Tag Archives: Liguria

Parks and villas in Liguria: Villa Negrotto Cambiaso (Arenzano)

Also called Villa Sauli Pallavicino, Villa Cambiaso is one of the most beautiful villas in Liguria. This wonderful Villa is surrounded by a large park and close to the sea. Walking around you’ll see several peacocks, aquatic turtles, rabbits and some stunning views!

I hope you enjoy this visual diary (part one of two). Comments are welcome! ❤

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More information here.

Picture Gallery: Hanbury Botanical Gardens

A piece of paradise, near the French-Italian border in Liguria. These gardens are a real gem!

The Villa

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The Flowers

Visit unesco.org or giardinihanbury.com for more information

Traditional Recipe: Torta Della Nonna (Grandma’s Pie)

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Torta Della Nonna (Grandma’s Pie) is a delicious and delicate pie made with a soft shortcrust pastry and filled with plenty of thick Italian custard (Crema Pasticciera) and garnished with lots of pine nuts and icing sugar. It’s a Florentine recipe, but is also quite popular in Liguria; in fact many bakeries and coffee shops make this wonderful cake in Genoa. I thought it might be difficult for you to come and have a taste so here is the recipe for you to enjoy! 🙂

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Tips.

1. It can be quite a difficult to cover the pie with the thin layer of pastry, but you can simplify the recipe using only one layer of shortcrust for the pie case.

2. You might need less custard to fill the pie crust, I used a little less.

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Torta Della Nonna.

Preparation time: 50 minutes + resting time

Cooking time: 40 minutes

Medium difficulty

Ingredients

For the pastry (with the ingredients listed here, follow the method in this recipe)

350 g sifted flour

165 g butter

165 g of sugar

3 egg yolks

a pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

2 drops of vanilla extract

For the custard or crema pasticciera (with the ingredients listed here, follow the method in this recipe)

1 litre of milk

8 egg yolks

140 g caster sugar

90 g sifted flour

the grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon (possibly organic)

To garnish

icing sugar to taste

100 g pine nuts

Method.

1. Prepare the shortcrust pastry and place in the refrigerator to cool for 40 minutes.

2. Prepare the custard and let cool, stirring occasionally.

3. Place the pine nuts in water with ice for 30 minutes (so that they won’t burn when you cook them), then dry them with a kitchen towel.

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4. Cut the dough into two pieces, keeping in mind that one pieces should be a bit bigger than the other for the pie crust.

5. Using two pieces of baking paper, roll out the bigger piece of dough (5 mm thickness) to make a tart case with a slightly higher edge. Place the baking paper with the pastry onto the cake tin ( 22 cm wide).

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6. Pierce the pastry with a fork, then fill with the custard.

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7. Roll out a disk of pastry (5 mm thick), then cover the pie and seal the two layers of pastry. Using a pastry cutter, cut and remove the excess pastry, then top with the pine nuts.

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8. Bake at 180° C (356° F) for 40 minutes and let cool.

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9. Place in the fridge for at least an hour, then garnish with icing sugar.

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Torta della nonna.

Tempo di preparazione: 50 minuti + il riposo

Tempo di cottura 40 minuti

Media difficoltà

Ingredienti

Per la frolla (con ingredienti scritti qui, seguite la preparazione di questa ricetta)

350 g farina setacciata

165 g burro

165 g di zucchero

3 tuorli d’uova

un pizzico di sale

1/2 bustina di lievito per dolci

2 gocce di estratto di vaniglia

Per la crema (con gli ingredienti scritti qui, seguite la preparazione di questa ricetta)

1 litro di latte intero

8 tuorli d’uova

140 g di zucchero semolato

90 g farina setacciata

la buccia di un limone grattugiato, non trattato e possibilmente bio

Per decorare

zucchero a velo vanigliato q. b.

