Have you ever had torta sbrisolona? It’s one of my favorite after dinner desserts. When the days get longer I love to eat a little bit later and this is the perfect way to end a meal, linger around the table with a good bottle of wine (or two), add your favorite people to the mix and some magic hour light and your golden. I love the idea of something so communal at the end of a meal, you just snap off a piece with your hands, and then proceed to enjoy every bit of buttery crumble on you plate. Its rustic quality is charming.
This week the sun has decided to make an appearance and it’s been glorious. I’ve been tidying up the backyard flowerbeds, tying up the climbing roses which have gone a little wild over the winter and seeding all around the laurels with bee balm, foxglove, larkspur, lupine and phlox just to name a few. All my flower pots have been scrubbed of their moss and patiently awaiting their new annuals with all the bright colors or maybe just all white flowers, I haven’t decided. The quince tree had the most beautiful pale pink blossoms with lots of new growth and soft lambs wool like leaves the color of sage. The vegetable beds are prepped with fresh compost from my chickens and I’m configuring what plants will go where and how much room do I really have for all giant sunflowers I want to plant. The boys and I have spotted a few rabbits hopping about in the early mornings ( Sullivan’s Gulch is known for it’s wild bunnies) and we’re contemplating names. Ryan has been clearing away our side yard and making plans for a beautiful outdoor sauna which will make winter months more bearable in the future. All the hustle and bustle of the season is always so exciting, which leads to the anticipation of summer blooms, vegetables and outdoor dinner with friends or at least a chilled glass of Lillet with a big slice of orange on the back deck.
This torta hales from Mantua, in the northern Italian region of Lombardy. It comes from humble beginnings with simple ingredients and like anything has many variations. I like to use ground almonds in mine with the addition of the zest of a whole lemon. It’s crisp and crumbly, delicious with seasonal fruit on the side and completely unpretentious in appearance. So put together a simple meal with family/friends I would recommend starting with this dish, a side of this. Ending with torta sbrisolna. Whatever you choose you can’t go wrong.
2 sticks of unsalted butter, cubed
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups blanched almonds finely ground
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
zest of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°. Line the bottom of a 10 inch springform pan with parchment paper. Combine the flour, ground almonds, granulated sugar, brown sugar, lemon zest, salt and vanilla. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or by using a food processor until completely incorporated and small clumps form.
Press 2/3 of the mixture into the bottom of the springform pan (does not need to be compact), crumbling the remaining 1/3 on top. Bake for 35 minutes and top is a golden. Cool completely on a wire rack, remove sides of pan to unmold.