Fresh Fruit Charlotte, Lorenza de’ Medici’s Special Cake.

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Throughout the nineties, which seems like yesterday, I was in love with Lorenza de’ Medici. It wasn’t so much her recipes that inspired me: I wanted to live in her house! I acquired all of her cookbooks at great expense and learnt Italian, a necessary step if I were to become the new proprietress of Badia a Coltibuono. It was a wonderful fantasy. One of the desserts I made during that era came from her glossy coffee table book ‘The Renaissance of Italian Cooking’. I had completely forgotten about this sweet until I recently found the book again at a second-hand store. ( all my cookbooks were lost in 2009 ). The original  price was  $49.00 but this week’s price was $3.99.  I love people who discard their cookbooks, I have re-filled my shelves with cheap treasure.  I made my special dessert again this Sunday and relived all my Italian fantasies. It is back on the top of my favourite dolce list.Image

Charlotta Di Frutta

For the Short pastry.

  • 350 g plain flour
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 125 g sugar
  • 225 g butter
  • pinch of  salt

For the filling

  • 1 orange
  • 300 g blood plums
  • 1 kg apples
  • 225 g sugar
  • grated peel of 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbsp Marsala
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 vanilla pod ( optional)Image

Method

  1. Prepare the short crust pastry. Place the dry ingredients in the food processor, add the butter, process, then the egg yolks, until mixed and formed into a ball. ( you can do this by hand if you prefer). Roll or press into a flat slab, wrap in cling wrap and let rest in the fridge for an hour or so.
  2. Meanwhile, make the filling. Grate the orange peel and reserve. Peel the orange, removing any pith, and divide into segments. Peel the plums and apples and cut into pieces. Cook the fruit together with the sugar, lemon and orange peel, Marsala, cloves and vanilla pod for 20 minutes, uncovered, over low heat.
  3. Butter and flour a 25 cm springform pan. Roll out two-thirds of the pastry to line the base and sides of the pan. Fill with the cooled cooked fruit and cover with the remaining pastry, rolled out thinly. Cook in a preheated oven at 180 degrees c /350 f for 45 minutes. Let cool before removing from the pan. Dust with icing sugar,and serve at room temperature with cream Serves 8-10.

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Note: this pastry is VERY short, requiring some patching do be done here and there. Despite this frustration, it is worth the effort and will still taste and look lovely.

This post is for Marcel, the boy who appreciates good food!

19 thoughts on “Fresh Fruit Charlotte, Lorenza de’ Medici’s Special Cake.”

  1. The 90s was Lorenza’s decade, and Marcella Hazan’s too. I think Italian cooking and recipe books reached their height during that era. It is an intriguing filling.

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  2. Looks awesome. I had a slice of very similar looking apple ‘pie’ in a small town in Scotland one time and I will forever remember how wonderful it was. I’ll bet yours is just as lovely.

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  3. I have some of her cookbooks too and I acquired them many years ago at a huge price. They’re beautiful to look at an lovely to read. This pie looks amazing and VERY Italian xx

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  4. Wow, this sounds delicious. I’d love to have you nominate one of your favourite Lorenza de’ Medici cookbooks for us to explore for The Cookbook Guru. 🙂

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