100 g di pinoli

Preparazione

1. Preparate la pasta frolla e mettetela in frigo a raffreddare.

2. Preparate la crema pasticciera e lasciatela raffreddare, mescolando di tanto in tanto.

3. Mettete i pinoli in acqua con del ghiaccio per 30 minuti (per evitare di bruciarli durante la cottura), poi asciugateli bene con la carta da cucina.

4. Tagliate la pasta in due, tenendo presente che un pezzo dovrà essere un po’ più grande dell’altro per la base della torta.

5. Stendete il pezzo più grande tra due fogli di carta da forno (lo spessore deve essere di circa 5 mm) , come per fare una crostata con il bordo alto. Aiutandovi la carta da forno, trasferite la sfoglia di pasta su una teglia (larga 22 cm).

6. Bucherellate la frolla con una forchetta e riempite con la crema pasticciera.

7. Stendete un disco con la pasta rimasta (di spessore 5 mm), poi ricoprite la torta e sigillate i bordi. Tagliate la pasta in eccesso e ricoprite la torta con i pinoli.

8. Cuocete in forno a 180° per 40 minuti, poi fate raffreddare.

9. Mettete la torta a rassodare nel frigo per almeno un’oretta.  Prima di servire, decorate con abbondante zucchero a velo.

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Traditional Recipe: Torta Paradiso (Heaven Cake)

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This is a traditional dessert from Genoa, a very delicate, light and soft sponge cake that everybody loves! It reminds me of my childhood: at the time, my mother used to buy this cake from Panarello, one of the best and most famous posh bakeries in town. Panarello’s Torta Paradiso is truly amazing! If you ever come to visit Genoa, I strongly recommend that you try this cake in one of their shops.

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This recipe was inspired by Panarello’s Torta Paradiso (and I assure you, it also gets very close to the real thing), which is slightly more elaborated and delicious than the old Genoese recipe. In the traditional recipe (and by traditional I mean the really old one), you would only use potato starch, the juice of a lemon, eggs, baking powder, sugar and finally, butter, but, only to grease the tin.

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Torta Paradiso.

Ingredients

for a 28 cm in diameter cake

Preparation: 20 minutes

Cooking: 50 minutes

Medium/ Difficult

200 g (7.05 oz) butter, softened

200 g (7.05 oz) icing sugar (and a little more icing sugar to garnish the cake)

100 g (3.5 oz) manitoba flour

100 g (3.5 oz) potato starch

4 egg yolks

3 whole eggs

2 drops of vanilla extract

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1 tablespoon of lemon juice

a pinch of salt

a few drops of almond flavouring

Method.

1. Separate the egg whites from the yolks and put everything aside.

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2. Sift together the flour, the potato starch and the baking powder.

3. Stir the softened butter with the sugar, the almond flavouring and the vanilla extract, until you get a creamy mixture. Then gradually add all the egg yolks into the mixture.

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4. Also add the flour and the starch (but still very gradually). Mix everything well.

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5. Beat all the egg whites with a pinch of salt and a tablespoon of lemon juice, until stiff. Combine the egg whites into the mixture, stirring gently.

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6. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 ° C (356 °F) for at least 50 minutes, using a greased baking dish (with 28 cm in diameter).

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7. When the cake is completely cooled, garnish with plenty of icing sugar.

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Torta Paradiso.

Media difficoltà

Preparazione: 20 minuti

Cottura: 50 minuti

Ingredienti

200 g di burro

200 g di zucchero a velo (e dello zucchero a velo in più per decorare)

100 g di farina manitoba

100 g di fecola di patate

4 tuorli d’uovo

3 uova intere

2 gocce di estratto di vaniglia

un cucchiaio di succo di limone

1 busta di lievito per dolci

un pizzico di sale

qualche goccia di aroma di mandorla

Metodo.

1. Separate gli albumi dai tuorli e mettete tutto da parte.

2. Setacciate e unite la farina alla fecola di patate con il lievito.

3. Amalgamate il burro con lo zucchero, l’aroma di mandorla e l’estratto di vaniglia, fino ad ottenere una crema omogenea. Poi, incorporate gradualmente tutti i tuorli d’uova all’impasto.

4. Aggiungete anche la farina e la fecola (sempre gradualmente). Amalgamate bene tutto.

5. A parte, montate tutti gli albumi a neve con un pizzico di sale e un cucchiaio di succo di limone. Unite gli albumi montati al composto, mescolando delicatamente dal basso verso l’alto.

6. Infornate a forno preriscaldato a 180° C per almeno 50 minuti, utilizzando una teglia imburrata (di 28 cm di diametro).

7. Quando la torta sarà completamente raffreddata, guarnite con abbondante zucchero a velo.

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Traditional Recipe: Focaccia al Formaggio di Recco

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This focaccia al formaggio di Recco (Cheese Focaccia from Recco), is one of the most appreciated dishes we have in Liguria. Many bakeries and pizza places make this amazing focaccia, but only a few really excel in this recipe.

This focaccia is basically made with two almost transparent sheets of pastry, made with flour, olive oil, salt and no yeast. The cheese is then arranged and sealed between the pastry layers. The result should’t be either too oily or dry, the pastry should be crunchy on top and the cheese should be very fresh and creamy in the middle. Sometimes I add milk to the cheese to make it a little extra creamy. But you really have to use only fresh crescenza or stracchino, because no other cheese will taste as good as these cheeses in this recipe!

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The preparation method will requires some care, especially when you roll out the dough to make it thin. Yes, to make a thin layer might be tricky the first few times, however after some practice it will get easier and the pastry thinner.

Focaccia al formaggio di Recco.

Ingredients

For 6 servings

250 g (8.8 oz) plain flour

500 g (17.6 oz) of Italian soft cheese crescenza or stracchino (but you can double this amount, if you want more cheese inside the focaccia)

extra virgin olive oil

freshly ground sea salt

flour for dusting

water

Method.

1. On a work surface or a table, place the flour, then add the salt, 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and enough water to make a soft and smooth dough. Knead well.

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2. Dust the work surface with some flour and roll out the pastry using a rolling pin. Stretch the pastry further with your hands, until you get two almost see-through sheets (careful not to break them).

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3. Place a sheet of pastry on a large baking tray, greased with extra virgin olive oil.  Arrange the cheese (cut into pieces) on top of the pastry, then cover everything with the other sheet of pastry.

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4. Seal the edges of the pastry together, so that the cheese will stay inside when it melts.

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5. Slightly pierce the pastry (only pierce the top layer, not the base). Bake at 200 ° C (392° F) until the pastry is golden and crispy. Salt and serve straight away.

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Focaccia al formaggio di Recco.

Ingredienti

Per 6 persone

250 g di farina 00

500 g di crescenza o stracchino (potete raddoppiare la dose di formaggio, se volete più formaggio dentro la vostra focaccia)

olio extra vergine d’oliva

sale

farina per infarinare la spianatoia

acqua q. b.

Preparazione.

1. Su una spianatoia, disponete la farina a fontana e aggiungete il sale, 2 cucchiai d’olio e l’acqua necessaria per ottenere un impasto omogeneo. Impastate bene tutto.

2. Infarinate la spianatoia e stendete l’impasto con il matterello. Tendete ulteriormente l’impasto con le mani, per ottenere due sfoglie il più sottile possibile (senza romperle).

3. Stendete una sfoglia su una teglia grande, precedentemente unta con 2 cucchiai d’olio. Disponete il formaggio fresco (tagliato a pezzi) sulla sfoglia e ricoprite tutto con la seconda sfoglia.

4. Pressate insieme i bordi delle sfoglie, in modo da sigillare la pasta e non far uscire il formaggio.

5. Bucate leggermente la superficie della pasta, facendo attenzione a non bucare la base della focaccia. Infornate a 200°C, fino ad ottenere una focaccia croccante. Salate e servite subito.

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