This comes from Italy courtesy of Carlotta. In the forum I frequent she provides us with some wonderful regional recipes. This is so quick and simple but the texture and flavour is just wonderful. She tells us ‘ This is a very crumbly cake from Mantua. It’s very good eaten with a warm zabaglione or mascarpone cream or while drinking a nice glass of wine….’ No culinary tour of Italy is complete without a visit to Mantua. This gastronomic haven is the home of pumpkin tortelli, slow-cooked sauces and some of Italy’s finest restaurants. In a historical context, Mantua gained its fame in Roman times as the home town of Virgil, born around 70BC. This former capital of the Gonzaga dukes, who ruled Mantua for three centuries, is one of the most atmospheric old cities in the country.
100 gr flour
100 gr fine polenta flour (in Italy it’s called “fioretto”)
100 gr sugar
100 gr butter, softened
100 gr almonds, coarsely ground, not bleached
1 egg yolk
grated zest of 1 lemon
pinch of salt
1 small glass of grappa (or sambuca)
Preheat the oven to 170°
In a large bowl hand mix the flour,sugar, salt,polenta flour and butter.
It must look like crumble, a bit like mixing sweet pastry…
Add the almonds,lemon zest,egg yolk and grappa
and mix lightly.
By now you should have a crumbly dough
Put it into a 26 cm tin in an uneven fashion (don’t panic, it will spread while cooking….)and put on it some whole almonds.
Bake until it’ golden,+/- 30 minutes.
Let it cool and sprinkle with sugar (optional)
It keeps well, that is to say if you can resist eating it immediately, in an airtight container
Don’t cut it with a knife but break it with hands.
I did not have grappa or sambuca but used amaretto which was lovely.
I marked it in squares when I removed it from the oven and it broke apart very easily in an orderly sort of fashion.