Once again I have made the mistake of reading from your book at bedtime. Now I know that I won't be able to sleep for a long time. This is not too good, as tomorrow I need to rise earlier than normal. Oh well, I'll get over it.
I just wanted to share a few thoughts brought on by reading chapter 8 about La Cuoca. Any strange spelling you may attribute to what I call "Itanglish", or the Italianizing of American words.
Do you remember the number of il telefone in the cuccausse? It was 6 Y 1 1. (In Itanglish: Sikissy uai wan wan) The number for Herman Mortara's grocery near the plaza on Pacific Avenue was 8 6. (eitte sikissy)
You mentioned the wonderful torta that you mother made. My mother called it "Torta con becchi", (becchi meaning beaks or peaks. The way the crust was pinched into peaks all around the edge of the torta) If you know the recipe for it, I should greatly appreciate your sending it to me. I think that besides the ingredients you mentioned, it sometimes contained bietola. (Swiss chard) My mother also doctored it up with vermouth or something. I was always allowed to sip anything my parents had, and was sometimes served "coffee royals" or acqua calda con vischi e limone. (hot water with bourbon and a bit of lemon peel) I was a happy baby! A wonder that I never took a serious interest in liquor.
Gino, figliolo del famoso Baffi.
(Makes 4 Pies)
Ingredients for filling:
1-1/2 cups cooked rice
½ loaf dried French bread (soaked in water –
then squeezed dry
6 tablespoons cocoa (chocolate baking –
½ cup pine nuts
¼ cup grated cheese
½ to 1 cup sugar (to taste)
2 cups chopped cooked Swiss chard
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 bunch chopped parsley
1 cup raisins
1 cup glazed fruit
1 tablespoon of whiskey
Fry chard and parsley in small amount of oil:
Add salt and pepper to this. Put in bowl and
Add rest of ingredients, mix well and let set.
Add whisky to ingredients. (To taste- plus or minus)
CRUST FOR PIES:
4 cups of flour
4 eggs beaten
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 cup of sugar and include ½ cup of brown
sugar in it.
1 cup melted Crisco and butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup whiskey
½ teaspoon salt
Mix flour, baking powder, salt: add 4 eggs,
Vanilla, whiskey, Crisco and mix well. If
Dough is too soft, add flour until firm. If it
Gets too firm add small amounts of milk.
Roll on floured board, small amount of dough
At a time, enough to fit into one pie dish at a time.
Allow dough to hang over edge. Roll dough on edge
of dish to make “Becci” (means peaks) cut with knife.
Put dough on a slant all around the rim of pie plate.
1 egg well beaten
1 teaspoon whiskey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1½ tablespoon sugar
(A little butter to dot rim of crust)
Blend egg, vanilla, whiskey and sugar
Spread about 2 tablespoons over each pie dot
Section of crust rim with butter. Bake at
375 degrees in oven, for 55 minutes, or until
crust is deep golden brown.