Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Carmela Soprano's Mom's Pear and Grappa Pound Cake

Okay… there are families.
And then there are families.
Some families are better faced with a bit of lubrication.
In one form or another.

Carmela's Mom is Sicilian.
So were some of my Aunts.
Nobody pulled out a knife or a piece.
But the bottles of wine and liquor were handy.
Just to keep the family lubricated.

Carmela's chapter Feeding My Family in Artie's The Sopranos Family Cookbook 
has a recipe called Mom's Pear and Grappa Pound Cake.
Grappa is Italian brandy… strong brandy.
Yeah, this sounds like something my Aunts would serve the family.

Grappa was served as an after-dinner drink, to help digest heavy meals. 
Some of my Uncles added Grappa to their espresso coffee.
Grappa went well with salted peanuts, pistachio nuts and other relatives.

Canned fruits often vary.
You should have 1 1/4 Cups pears and 1/2 Cup liquid for the batter.
Yes, it's alright to have fruit in its own juice instead of heavy syrup.

To measure: pour 1/2 Cup pear liquid into a 2 Cup measuring cup.
Add chopped pear pieces until the liquid reaches the 1 3/4 Cup line.
Then you'll have just enough liquid and pear slices!

                        Mom's Pear and Grappa Pound Cake

Drain, reserving the liquid
16 ounce can pear halves or slices
Chop into 1/2 inch pieces.

Preheat oven to 350ยบ
Grease a 10-inch Bundt or tube pan
Dust with flour and tap out the excess.

In a medium bowl stir together
3 Cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a large mixer bowl, beat at medium speed
1/2 pound unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 Cups sugar
Beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Add, one at a time
3 large eggs
Beat well after each addition.
Beat in
the reserved pear liquid
3 Tablespoons Grappa, rum, or brandy
1 teaspoon vanilla
The batter will look curdled.  That's okay.

Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture.
Scrape the sides as necessary, and beat until blended, about 1 minute.
With a spatula, stir in the chopped pears.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes.
The edge of the cake should pull away from the pan's sides.
A toothpick inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean.
Place the pan on a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes.
Invert the cake onto the rack and remove the cake from the pan.
Let cake cool completely on the rack.

Before serving, dust with
Confectioners' sugar

Would I make Carmela's Mom's Pear and Grappa Pound Cake again?
With relatives coming?  Oh, yeah.
And I'd keep the bottles and nut dishes handy.
The booze goes well with the nuts... and relatives.

One recipe down.  Fifteen more to go.


  1. I can’t wait to try this. I’m watching sopranos now and episode 1 season 2 and I just watched the part where Carmella’s mom is making the cake and I was thinking....hmmm... I wonder if that recipe is online ๐Ÿ˜ sure enough I found your page! Thanks for posting this. You are awesome!!

    1. Hi, Tiffany!
      Glad I could help :)
      Wishing you happy holiday season!

  2. Ditto. I am watching it now and thought I will google that... Now I am going to make it!!! THANK YOU!!!๐Ÿ˜Ž

  3. I am binge watching season 2 of the Sopranos today on HBO and I also wanted the recipe for her mothers cake, thank you! Do you think a glaze would work on this cake or would it be too much? So glad to find your blog, I am turning 60 this year and I wasn't really looking at it as an adventure with lots of possibilities. Goes to show that perception and outlook are everything. Thanks again๐Ÿ’–

    1. Happy to meet you - I'm so glad you found my blog! Welcome to a time to explore new adventures!
      Being 60 now isn't the way it was for our grandmothers, so just take care of your health and make the most of it :)
      There are all sorts of glazes, so some would work and some wouldn't. I think a basic one would be fine.
      Happy New Year ๐Ÿ’–


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