Simplified ‘torta’-A A +A
Pots and Pans
Thursday, August 22, 2013
A VERY popular word in the culinary field that can be Spanish, Italian, Portugese, Mexican (and other Latin American countries) and even Pinoy, which basically can mean breads or cakes.
However in the European countries, it can be the Italian ‘torta,’ German ‘torte’ or French ‘tarte.’
In the Philippines, we have two meanings for this.
In the Northern part (Luzon), ‘torta’ would mean a dish made of eggs, meat, onions and potatoes, while in the Vizayas and Mindanao area, this would mean a soft cake which is bigger than a cupcake made with flour, eggs, coconut sap, shortening, sugar and milk.
But since we are but one, they are used interchangeably but with a totally different result.
One is sweet, the other is savory. Here, we will take a look into the “dessert” torta.
A very fashionable and well-liked piece during fiestas, weddings and grand celebrations especially in the rural areas for so long a time, it is coming back with a vengeance.
I remember getting this well-loved torta during my summer vacations in Cagayan de Oro and Mambajao, Camiguin, in particular.
The merriest month of May comes with so many fiestas in Camiguin that it was virtually a non-stop eating and “sharing” of friend’s superb home-cooked dishes, raw pork, ‘suman,’ ‘bibingka’ and torta!
And if we can’t make it to their celebration, we are sure to receive these edible “gifts” the following day. Talk about sharing in the olden times (sigh!).
Torta is best made with the coconut sap which imparts a raw sweetness, plus the fact that only “pork” lard is used makes it more interestingly delicious!
There were no refrigerators then, but it somehow lasts for a week, even more.
And to think they never used any chemical preservative of sort. And yet, they stay fresh.
So many memories are evoked when I think of this piece of old-fashioned torta, topped generously with “queensland” butter and shredded cheese, sprinkled with sugar, sliced into 4 equal parts that disappears as fast as it is set on the table!
We used to keep them in a native basket that is covered with lots of banana leaves, which could also include the suman, bibingka, and other native kakanins.
Mind you, it doesn’t take long for all these goodies to disappear.
It is perfect for breakfast, ‘sera gana’ or snacks all day long that goes extremely well with home-made Camiguin “sikwate.”
Below is the recipe minus the coconut sap for easier preparation.
2 ½ cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
½ cup pork lard or shortening
¼ cup softened butter
12 pcs. egg yolks
1 ¼ cups sugar
3/4 cups milk
½ tsp. anise powder or
1 tbsp vanilla
Butter for brushing
Shredded cheese for topping
How to prepare:
Mix all dry ingredients together.
Beat shortening and butter together, add sugar.
Slowly add the egg yolks till creamy.
Alternately add the flour mixture with the milk.
Mix in the anise powder or vanilla.
Transfer batter to molds lined with “papel japon” ¾ full.
Bake in 350 degree oven till golden brown.
Cool. Brush with butter, sprinkle with cheese & sugar.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 22, 2013.