Ecco Le Marche

It’s been a while that we haven’t cooked together with Mamma Graziella. Now the time has finally come and the occasion is special: it’s Mamma Graziella’s birthday!

What better way to celebrate it than baking the traditional birthday cake of Le Marche? When I talked about this cake to Elke and Isabelle, I described it as “the cake that every Marchigian person has at least had once on their birthday”. To prove that I am not lying, I have searched through our family photoalbums, and here there are some (just some!) of our birthdays’ pictures with the “pizza ‘mbottita”.

This cake is actually a very sumptuous version of the so-called pizza sbattuta – which was simply the pie with nothing as filling. It was called sbattuta (shaken) because it took about 10 minutes of stirring of all the ingredients together. In the past, this cake alone was already something very special: the families that could afford to bake a cake (or even to decorate with whipped cream) for a birthday were not so many!

This is Mamma Graziella’s second birthday – with the pizza sbattuta

I asked my mum (Mamma Graziella) to share some of her memories with me, and she remembered that the whipped cream was something very exclusive and expensive! You couldn’t find in the normal shop, but you had to order it in advance from the milk producers. It seems so far away from now, when we can simply find it at the supermarket!

When better times arrived, this kind of cake became richer and richer, and it got the name ‘mbottita, which means “filled”… with what, are you asking? In my family we usually fill it in with two versions of custard (first normal and then chocolate-version), and cover it all with whipped cream. To make it even more tasty, we pour coffee and Alchermes liqueur (do you remember it? We talked about this special liqueur for this other recipe: the peaches).

Ok, let’s cut to the chase.. or to the recipe!

Ingredients for the pie         

  • 4 eggs
  • 150 gr sugar
  • 250 gr flour
  • baking powder

Stir all the ingredients together and cook the pie for about 40 minutes at 180° (static oven).

Ingredients for the custard

  • 8 egg yolks
  • 8 glasses of milk
  • 8 spoons of sugar
  • 8 spoons of flour
  • 2 spoons of cocoa powder

In a bowl, break the 4 eggs, add the 4 spoons of sugar and mix with for a few minutes. Add the 4 glasses of milk, mix everything and add the 4 spoons of flour to rain. Let it boil at least for 10 minutes and let it cool down for some more minutes. Cut the pie in three pieces, pour coffee on the first “level”, and add the custard. You can prepare the chocolate version of the custard in the same way, by adding just 2 spoons of cocoa powder. Pour some Alchermes liqueur on top of the second layer of the pie, add the chocolate custard and cover with the last layer. Whip the cream, and cover the whole cake. Now you can decorate as much as you like!

Here you can have a look at our video and learn how Mamma Graziella prepares this cake!

The cake may come from a very old traditional recipe, but the traditions never change…


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