Thursday, December 31, 2015

"Cakes, Cookies and Pastries" by Myra Waldo - Italian Rum Torte - Zuppa Inglese - Christmas

Date I made this recipe:  December 28, 2015 – "Christmas Dinner" Dessert        

Cakes, Cookies and Pastries – 187 great dessert recipes from around the world by Myra Waldo
Published by: Galahad Books
© 1962; Third Printing 1970
Purchased at Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks, NYC
Recipe:  Italian Rum Torte (Zuppa Inglese) – p. 56-57

When my husband tasted this recipe, his first words were "How much booze is in this thing, anyway?"

Answer:  a lot!  But it's Christmas and so it's time to cut loose and what better way with this boozy dessert? 

As you can see by the date, I didn't make this until Christmas was well and truly over but if you read my other holiday blog posts, you saw that I was just a tad exhausted and so didn't make anything on Christmas Day as I planned.  This was supposed to be the final ta-da to my holiday frittata and holiday pork stew (both recipes from Martha Stewart) but I just didn't get there.  Still, Christmas lasts well past its sell-by date of December 25th and so I had time.

I've written about cookbook author, Myra Waldo before and have five of her cookbooks (out of a dozen or so) in my collection.  She started writing cookbooks in the 1950's as well as a few travel guides.  The artwork for her The Art of South American Cookery is still one of my favorites and I quite enjoyed the recipe I made for the blog as well.

This book is pretty compact – 119 pages – but it provides a nice variety of delicious pastries for you to enjoy.  I was sorely tempted to make the "Frozen Eggnog Pie" on page 87 but at the very last minute, switched it out for the rum torte.  On the booze meter, the eggnog pie only contained 2 tablespoons cognac or light rum whereas the rum torte lived up to its name with a whopping ¾ cup being used for the dish, and another ¼ reserved for the whipped cream topping.  My husband said that when he took the cover off the torte, he was almost knocked out by the fumes.  Slight exaggeration but you get the point. 

As the book title suggests, this book is filled with recipes for cakes and cookies as well as pastry consisting of tortes, macaroons, pies, tarts, other pastries, and frostings, creams, glazes and fillings.  I tell you what, as between enjoying frosting and enjoying cake, I am a frosting gal and so I might just make up a batch of the Seven-Minute Frosting (and variations) found on page 114 just for the heck of it.  I love me some seven-minute frosting!

Assuming you do not make your own ladyfingers (and I could have but chose not to), then your only task in this very easy recipe is to keep an eye on your custard and allow enough time for it to cook, gently, to creamy and silky perfection.  And then get out your booze, pour some for the recipe and a lot more for yourself and congratulate yourself on making a recipe that is sure to impress if not inebriate you and your guests for the holidays. 

Italian Rum Torte (Zuppa Inglese) – makes one 11-inch deep pie
2 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup sugar
2 cups milk
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
36 lady fingers
1 cup rum
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar

Sift the cornstarch, salt and sugar into a saucepan.  Gradually beat in milk, then the egg yolks.  Cook over low heat, mixing steadily, until thickened and smooth, but don't boil the mixture.  Remove from the heat and beat in the vanilla.  Strain if there are any lumps.  Cool.

Line the bottom of an 11-inch deep pie plate closely with some lady fingers; pour ¼ cup rum over it.  (Ann's Note:  If you don't have the right sized pie plate, try a similarly sized casserole or baking pan.)  Covered with half the cooled custard.

Make another layer of lady fingers (reserving some for the top), sprinkle with ¼ cup rum, spread remaining custard over it and cover with remaining lady fingers.  Sprinkle with ¼ cup rum. 

Cover and chill for 3-4 hours.  Just before serving, pour the remaining rum over the top, and cover with the cream whipped with the confectioners' sugar.

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