Torta Ricciolina

Shredded Pasta-Filled Pastry from Bologna

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Makes

    10 to 12

    servings

Appears in

I first met Margherita Simili, the extraordinary Bolognese baker, over a slice of torta ricciolina when she came to Peter Kump’s New York Cooking School with Marcella Hazan to demonstrate her wonderful specialties several years ago. I marveled at Margherita’s talent and was thoroughly enthralled with her warmth and kindness. The breads and pastries she prepared were of outstanding quality and simplicity, like this pastry filled with shredded pasta dough. See the recipe for Torta di Tagliatelle, for a variation on this theme.

Ricciolina means “curly,” and the curls here are provided by the raw egg-pasta filling, which is sprinkled with a mixture of almonds, sugar, and diced candied citron. The torta is doused with white rum as it emerges from the oven — the hot pastry makes most of the alcohol in the rum evaporate, leaving only its flavor.

This recipe was inspired by Margherita Simili’s, though not based on it.

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Ingredients

    Pasta Frolla

  • cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
  • 1 large egg

    Pasta Dough

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • Pinch salt

    Almond Mixture

  • 1 cup blanched almonds
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup candied citron, diced
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Method

For the pasta frolla, combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Rub in the butter until it is absorbed, making sure the mixture remains cool and powdery and does not become pasty. Beat the egg and stir in with a fork. Continue stirring until the dough holds together, then knead it briefly, just until smooth. Shape into a disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate at least 1 hour, or until firm.

For the pasta dough, place the flour on a work surface and make a well in the center. In the well, mix the egg, egg yolks, and salt. Gradually draw the flour into the egg mixture, adding a little water if the dough is too dry. Knead the dough well and set it aside to rest, covered, about 30 minutes.

While the dough is resting, combine the almonds and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade and reduce to a powder. Add the citron and continue to process until the mixture is very fine.

Divide the pasta dough into 3 pieces, flour them, and pass the pieces, one at a time, through a pasta machine, starting with the widest setting and ending with the next to last. Let the sheets of dough dry for at least 30 minutes on a floured surface.

On a floured surface, roll out the pasta frolla into a 14-inch disk and line a buttered 10-inch layer cake pan with it. Trim off the excess dough at the rim of the pan.

Stack the sheets of pasta dough, roll them up loosely into a cylinder, and shred them finely with a sharp chopping knife, as in the illustration.

Place alternating layers of the tagliatelle and almond mixture on the crust, sprinkling melted butter on the layers. Finish with a layer of the tagliatelle and more melted butter.

Bake the torta at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. Immediately after removing the torta from the oven, sprinkle the surface with the rum. Cool in the pan on a rack. Invert the torta onto a platter, remove the pan, replace with another platter, and reinvert. Dust lightly with the confectioners’ sugar

  • Confectioners’ sugar and 4 tablespoons white rum for finishing
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