Torta di semolina, arancia e Campari (Campari and orange semolina cake)
I adore cakes made with oranges. Or anything that is sweet and orange. I always eat the orange jelly beans first and always pick flourless orange cake if it is on the menu. For part two of “A feast of oranges”, I made a cake from one of my favourite cookbooks “Polpo”, which has the most glorious photos of Venetian inspired food – a blood orange and Campari cake. The recipe calls for blood oranges, which aren’t in season yet, so I substituted them with regular navel oranges.
Serves four as a first course
350g (2 and 1/4 cups) Greek yoghurt
600g (4 cups) caster sugar
4 medium sized eggs, lightly beaten
250g butter (2 sticks), melted and cooled
350g (2 and 1/4 cups) fine semolina
100g (1/2 cup) ground almonds
100ml (2/5 cup) Campari
Preheat the oven to 170C (330F). Line and grease a 23cm (9 inch) cake tin. Grate the zest of 4 oranges and set aside. Put the yogurt, half the sugar and the eggs into a large mixing bowl and stir, then add the butter. Finally fold in the semolina, the almonds and the zest. Place the batter into the prepared tin and cook for an hour ten minutes. The cake should be firm and a skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean. While the cake is cooking, make the syrup.
Place the juice of the 8 oranges, the other half of the sugar and the Campari in a small saucepan over low-medium heat. Bring to the boil and simmer until reduced by half, skimming off any white foam that forms as the syrup is reducing. When the cake is cooked, allow to cool slightly and remove from the tin. Place on a wire rack with a plate underneath (to catch excess syrup) – or directly onto the serving plate – and prick the top of the cake all over with a toothpick.
Pour over the syrup in batches, allowing the liquid to absorb before adding the next batch. I like to reserve some of the syrup to serve with the cake. Serve warm or at room temperature, with some vanilla ice cream on the side if you like
Finish your meal with liquore all’alloro
We always had wine at home. And a bar full of liqueurs, a rather cool 1970s bar, built in to our lounge room and initially, decorated with “brick” wallpaper (thankfully removed).
330ml (11.2 fl oz) alcohol 90-95 proof
20 fresh bay leaves
450ml (15.2 fl oz) water
280g (10 oz) sugar
Wash the bay leaves well and pat dry. Place the leaves and the alcohol in a clean glass bottle, seal and store in a dark, cool place for 30 days, shaking the bottle every couple of days. On day 31 place the water and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Allow to cool completely. Strain the leaves from the alcohol (which will be a lovely deep green) and add the sugar syrup, mixing well.
Place the liqueur in a clean bottle, replace the lid and place it in a cool, dark place for another 20-30 days depending on how strong you would like the bay leaf flavour to be. When it is ready, filter through a fine muslin cloth and store the bottle of liqueur in the freezer