There have been no recipes this week.Â (I am in the valley of Mercatale di Cortona teaching a lovely group of women the joys of cooking.)Â We have flung tender garlic shoots with abandon into frittatas and lentils, and braised ribs with unmeasured wine.Â There is always the risk that it won’t work out.Â There is alsoÂ the unlimitedÂ possibility of amazing success and unexpected pleasure.Â I completely forgot the sugar in the cake I was making for breakfast.Â I cursed it, the pan it was sitting in, the oven that it was baking in, and threw a few “Porca Miseria’s” in for good measure.Â Then I poured the smug cup of sugarÂ into a sauce pan and melted it withÂ a little water, a little orange juice and a squeeze of a lemon and reduced it by half.Â When the cake was hot from the oven, IÂ inverted it onto a plate, poured about a third of the syrup onto the pan, back in went the cake, and then after I poked holes all over the thing, I brushed the rest of the syrup over the top.Â Delicous.Â The recipe to start from:Â 1 3/4 cup of flour, 1 tablespoon of baking powder, 2 good pinches of salt, combined.Â 2 tablespoons of melted and slightly cooled butter, 2 tablespoons of sugar, 3/4 cup room temperature whole milk and 1 slightly beaten room temperature egg, combined.Â Mash a very ripe banana.Â Stir into the liquid ingredients.Â Combine the dry ingredients with the wet, with the outside edge of your hand, only until everything is combined.Â Make the syrup using not quite 1/2 cup of sugar, a few tablespoons of water, a few tablespoons of orange juice and the juice from one lemon.Â Reduce by half.Â When the cake is done (baked at 375 degrees), wait about 5 minutes and invert.Â Â When still warm, pour 1/3 of syrup onto bottom ofÂ original pan, or another plate.Â Get your cake back on there so it is sitting on a pool of syrup.Â Brush the rest of the syrup over the top.Â Pile fresh strawberries, uncut in the middle.Â Serve slightly warm.
Oh, to be in that beautiful farmhouse in Mercatale di Cortona and wake up to your wonderful breakfast and that delicious espresso and hot milk! I dream about it! Hope your cooking classes are going well!