Although I never joined her in a glass of Jack Daniels, Marcella Hazan had a great influence over my kitchen. My first Italian cookbook was her The Classic Italian Cookbook: The Art of Italian Cooking and the Art of Italian Eating. When she arrived in the U.S. from Italy as a new bride, Marcella couldn't cook. That talent came out of necessity. Missing her native cuisine and not finding it in the restaurants of New York City, she set about to recreate the dishes from her native land, insisting on only the freshest ingredients. We are the beneficiaries of her effort. Marcella passed away last week at the age of 89. She will live on in the kitchens of homes and restaurants and teach succeeding generations to cook Italian.
Chocolate Amaretti Cake slightly adapted from a recipe by Marcella Hazan
1/2 pound butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
5 eggs at room temperature
1/2 cup flour
10 pairs of amaretti (the 4 ounce pairs wrapped in colorful papers--not the small unwrapped ones) ground to powder form in a food processor
2 ounces of semisweet baking chocolate, finely grated
A 9" round springform pan
1. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
2. One at a time, separate the eggs and beat the yolks into the butter mixture.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour and the ground amaretti. Add to the butter mixture a little at a time beating until thoroughly mixed.
4. Add the grated chocolate, mixing well.
5. Beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Gently stir in 4 Tbsp of the whites to the cake mixture. This will loosen it somewhat. Fold in the remaining egg whites.
6. Butter and flour the baking pan, knocking out the excess flour.
7. Pour the batter into the pan.
8. Bake in the uppermost level of the oven for 1 hour. Start testing for doneness at about 45 minutes. It's done when a toothpick poked in the center comes out clean.
9. Loosen the side of the springform pan. Let it sit to settle a little while.