Sbrisolona – The Yummy Traditional Crumbly Italian Almond Tart

Before we officially moved to Italy, my husband brought a Sbrisolona back with him on one of his commuter trips. I instantly fell in love with it and all its almondy deliciousness.

After arriving in Italy, I took a cooking class with some friends. I was delighted to see Sbrisolona on the menu and even happier to learn how simple it is to make. Sbrisolona is perfect in the morning with an espresso or cappuccino, but also a lovely end to your meal at night with some sweet dessert wine.

The History
Created around the 16th century in the Northern Italian countryside, near Mantua, Sbrisolona was a popular dessert among poor families. In order to save money, they would prepare the tart by mixing cornmeal, hazelnuts and lard.

Although made with inexpensive ingredients, Sbrisolona began to appear on the tables of the noble families of Mantua, including the Gonzaga family.

In the noble households, the recipe was enriched with more expensive ingredients using sugar, spices and almonds, without moving too far away from the original characteristics of the dessert.

According to tradition, this hard, yet crumbly, dessert should be broken into pieces and eaten with one’s hands.

The Recipe
Preparation – 10 minutes
Cooking – 20 – 25 minutes depending on your oven

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ lb all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ lb butter
  • 1 lb granulated sugar
  • 4 oz egg yolks
  • ½ oz baking powder
  • lemon zest, grated
  • 1 ¾ oz almonds
  • ⅞ lb cornmeal

Method

  • Blend all ingredients together on a table or work-surface.
  • Mix all the ingredients together to obtain a pastry dough.
  • Crumble the dough into a greased pie pan.  Do not press the dough together, let it remain crumbled.  The knack lies in preparing all the ingredients by crumbling them. Do not let the mass become homogeneous.

Optional – Arrange almonds on top of the crumbled mix.

Bake in a preheated oven at 360°F for 20 -25 minutes depending on your oven.

This yummy dessert can be served at brunch, for dessert, at bookclub or at a work function. It is great with coffee or dessert wine. Versatile, light and full of flavor, it will not disappoint.

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