Eat and Drink
Sponge cake, custard and meringues make this tasty treat from Ruth Pretty.
Add an Italian twist to a cake and feel free to call it a torta.
This particular torta recipe, with much wow factor, was given to me by clever Christchurch chef and food writer Michael Lee Richards.
Michael did say that for a quick-to-put-together version he uses store-bought sponge cake and meringues but not to tell anyone. Pretend I didn't tell you.
Adjust the recipe, if you wish, for a more spectacular torta, perhaps multi-storeyed.
I might make a heart- shaped sponge cake and layer it with a filling of whipped cream folded with raspberry jam, and a small amount of softened gelatine to thicken it. I will colour the meringue mixture pink. I could even toss pink rose petals on top.
And I will give it to Michael to tell him how much I love him and his ideas.
TORTA DI ZABAGLIONE
Serve for dessert or in the late afternoon.
Ingredients 1 x 20cm unfilled sponge cake (preferably a day old or, if fresh, place in freezer for 30 minutes)
Zabaglione Custard Filling
11-12 meringues, or more if you wish
Icing sugar to dust
Using a large, serrated knife, slice sponge cake into three even horizontal layers. Lay them out separately on work surface.
Divide Zabaglione Custard Filling into four. Spread quarter of Zabaglione Custard Filling on first layer of cake. Top with second layer of cake. Spread second quarter of filling on top of second layer of cake. Place third layer of cake on top. Spread remaining custard on top and sides of layered sponge cake.
Break meringues into chunky pieces and stick these randomly all over tops and sides of cake.
Sift a dusting of icing sugar on cake.
Serve immediately and meringues will be crisp. Leave for three to four hours and meringues will be mellow.
VANILLA SPONGE CAKE
Makes two 17cm sponge cake rounds
For Torta di Zabaglione only one sponge cake round is required. Freeze the second to use later.
Ingredients 3 eggs
125g ( 1/2 cup + 2 1/2 Tbsp) sugar (if possible use vanilla sugar or alternatively add 1 tsp vanilla extract)
50g (7 Tbsp) flour
25g (3 1/2 Tbsp) cornflour
1 tsp baking powder
Grease two 17cm round cake tins. Line bases of cake tins with baking paper cut into 17cm rounds.
Preheat oven to 190'C.
Place eggs and salt into bowl of an electric mixer and whisk for one minute. While continuing to whisk, very slowly pour in sugar and whisk until mixture is thick and pale yellow (add vanilla extract, if using).
Sift flour, cornflour and baking powder together and, using a spoon-shaped spatula, very gently fold dry ingredients into egg mixture.
Spoon mixture into prepared cake tins. Gently smooth top of cakes.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until sponge springs back when lightly touched.
Leave in tray for 10 minutes before turning out on to a cooling rack.
ZABAGLIONE CUSTARD FILLING
Traditional Zabaglione is a light, frothy, custard-like dessert made with eggs and Marsala, a fortified Sicilian wine. It is served warm. This filling is based on the traditional version but thickened with flour and then cooked.
Ingredients 3 egg yolks
100g ( 1/2 cup) sugar
14g (2 Tbsp) flour, sifted
65ml ( 1/4 cup) dry white wine
125ml ( 1/2 cup) dry Marsala
375ml (1 1/2 cup) cream
Place egg yolks into a bowl set over a pot of simmering water set on a low heat.
Whisk until frothy.
Slowly add sugar and whisk until thick and creamy.
Add flour, whisking as you add. Add wine and Marsala and whisk together.
With water in pot underneath still only simmering, cook while stirring constantly, until mixture has thickened and is just coming to the boil (do not allow to boil).
Leave to cool, giving an occasional stir so a skin does not form on top. Refrigerate until cold.
Place cream into a bowl and whisk until stiff peaks form. Gently fold cream into custard mixture.
Place in refrigerator to chill and use within 24 hours.
Ingredients 2 egg whites (or 1/4 cup egg whites)
145g ( 1/2 cup + 4 Tbsp) castor sugar
Preheat oven to 120'C. Line one/ two baking tray(s) with baking paper.
Place egg whites into bowl of electric mixer. Add salt and whisk for 1 minute or until soft peaks begin to form.
Gradually add castor sugar and whisk until soft peaks form and sugar has dissolved.
Place 11-12 dessert spoonfuls on prepared tray(s) with 1-2cm space between.
Place tray into oven and bake for 45-50 minutes or until crisp and dry.
Cool and store in an airtight container in the pantry.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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