Strawberry, Mulberry and Cherry Tatin
When June 6th rolls around my inner child starts to come out, I have wonderful memories of ice cream cakes, the beginning of summer, that smell of new plastic toys and the crumple of wrapping paper under my fingers. I still try to grasp for that same excitement on my birthday today, not longing for the new plastic smell of what were probably toxic toys, but the excitement of the day and the pleasures that it brings.
I’ve shared my birthday with my older sister my entire life, her birthday falls on the 5th. We’ve always had a good relationship and as we got older celebrating our birthdays together was fun, but as a kid it wasn’t. Since hers was the day before mine I always felt a little overshadowed and my parents (rightly so) always seemed a little exhausted by the time the 6th came around. We had joint birthday parties for years, I wanting to surround myself with Strawberry Shortcake and frilly dresses, and my sister wanting to climb trees in jeans with the boys.
I tend to drive my poor husband crazy with my high expectations when my birthday rolls around, I sometimes can’t help myself after years of sharing it with someone. This year he had to be in Foggia for the day, and I knew that he wouldn’t be around. I still had a few tantrums, but then decided to grow up and make it a special day that I would spend with my daughter. She sang me happy birthday when she woke up in the morning, which was a great start to the day. She didn’t have any tantrums when I picked her up from school, ate her lunch with gusto and went down for a nap without protest, knowing that we would bake a cake together and open presents when she woke up. I wrapped up a book to give to her as a gift and while she was taking her nap prepped the kitchen to make a pink cake with her. It had to be pink.
The excitement that she had for my birthday brought me back to the same excitement that I had as a child for my birthday. The circle of life is a beautiful thing, I didn’t technically do anything special for my birthday, but baking a cake with my 2 year old made it the best birthday that I have had in years. It became all about her and not about me, and that was just fine.
Strawberry, Mulberry and Cherry Tatin
translated from Sale & Pepe June issue
- 240 grams (8.5 oz) flour
- 220 grams (7.75 oz) butter
- 4 eggs
- 250 grams (9 oz) sugar
- 2 tbsp of baking powder (yeast is a hard one to translate, the types of yeast in Italy are completely different than the ones you find in the States, the recipe lists lievito vanigliato in polvere)
- 300 grams (10 oz) of fruit (I used mulberries, strawberries and cherries, the original recipe called for raspberries, but since they aren’t local, I could not find them, I also think it needed at least 100 grams (3.5 oz) more fruit)
- ½ an orange
- a pinch of salt
- vanilla ice cream for serving
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
Juice the orange. Heat a small sauce pan over low heat and add 100 grams (3.5 oz) of sugar, 20 grams (.75 oz) of butter and 2 tablespoons of orange juice. Cook over a low flame until the sugar has evaporated. Remove from the heat, add the fruit and combine.
Butter a tatin pan or a round cake pan and add the fruit to the bottom of the pan with the syrup.
With a handheld or standing mixer, beat remaining butter and the remaining sugar until light and fluffy. Add one egg and a large spoonful of flour, sifted with the baking powder. Mix and and repeat with the eggs and the flour until all of the eggs are finished. Mix in the rest of the flour, a pinch of salt and mix until blended.
Spread the batter over the fruit and level it with a spatula. Bake until top of cake is golden brown and edges begin to pull away from sides of pan, about 45 to 50 minutes; a toothpick inserted into center should come out clean. Let cake cool for 5 minutes. Run a knife around edge of pan; put a plate on top of cake and carefully flip it so plate is on bottom and pan is on top. Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream.
One Year Ago: Farfalle with Yellow Zucchini and Tuna