“A tavola non si invecchia”. - Italian proverb (At the table with good friends and family you do not become old).

Sharing authentic Italian recipes entrusted upon me through the privilege of being invited into many Italian homes and kitchen’s abroad. I travel, cook, eat, share, learn and photograph my experiences, a truly soul enriching journey. There are now over 100 recipes on this blog to search from. I am a Melbourne born girl who now resides in Pietrasanta, Italy. Sharing my love for food and all things Italian with you. I am not a professionally trained chef, just a person that really loves cooking and has made my passion my reality! Through talent and drive I now work as a private chef in some of the most prestigious private villa`s here in Versilia, Italy!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Tronchetto di Natale- Christmas log


This infamous cake has been the talk of my house for the last week, "when are you going to make the tronchetto"? I only recently learnt of this cake when my friend Alessio mentioned it over lunch at my house. It was heavily advised that I should make this 'easy' cake as it is a specialty in Tuscany at Christmas time. He also suggested that this is the most beautiful present to bring to a hosts house. Although it is beautiful, I am not sure I would necessarily describe it as easy, it does take a little effort. Or maybe it is because my first attempt was a complete disaster, from pouring the batter in a pan that was too large for the oven to then accidentally knocking the oven dial to grill- hence a burnt sponge (not to mention many other disasters- yesterday was just one of those days for me). Any-way, clearly together the God's were on my side today, and the cake turned out beautifully. The sponge was fluffy and light as a feather.
Also, coincidentally the following day after Alessio mentioned this cake, my Student Gianluca made one for me. Alessio was right- it is a beautiful cake to receive.
From what I gather the word 'tronchetto' means log in Italian, hence the shape of this cake. The foliage I used to decorate the cake are typically found in florists around Italy at this time of year, I thought them to be fitting to adorn my cake with.
 What you need:
for the sponge cake-
six eggs
150g flour
150g sugar
pinch of salt
one teaspoon vanilla extract or one bag of vanilla powder 
1/4 cup of marsala or alchermes

for the chocolate filling:
130g sugar
six eggs
zest of one lemon
two tablespoons of powdered cocoa 
three tablespoons of flour
250ml of milk

for the chocolate ganache:
250g dark chocolate
one cup of milk
How to make:
To make to sponge cake-
1: Separate the egg yolks from the whites
2: Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form- put to one side
3: Whisk eggs yolks, vanilla and sugar together. Using a metal spoon fold the eggs whites into this mixture very gently trying not to knock the air out of the egg whites
4: Sift the flour in and combine gently
5: Place the mixture onto a baking tray lined with baking paper, and bake in a pre-heated 190 degrees oven for 10-15 minuets
6: Remove from the oven and immediately place on a clean tea-towel lined with sugar (to prevent sticking), cover one end of the sponge with a the tea-towel and roll while the sponge is still hot (as photographed). Allow to rest

To make the chocolate filling:
1: Whisk the eggs, sugar and lemon zest together, sift in cocoa and flour.
2: Place over a low heat and whisk until the mixture starts to thicken, about 5-10 minuets 
3: Add small amounts of milk in, until combined and mixture has thickened- to resemble a thick custard
4: Place in fridge and allow to cool

To make the chocolate ganache:
1: Simply add chocolate and milk together in a saucepan and place over another saucepan filled with boiling water. Stir until the chocolate has melted. Set aside, until the mixture cools and is spreadable

Assembling:
1: Un-roll gently the sponge cake, brush the sponge with the marsala or alchermes. Then fill the sponge with the chocolate cream. Re-roll and cut both end diagonally to resemble a log. Place on the serving platter
2: Cover the cake with the chocolate ganache and use a fork to create pattens in the ganache to resemble a log. Decorate as desired (I used fresh foliage and berries)

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