depend on the size of the eggs. 

Pour 1/3 of mixture in tin and spread evenly with spatula.  Drain apples and layer over mixture until covered.  Spread more of the mixture on top, leaving 1/3 for the last layer and then ending with final layer of apples. 

Grate some lemon rind over final layer of apples and sprinkled with sugar.  Bake in oven for 60 minutes.

This recipe can be modified to suit your taste.  Mamma would make it with cinnamon and stewed apples, a more traditional combination.

Enjoy with a chilled glass of limoncello!


Popular posts from this blog

Cucina Conversations: Rosette di Pane (Rosette Bread Rolls)

Rosette Soffiate, or puffed rosette rolls are probably one of the hardest bread types I have attempted to make.  It has taken me many attempts and still cannot claim that I have achieved the hollow centre being 'the' inherent characteristic of this Italian panino.  This month, our CucinaConversations topic is all about bread, and provides us with an opportunity to learn more about the many bread types found in the different regions of Italy. There are claims that there are over 350 types of bread in Italy, of which many are specific to their regions while others are more widespread and exist based around religious, utilitarian or prepared for celebrations.  

This rosetta roll is ideal and typically used for fillings due to its hollow centre. In the Friuli-Venezia region of Italy, a region which borders Austria, rosette rolls are similar to Austrian bread, and have a soft, compact crumb.  Like those in Austria, they are sprinkled with poppy seeds. Rosette rolls produced in Milan…

Panzerotti /Tortelli di Castagne & Cioccolato (Chestnut & chocolate filled morsels)

When I think of chestnuts, I reminisce about my birth town - Domodossola, where I was first introduced to this distinctive flavoured nut.  We were fortunate to live close to Sacro Monte Calvario, a mountain lined with chestnut trees. My mother cooked many dishes which used this flavorsome nut, especially sweets such as these panzerotti di castagne & cioccolato.  Withthis sweet mamma has more recently substituted the chestnut filling with chickpeas as they are readily available all year round and knowing that my papa`enjoys this sweetmade frequently.

Chestnut season is a favourite for our whole family and we are of the belief that if you've never had a freshly roasted chestnut you haven't lived. We often visit Daylesford in country Victoria around autumn to purchase them fresh and enjoy them roasted at the farmers markets.

This recipe is a variation of panzerotti / tortelli di ceci which I have shared previously with you.  The filling is more delicate in texture and lighter t…

Cucina Conversations: Cassatelle Siciliane

Cassatelle are typical Sicilian pastries filled with lemon scented ricotta, and also known as cassateddi in Sicilian dialect.  The name derives from the word cassata, and by adding the diminutive suffix ‘ella’ you get the word cassatella, a smaller individual serving. An assortment of these pastries can be found in different regions of Sicily and are considered traditional deserts for the Carnevale and Easter period. In researching this topic, I become enthralled by the history behind the most complex of cassate from Palermo through to these more simple-to-make pastries from Siracusa, and therefore could not help but share some of its history with you.
Sicily is known as the sweets centre of Italy, and it appears that the most colourful and famous cassatasiciliana in all its glory, is one of the reasons.  It is believed to have originated in Palermo, made with sheep’s milk ricotta – at its richest and herbaceous during Spring; and containing other ingredients prevalent to the area suc…