“Two good hands are the only tools you need to make this cake”
Torta Sbrisolona is a traditional dessert from Mantova, a beautiful city located in the heart of Emilia-Romagna, an Italian region known world-wide for its culinary tradition. The name “Sbrisolona” derives from the word “brise” which means “crumbs” in the local dialect. Over the centuries, this recipe was “adopted” and personalized by different cities of this region. The recipe I propose here is the one given by my grandmother who is a baker and taught me most of what I know about cooking.
– 14 oz of all purpose flour (400g)
– 2 large eggs
– 10 oz of sugar (300g)
– 7 oz of unpeeled almond (200g)
– 6.8 oz of unsalted butter (200g)
– a pinch of salt
– 3 liquid oz (75ml) of Amaretto liquor (or Sassolino or Mandorla Amara)
Preheat the oven to 350F (180C). Butter and flour a spring form (10 inches – 26cm). Don’t use a smaller spring form otherwise the mix will be too thick and will not cook in the middle. The mix should be 1.5 inches (4cm) thick or less. Cut the butter in small pieces and leave it out to soften. Start with cutting the almonds with a knife and not with a food processor; you want to have large almond pieces.
In a large bowl mix the flour, the sugar and the butter which now should be soft enough; if it is not, heat it up in the microwave for not more than 10 seconds. Work the flour, sugar and butter mix with your hands and then add the almonds. You don’t want a uniform mix but, as the recipe is called, you want crumbs. You should have something like this.
With your hands crumble the mix into the spring form and bake until golden brown. The baking time may vary according to the oven you have, but it will approximately take an hour.
When the cake is ready and still very hot, sprinkle the Amaretto on top which will give it that extra “almondy” flavor.
Voila’! The Sbrisolona is ready. Let it cool down completely before tasting it. As the tradition calls for, this cake should be “cut” by hands in order to have irregular pieces. Also, as the cake is supposed to be dry, a perfect way to accompany it is by dipping it in some Amaretto or a dessert wine such as Malvasia or Passito di Pantelleria.
Enjoy and stay tuned for the next yummy recipe!