In the cake v. pie debate, I’ve always been firmly team pie.
Lately I’ve been swinging team cake, mainly because they seem so daunting and I have had so little practice making them.
I’ve been making a lot of cake recently, and I have been throwing out a lot of cake as well. Despite my best intentions, I can never seem to devour or give away an entire multi-tiered cake— which is probably a good thing.
So here’s where this guy comes in. In Italian, torta means cake, but the word itself is a bit more nuanced than that. It can be sweet, more in the style of an American cheesecake, and it can be savory. Sometimes a torta resembles a flatbread more than anything else.
This torta, “Torta Sbrisolona” resembles a cookie more than anything else, and can be compared to almond shortbread. Here, I have baked it in an 8-inch tart pan, so that it can be cut into wedges and served with cream and the season’s first berries. This recipe is from Dorie Greenspan’s “Dorie’s Cookies”, which just a couple small additions: I have added a bit of amaretto and a just a sprinkling of sugar on top for a bit of extra sweetness and crunch.
This can also be taken a bit further in the oven and crumbled into pieces to be served as a crunchy and nutty topping for ice cream, fruit, and/or cream.
- ¾ cup (102 g) AP Flour
- ½ cup (50 g) Almond Flour
- ⅓ cup (53 g) Yellow Cornmeal
- ⅓ cup (67 g) Sugar
- ½ tsp Sea salt
- 5½ T (78 g) Cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
- 1 ea Large egg yolk, lightly beaten
- 1 T amaretto
- ⅓ cup (50 g) Coarsely chopped raw almonds
- Additional sugar to bake (preferably turbinado or coarse granulated)
- Preheat oven to 325 F
- Butter an 8-inch tart pan, or square baking pan.
- Put all dry ingredients, including sugar, in a food processor and bulse to blend.
- Scatter chunks of cold butter on top of dry ingredients and blend using long pulses.
- Stop pulsing when mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, stop and scrape down as needed.
- Pulse in egg yolk and amaretto, and stop when mixture begins to resemble wet sand. Try not to overwork the dough.
- Turn the dough out into your prepared pan, and press into corners.
- Press chopped nuts into the top and sprinkle with sugar to bake.
- Bake for 34-38 minutes, or until top is a deep golden brown.
- Let torta cool for about 5 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board while warm and cut into pieces if desired.