Forget everything you know about apple pie. I mean literally everything. Cause this Bustrengo is an apple pie like you haven’t had before.
Bustrengo is a traditional Sammarinese recipe. Wait what? Sammarinese? What the hell is that? Well, my dear readers, this is the first recipe ever that I know about which originally comes from the microstate of San Marino. So yes, I cheated a teensy tiny bit, but the cuisine of the small country is highly similar to that of the Italian region Emilia-Romagna, so that’s my excuse.And Bologna happens to be its capital, and its inhabitants happen to have been making Bustrengo for quite some time as well. Therefore, it’s a Sammarinese and Bolognese recipe (yes, the beautiful city of Bologna does indeed have more in its repertoire than the classic spaghetti sauce). The pie’s batter incorporates one of Italy’s treasured ingredients: Polenta. Combined with regular flour and breadcrums(!) the cake can be quite heavy, just like a Christmas Pudding. So take it easy on the portion sizes.Additionally, adding in dried figs, dried sultanas, and apple makes for a kind of Autumn-like recipe. The recipe even requires you to add orange and lemon zest, which is unusal in apple pies, at least in the Dutch version.
Thus, the Bustrengo seems to disregard all that we know of apple pies. It adds its own lovely flavours to the mix, which is quite exquisite and characteristic for the region its coming from. You could spice it up even more by adding some walnuts, hazelnuts. Or get really wild and use pecans!I would recommend to add the heavier ingredients to the dry part of the batter. This prevents them from sinking while at the same time ensuring that you will have the amazing flavour combination with each bite. Also, the batter is quite prone to create lumps, so keep stirring with a whisk until you have a smooth mixture.The Bustrengo is best served warm. Plain or with a dollop of cream or ice cream, and one of Italy’s great digestifs. More on a fantastic Italian liquor coming up later this month!
Bustrengo - Sammarinese Apple Pie
- 50 grams (1.75 oz) polenta (or corn flour)
- 100 grams (3.5 oz) regular flour
- 50 grams (1.75 oz) breadcrumbs
- 50 grams (1.75 oz) white caster sugar
- 250 ml (9 fl oz) milk
- 2 eggs
- 50 grams (1.75 oz) honey
- 25 ml (1 fl oz) olive oil
- 100 grams (3.5 oz) dried figs
- 100 grams (3.5 oz) sultanas
- 500 grams (1 lb and 2 oz) firm apples
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- zest of 2 lemons
- zest of 2 oranges
- 1 tsp salt
Used kitchen appliances
- Round tin form of about 20 cm (8 inch) diameter
- Baking foil and butter to grease
- Large mixing bowl
- Small mixing bowl
- Optional: tin foil
- Preheat the oven to 200C (390F). Line the tin with the baking foil and grease the sides with the butter.
- In the large mixing bowl, stir the polenta, flour, breadcrumbs, and sugar until combined.
- In another bowl, add the milk, eggs, honey, and olive oil and beat until mixed.
- Chop the figs, peel the apples and roughly dice. Add the figs and raisins to the polenta mixture and stir until coated with the flour. Add the wet mixture to the dry part and whisk until you end up with a smooth batter.
- Proceed to add the apple, cinnamon, citrus zest, and salt. Stir once again.
- Transfer to the baking tin and bake in the oven for about 50 minutes. Keep an eye on the pie as it could brown easily on top, at which point you might want to cover it with tin foil.