Torta Rustica di Mele

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Desserts | Torta Rustica di Mele

(Italian rustic apple cake)

This classic Italian apple dessert is a wonderful way to welcome the crisp days of autumn. Lightly sweetened, torta rustica di mele lets the sweet-tart flavor of the apples shine through. This simple cake comes together and turns out beautifully. It's a recipe you'll return to again and again.

Image Creative Commons by Whats4eats

6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

  • Apples, peeled and cored -- 4 or 5
  • Lemon juice -- 1 tablespoon
  • Flour -- 2 cups
  • Baking powder -- 2 teaspoons
  • Salt -- pinch
  • Unsalted butter, room temperature -- 4 ounces
  • Sugar -- 2/3 cup
  • Eggs -- 3
  • Vanilla -- 1 teaspoon
  • Lemon peel, grated -- 2 teaspoons
  • Milk -- 2/3 cup
  • Brown sugar -- 3 tablespoons

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour an 8 or 9-inch springform pan.
  2. Chop half the apples into small pieces. Cut the remaining apples into thin slices. Toss each in their own bowl with some of the lemon juice.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  4. Add the butter and sugar to the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium-high until creamy and lightened. Beat in the vanilla and grated lemon peel.
  5. Reduce speed to medium and add the eggs one at a time, waiting until each is fully incorporated before adding the next.
  6. With the mixer continuing to run, add 1/3 of the flour mixture. After it is fully incorporated, add half the milk, then another 1/3 of the flour, the remaining milk and finally the rest of the flour, allowing each addition to be fully incorporated before adding the next. Stop the mixer from time to time and scrape the edges with a spatula to ensure a smooth batter.
  7. Remove the bowl from the mixer stand, and use a spatula or wooden spoon to stir the chopped apples into the batter. Scrape the batter into the prepared baking pan and smooth out the top.
  8. Arrange the apple slices neatly in concentric circles over the batter. Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the apple slices.
  9. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned and a toothpick poked into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  10. Let the cake cool completely, and then serve slices with a dollop of whipped cream and hot coffee.

Torta Rustica di Mele Variations

  • Add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and a grating of nutmeg to the flour mixture.
  • Stir 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts into the batter along with the chopped apples.
  • Use a sieve to shake some powdered sugar over the torte after it has cooled and before serving.
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