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.
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
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
Bake the fregolotta in the middle level of a preheated
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.
© 1990 Nick Malgieri. All rights reserved.