Leontina's Coal-Covered Cake
A few years ago, my friend Don Remo and I began to research
the country culture of the Castiglione del Lago area. We
went around visiting many families, particularly those where
there were older people who could tell us stories and anecdotes
from the past. One evening, we went for dinner at Primo
and Leontina's house. They told us many stories and made
us a special cake cooked under the fireplace ashes and coals.
Leontina made a dough out of flour and water with a pinch
of salt and brewer's yeast. When the dough had risen, she
prepared a schiacciata (a special flat cake) and in the
large fireplace where there was already a nice fire going
and many coals, she carefully cleaned a spot under the coals.
She placed the schiacciata on it and covered it with the
hot ashes and coals.After about 40 minutes, the schiacciata
was pulled out from the ashes. If only you could smell the
delicious aroma! Primo then cut it into two with a knife
and stuffed it with some slices of pancetta. I'll leave
you to imagine how delicious it was!! Now that salted lard
is popular again, try to picture that schiacciata fresh
from under the ashes, so hot you couldn't even hold it,
stuffed with slices of pancetta.