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Torta di Ceci – Tuscan street food

July 19, 2012

Tuscan street food, Pigling Bland style

Torta di Ceci is a chickpea pancake particularly popular in the Tuscan town of Livorno. I’ll hold my hands up and admit that I have never been to Italy, so I have never tasted the real thing, but I’ve trawled the web for pictures and various recipes and this is my take on it. As always, it has a PiglingBland-style forced adaptation due to the supermarket being sold out of chickpea flour. So, if you make this, use all chickpea flour if at all possible.

In Tuscany it would be served in a focaccia bun and known as Cinque e Cinque as it’s 5 cents of Torta and 5 cents of bread. I’ve chosen to serve it in its own right with balsamic roasted tomatoes, basil and parmesan, all twisted up in greaseproof paper to keep to its street-food heritage. The best bits are the crunchy edges.

Why have I suddenly had the desire to make this? Well, “I want to win a week in one of your Tuscany villas”  Oh, you don’t have one? That’s ok because To Tuscany do and they are running a competition to win a week in one. As mentioned above, I have NEVER BEEN TO ITALY <violins out> hence this post. But wait, bear with me, for while this seems like a very self serving post it has actually opened up a world of Tuscan street food to me. Can’t be a bad thing, surely? It’s blogger challenges and competitions like this which push me to try things that I would never think to otherwise. If you like the look of it, or you’re just a kind hearted soul, do vote for this recipe here.

<added later> My Italian consultant and his mum tell me that I should call this Torta Integrale since it is wholemeal flour rather than chickpea (Ceci)

Balsamic roasted tomatoes, basil and parmesan filling

Torta di Cici (Pigling Bland Style) aka Torta Integrale

150g wholemeal plain flour + 50g plain flour (or 200g chickpea flour)
200ml water
2 tbsp olive oil
a good handful of fresh rosemary, roughly chopped
plenty of black pepper

Measure out the flour and slowly whisk in the water until the mixture is smooth
Mix in the olive oil, rosemary and a good grinding of salt and pepper
Put in the fridge for at least 30 mins, though many recipes say that only overnight will do
While it is in the fridge, put a large baking tray with low sides in the oven and set it to as hot as it will go. You can also roast your tomatoes (sprinkled with brown sugar, oil and balsamic vinegar) at this point if you are using them as a filling.
After the batter has rested it should be the consistency of single cream.
Take the tray out of the oven and put 1 tbsp of olive oil in it, making sure the base is coated.
Now pour the batter in. It should be no more than 3mm deep.
Cook for 15 mins or until going crispy around the edge and set all the way through.

Serve as you wish – in bread, with fillings, tearing off the crunchy bits….it up to you

A rosemary pancake with crispy edges

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 21, 2012 10:36 am

    I LOVE Torta di Ceci and I am bookmarking this page to try to make your recipe! IT looks amazing and just the sort of food we like to eat when we are at our French house for the summer!

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