Un dimanche à la campagne

Lemon tree in Sant’Angelo in Lizzola

One of my favourite movies is Bertrand Tavernier’s Un dimanche à la campagne (A Sunday in the Country) where – apparently – nothing happens: an old painter, his son paying him a visit with his wife and three children, his unpredictable daughter, memories from the past, the passing of time… The film’s characters enjoy each other’s company, making the most of their short time together

Making the most of our time together: this is what my family and I did last Sunday, in our country-house, close to Sant’Angelo in Lizzola, a little country village not far from Pesaro dating back to the Middle Ages where cats tiptoe around and the elderly, sitting in front of the main bar, stare shamelessly at you trying to figure out who the hell you are.

Making the best of your time in Italy, my dear ideal traveller: that is what I would like to offer you.

Bees drinking from the fish basin, white acacia flowers spreading their sweet smell upon the air, elder flowers, ripe wild strawberries in the slopes, roses and periwinkles, the outlines of the surrounding hills, apricot and peach trees everywhere, fig and cherry trees, strawberries and salad in the garden and a freshly baked crostata (see recepie below).

A view from the country house in Sant’Angelo

In my first post (A view from the heart) I invited you, my ideal traveller, to discover the real Italy with me. If you were here I would certainly take you to Urbino, the well-known Renaissance city, but I would not make a bee-line for it from Pesaro, my home-town. No shortest road. I would rather have you stop in Sant’Angelo, drink a coffee in the square bar where the elder people would shamelessly stare at you (so rude but so typical of little communities where “the stranger” must be studied)  and have you taste my mother’s splendid apricot crostata. And, if you were in the mood for it, my mother could even share her tips with you.

Crostata (according to my mother)

  • Flour: 300 grams
  • Sugar: 150 grams
  • Butter: 150 grams
  • 2 eggs
  • Lemon peel
  • 1 vanilla sachet

The procedure is very easy. All you need is a long wooden spoon (and no little kids around!)

Warm the butter, then move the soft butter into a terrine and add the other ingredients, one at a time,  while stirring. Place the mixture into a round baking pan (not all of it – save a little to garnish the pie) and make little dots using a fork (to prevent the cake from puffing up). Then spread the home-made apricot jam on it (if you don’t have any I can send you one!) and garnish the pie with the rest of the mixture (my mother usually makes a round border and a flower in the centre but you can venture in more fanciful creations!). Place the cake into the oven (the oven must be already heated up before sticking the cake into it – for those of you who are used to cooking it will be a useless advice but I still remember baking my first cake placing the pan into a cold oven and then wondering why it would not either look or taste good!). 30/40 minutes in the oven at a temperature of 180° (Celsius). The crostata gives its best if you eat it warm (usually it’s finished before it has a chance of getting cold)

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