Festive and Delicious
Learn how to make this unique Italian savoury tomato cake with mozzarella, basil, and extra virgin olive oil. Red, green, and white colours make this a festive dish for Christmas and summertime!
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
1 hour 10 min
8 slices of cake
- 150 grams all-purpose flour
- 3 eggs
- 16 grams powdered yeast
- 125 millilitres milk, tepid
- 100 grams Gruyere cheese, grated
- 200 grams mozzarella, fresh
- 2 very large or 4 smaller tomatoes
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 8 large leaves basil, chopped largely
- 100 grams peas, blanched from frozen
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
- 2 tablespoons Parmesan, grated
- Peel the tomatoes by dropping them in a bowl of boiling water for 1 minute. Cut them in half and remove the seeds and liquid. Cut the pulp into cubes.
- Add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to a pan. Add the tomatoes, salt, and white pepper to taste and cook them till they are softened. Let them cool and set them aside.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Blanch the frozen peas in boiling water for about 2 minutes; then strain and set aside.
- Squeeze the mozzarella of excess liquid, then cut it into cubes and add it to the tomatoes in the pan with strips of basil leaves. Set aside.
- Beat the eggs in a bowl
- Add the flour and the powdered yeast. Beat together.
- Slowly pour in the remaining olive oil and the tepid milk.
- Add salt and white pepper to taste.
- Add the grated Gruyere and grated Parmesan cheese.
- Add the tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil mixture (cold) and the peas. Mix together with a light hand.
- Pour into a 26-centimetre-long cake pan.
- Cook in the center of a 180°C oven.
- Slice while hot on a bread board and serve on a serving platter.
Cake: Photo Guide
Caprese Recipe for Summer and Christmas
The flavors of ripe tomatoes and mozzarella mixed with olive oil and basil are so harmonious and wonderful together that Italians make two other dishes using the same three principal ingredients: caprese and pasta alla checca.
During the summer in Italy, the fields of tomato crops ripen. The markets are laden with them. We buy them by the pound or we grow them or have friends who grow them (and need to palm some off). We conserve them, we take them on picnics to the beach, we make simple salads with them, we cook with them every day and do not tire of them—but our favorite dish is la caprese.
Over Christmas, it's a special treat, which breaks with the heavier foods the wintry season has to offer.
- 4 big red ripe tomatoes (but not too ripe)
- 2 fresh mozzarella (buffalo mozzarella is the best if you can find it)
- 1 or 2 handfuls of basil leaves
- 4 to 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Salt to taste
- On a lovely serving platter arrange the following alternately: slices of large ripe tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil leaves (chopped or not).
- Drizzle the extra virgin olive oil over the top.
- Sprinkle with salt.
- Eat straight away because it is so much better fresh. It's deliciously simple, served on slices of crusty bread. Over the Christmas period, why not serve it with hot bread served straight from the oven?
Pasta Alla Checca
With the same ingredients as in the principal ingredients of the two recipes above, you can make a pasta dish. It's practical, it's good for you (it's good for children, too), it's fresh-tasting and summery. It's called pasta alla checca.
- 1 packet of pasta cannolichie (very small tube shape)
- 4 skinned, de-seeded small-chopped ripe tomatoes
- 1 small mozzarella, chopped
- 6 to 8 leaves chopped basil
- 4/5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Salt to taste.
- While you bring your pasta water to a boil and cook the pasta, put all your ingredients in a large pasta serving bowl. Begin with chopped tomatoes and olive oil. Stir together. It could not be easier!
- Cook the pasta until it is al dente; then strain the pasta and add it to the serving bowl.
- Mix and serve. You may eat this straight away, or tepid, or even cool.
- It's the perfect meal to eat and serve during a football game or for a buffet lunch during the summer. Or any time you want to remember the summer.
More About Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- When To Use Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oils vs olive oils - extra virgin olive oil is much better for your health due to the cold process during extraction. 'Raw' maintains all its health properties. 'Cooked', or 'frying' stimulates the digestive apparatus.
© 2012 Penelope Hart