Fregolotta Trevigiana

Crumb Cake from Treviso

In Treviso, near Venice, there is a tradition of crumb cakes like this fregolotta and Torta Sbrisolona of Mantua. There are many documented versions of the fregolotta, some actually sponge cakes containing ground nuts. This variation is a simple one, a sort of giant cookie meant to accompany a cup of coffee or tea.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole, unblanched almonds
  • ½ cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 scant cup sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Method

Place the almonds in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade and pulse repeatedly to grind them coarsely, leaving the largest pieces about inch across.

Combine all the remaining ingredients except the butter in a mixing bowl. Add the almonds and stir to mix with a rubber spatula. Stir in the melted butter with the spatula so that all the dry ingredients are evenly moistened with it.

Using both hands, rub the mixture between your palms to make crumbs, the largest of which should be about ¼ inch across.

Butter a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom or a 9-inch glass pie plate. Scatter three-fourths of the mixture in the pan or plate and press very lightly with your fingertips to compress the mixture. Scatter the remaining crumbs on top without pressing them down.

Bake the fregolotta in the middle level of a preheated 350-degree oven for about 25 minutes, until the fregolotta is a light golden color and baked through.

Cool the fregolotta in the pan or plate on a rack. If using the tart pan, remove the sides and slide the fregolotta off the pan base onto a platter. If using the pie plate, leave it in the plate.

Store the fregolotta loosely covered at room temperature.

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