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Santo Stefano & Upside Down Apple Pie

Posted in Abruzzo, Caro Diario.(dear diary..), cucina, entertaining, Features, Holidays, and recipes

torta_mela_rovesciata_ssl.jpg The day after Christmas was the feast of Santo Stefano. In Abruzzo, what is known as the traditonal cement of Santo Stefano- arrived and covered much of the region..the snow that is.


The eating feasts were still continuing. I had two ‘pranzi’ to get to and decided to eat the first and second course at the first pranzo (luncheon) and then ate desserts and fresh fruit at the second. The only way this could have worked out.


The evening was (brrrrrr) very cold and the traditional ‘mercato’ went off without a hitch since snow in this mountain town is a usual occurrence during the winter Holidays and always to be expected.


But the festa still continues and the eating feasts continue now till January 6th.


But holidays are always very interesting since many of the residents of this town return for a day or two to visit family and friends during the Holidays. Although many residents, after graduation, leave to pursue their careers in Rome or Milan ,they still miss the quiet and the traditional things that still exist here..the central place that we all know as the piazza. A place where you can catch up with friends that you have not seen for years.


Last night, my better half ran into two of his friends from high school that he had not seen for many years. One has moved to Rome, but told us that he missed the piazza here..a place that you can come to relive memories with friends from the past. Not everyone understands this small town tradition, the piazza, the camaraderie it provides.


It is like a constant in your life..something comforting that you can always be sure of. Even if you move far can be sure that if you go to the piazza at 6:30PM (before dinner) or 10 PM (after dinner) there is usuallly someone to catch up may even find someone that wants to catch a movie or grab a cup of coffee or get a pizza..


Some former residents miss this so much that they drag their spouses back, even if just for Holidays , to experience this with them..and some don’t appreciate this or understand this evidenced last night.


A man who had since moved and settled into big city life in Rome and Milan with his wife, had insisted on coming back to visit family and friends and going to the piazza for a few nights to catch up with old friends..However, he announced that his wife just left him without his car, house keys and returned to their house in Rome.

She had announced that if he was not back by 4 PM she was leaving for their house in Rome..alone… and alone he was also. They were staying with his family so he has a bed to sleep in but a way to get back to Rome was his only concern as he tried to make train reservations by cell phone while reminiscing with friends in the piazza.


Not everyone understands or appreciates this old world…. laid back…. style of life and camaraderie..still being able to lose yourself in the conversation of old friends and chatter about nothing important or maybe being able to philosophize about the state of the country or the world or rising gas prices or what your plans are for Capo D’anno (New Year’s).. nothing that will change the world or change your life for that matter..just something that you can always be certain of in this uncertain world..a meeting place filled with friends..

Anyway, here is a fun ,easy to make dessert. The apples are great this time of year and even though we have many desserts left over from holiday get togethers I usually try to make this for an informal get together with friends. Happy Holidays..

Torta Rovesciata alle Mele

(Upside Down Apple Cake)


  • 1 ½ cups flour

  • 4 ounces butter-softened

  • ½ cup sugar

  • 1 egg yolk

  • 3 fresh apples (granny smith)


Place 2 ounces of softened butter in bowl with flour,1 tbsp sugar and egg yolk. Blend. Add in ½ cup cold water. Mix together with hands. When dough is smooth consistency, place in aluminum foil. Leave in refrigerator for 30 minutes.


Preheat oven to 360 degrees. Peel apples and thinly slice. In small sauce pan, caramelize remaining butter with remaining sugar over low heat. Remove from heat just before butter turns golden brown. Pour butter mixture into pie pan, arrange apples on top.

Roll out dough to make pie crust. Place crust on top of apples. Bake in oven for 40 minutes. Remove from oven.

When cooled invert pie pan onto serving dish toll pie comes out. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream or small scoop of vanilla gelato.

Mangia Bene, Vivi Bene


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Designed by Brian Hanshaw

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