Torta Sbrisolona

Crumb Cake from Mantua

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Preparation info

  • Makes about


    • Difficulty


Appears in

Great Italian Desserts

By Nick Malgieri

Published 1990

  • About

A large cookie/cake like Fregolotta Trevigiana, the sbrisolona is a great specialty of Mantua’s. Rows and rows of them can be found in every food and souvenir store, tightly wrapped in plastic and waiting to be swept away by eager tourists. I found tasting the tourist version a sorry experience — the label proudly proclaimed that it was made with pure vegetable shortening!

This version of the sbrisolona is one I worked out after tasting several in Mantua. The texture is crisp and crumbly, and the almonds add extra crunch.


  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • teaspoon salt
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup whole, unblanched almonds


Beat the butter with the sugar and salt, either by hand, with a hand mixer set at medium speed, or in a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the paddle. Continue beating until the mixture is soft and smooth, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour, then the almonds, to make a very crumbly mixture.

Butter a 9- or 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom and press the mixture gently into it, making sure the top is fairly smooth.

Bake the sbrisolona at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes, until it is a light gold and fairly dry. Cool in the pan on a rack. Unmold onto a platter and serve with tea, coffee, or a glass of sweet wine.

Store at room temperature, tightly wrapped in plastic.