Caffelatte is what Italians of all ages have for breakfast at home. For small children it is a cupful of warm milk lightly stained with coffee, the ratio of coffee to milk increasing with one’s years. It is often accompanied by some store-bought biscuits, but not in my assistant Nadia’s family. She lives on her father’s farm outside Venice with her husband and small boy, and for her son Tommaso she bakes wholesome cakes with fresh fruit. He has some with his caffelatte and takes another piece to school to eat for merenda, recess.
I was particularly taken with the cake Nadia makes when there is no more summer fruit on the farm. She uses pears and apples and always adds a banana she buys in town. The proportions of one fruit to another may vary, and indeed Nadia says they always do, but nothing much can go wrong or affect the cake’s plainspoken, engagingly fresh taste.
© 1997 Marcella Hazan estate. All rights reserved.