December 2, 2023 | Rome, Italy

Apples of memory

By |2018-03-21T19:06:57+01:00July 28th, 2015|"In Provincia"|
Remembrance of things past...

ife too often seems like the sum of its losses and separations. So many things we hoped in youth would last forever are gradually consumed by time’s wear and tear. So many of our beloved sail away into a dimension we can’t reach. Maybe they slip into the past or gain admittance to the future. We won’t know it until it’s our turn.

Yesterday I lost someone beloved to me. She was 90 and among the sweetest humans I have ever met.

I’m sad but confronted with inevitable reality that all the people one loves are bound to go. The causes can be age, disease, betrayal, though at times there’s really no reason at all. Yet loss is a constant.

This, of course, is a basic problem of human existence: we have something, we have someone, and then we don’t.

The dilemma and its riddles are too large to solve. I find consolation in memories. In the kindness and joy that was once exchanged.

When I miss someone I go back to moments we shared, often around a dinner table, which to me is the place where some of life’s simples and deepest pleasures reside.

Memories, fortunately, are ours to keep.

Dutch apple tart (Serves 8)

  • 250 g of 00 (or pastry) flour.

  • 150 g sugar.

  • 125 g butter.

  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder.

  • 1 egg.

  • 3 apples, diced and mixed with 2 tablespoons of sugar.

  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon powder.

  • 3 tablespoon of raisins previously soaked with a tablespoon of lemon juice.


— Toss the apples with the cinnamon and raisins and let them sit for about an hour to absorb the flavors.

— Whisk the egg in a small bowl. In a food processor briefly mix flour, butter, sugar, baking powder until most of the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 2 minutes.

— Stir in about half of the whisked egg and blend until the mixture forms gets doughy (about a minute). It’s critical not to overheat the butter in the dough, so do not overwork it.

— Roll the dough into a 1/2 cm (1/4 inch) thin disk and transfer into a buttered tart pan, making a casing with the shallow sides. Spread the diced apples over the pastry case.

— With lightly floured hands roll the rest of dough into several 1 cm (1/2 inch) thick cylinders. Carefully arrange the dough cylinders over the tart in an open lattice pattern.

— Using a brush, glaze the lattice with the rest of the whisked egg.

— Preheat oven to 180C/350F and then bake the apple pie in middle of the oven for about 45 minutes, or until the lattice is golden. Cool the pie in the pan on a rack.

Eat, rejoice, remember.

About the Author:

Letizia Mattiacci wrote the "In Provincia" column from 2011 through 2019.