My series on Regional Italian food is back! Finally! Today’s recipe comes from the region I was born in: Lombardy and more precisely from the beautiful town of Mantova. This area is a culinary heaven… but then again, what part of Italy isn’t? I have already shared with you the recipes for Mostarda Mantovana and Tortelli di Zucca, both native of this town and today I am posting the recipe for a very famous cake: Sbrisolona. This cake is very simple and so good. Like the majority of traditional Italian food, it has its roots in the land where it was created and uses what were known as “poor” and “local” ingredients. In this case, cornmeal (the one used to make polenta) is added to the white flour as it was cheaper and more easily available. The name “Sbrisolona” comes from the local dialect and it means “crumbly”… as this cake is really crumbly. It is more like a huge almond cookie…. The cookie monster would love it and so do I! When I was a child in Milan, this cake would often be bought at the local bakeries to share with friends and family at any get together. It is so easy to make, that I now bake it myself and my girls like it so much that it never lasts too long! I hope you like it just as much!
- 200 gms – 7 oz. all purpose flour
- 200 gms – 7 oz. cornmeal, finely ground
- 150 gms – 5.5 oz. blanched almonds
- 200 gms – 7 oz. sugar
- 1 lemon zest, grated
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 2 egg yolks
- 100 gms – 3.5 oz. lard (or butter)
- 100 gms – 3.5 oz. butter
- Roughly chop the blanched almonds and mix them with the all purpose flour and cornmeal.
- Add all the remaining ingredients and mix with your hands until roughly combined (it will be a crumbly mixture, so don’t panic!).
- Transfer to a greased tart pan. Do not press the mixture down as you want it to be crumbly.
- Garnish with the unblanched almonds.
- Bake in a pre heated oven at 180°C – 355°F for 1 hour.
- When ready, let it cool down, then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of sugar.
- Break it with your hands to serve.