www.girlfriendinacoma.eu it’s a blog and it is also a film now. (The film is actually named after a song by the Smiths). It’s written and directed by two Italy lovers. Bill Emmott who also writes “Forza, Italia: Come Ripartire Dopo Berlusconi” (Courage, Italy: how to start again after Berlusconi). The book was rewritten, updated and expanded for publication in English as “Good Italy, Bad Italy” in 2012. And Annalisa Piras, Italian, she left Italy in 1993 but she still feels like she can do something to change to future of our beautiful country.
At CASA MIA, a few days ago, we had dinner – as always, it’s all about food around here! – with some Italian friends and because of the recent elections and because of this documentary, we started talking about our country and how much we miss it. Girlfriend in a Coma basically explores Italy’s political, economic and social decline over the past 20 years, finding “a moral collapse unmatched anywhere else in the West”. When asked why he decided to film this documentary, Bill Emmott answered “It is called Girlfriend in a Coma, echoing the 1980s song by The Smiths – which, I confess, had passed me by – to convey that the country with which I have become enamoured has knocked itself out for the past 20 years and needs waking up.” Which is exactly how we, Italians abroad, feel like our beloved country. Sadly enough, speaking to Italians who still live in Italy and have never lived abroad, we realise that a true understanding of the nature of Italy’s problems and of what needs to happen – a kind of cultural revolution – has not begun yet, there is still a sense of denial and a sense of resistance to the full reality of what is happening in Italy.
We live abroad dreaming of coming back one day. Craving for authentic Pizza and Suppli’ and longing for a lunch break under the sun. But it cannot be only all about sunshine and food. So here we are, happy to give our kids the opportunity to build their own life in the best possible way.
To make life happier, I bake this very easy tart – it takes a bit of time and patience but it is very easy:
Pears and Chocolate Tarte
275 gr plain flour
150 gr butter
5 boiled egg yolks
75 gr icing sugar
1 vanilla pod
300 gr chocolate 80%
200 gr whipping cream
40 gr butter
2 egg yolks
500 ml water
250 gr sugar
1 stick cinnamon
Juice of ½ lemon
Turn the oven on at 180°.
Sieve the flour (if you have potato flour sieve together 200 gr of white flour and 75 gr of potato flour).
Add the vanilla seeds to the flour.
Using butter at room temp, in a round bowl, cream the butter with the icing sugar.
Boil the eggs and sieve the boiled egg yolks.
Add the yolks to the creamy butter, by inclusion.
When all the eggs are incorporated, add the flour by inclusion and work down your dough shaping it into a ball.
Cling film it and rest it in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
In the meanwhile, cook the pears.
Peel and cut them in quarters. Then, coat them in lemon juice to prevent discolouring.
In a large shallow pan over medium heat, cook the water with sugar together with the cinnamon stick and the pears.
Let the mixture stew until the pears are cooked through.
When ready, drain them from the water and let them cool to room temperature before covering in plastic wrap and transferring to the refrigerator.
When the dough has rested, roll out the pastry until the dough is around 3-4 mm thick, and 3 fingers wider than the tart mould.
Dot the dough and, rolling the dough onto the rolling pin, lay it into the shape of the mould.
Cut a piece of cling film larger than the tart shell, place it in the cavity and fill it with baking beans (ceramic or dry ones). Bake the tart shell until the dough is cooked but not colored.
Remove the baking bean and keep cooking until it is all golden throughout.
Finally, prepare the chocolate ganache. This has to be ready when the tart is ready.
On a Bain Marie, melt the chocolate.
Heat the cream in a saucepan over a low heat, waiting for the chocolate to be ready.
Remove the pan from the heat, pour a bit of cream in the chocolate bowl, mix it and put everything together back again in the cream pan.
Whisk the mixture until smooth.
Add the butter and the broken yolks.
Set aside to cool down a little bit.
Pour the ganache into the tart and lay the pears to decor.
Rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving.