Blackberries add local flair to Italian crumble cake

  • By Mario Batali McClatchy Tribune Service
  • Tuesday, October 2, 2012 9:54am
  • Life

La torta sbrisolona is a classic crumbly cake from Lombardy, the northern Italian region best known for its capital city, Milan. Sbrisolona is compact and coarse, unlike the layer cakes common in the United States.

The cake gets its name from the verb “sbriciolare,” meaning “to crumble,” for the cake’s most distinctive feature.

I pair the cake with blackberries for an American flair. When I was growing up in the Pacific Northwest, we’d fill the trunk of the family Oldsmobile with buckets of blackberries. This simple sauce brings a moistness and seasonality that perfectly complements this traditional dish.

Save a few pieces for the next day — this is one of those cakes that tastes even better the day after you make it.

Walnut sbrisolona with blackberries

Cake:

2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

8 ounces chopped walnuts

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup finely ground cornmeal

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Grated zest of 1 lemon

3 egg yolks

Blackberry sauce:

3 pints fresh blackberries

Juice of 1 lemon

1 cup sugar

Powdered sugar, for dusting (optional)

1 pint heavy cream

Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Butter the sides and bottom of an 11-inch round cake pan with 2 tablespoons of the melted butter. Cut two strips of parchment paper about 20 inches long and 4 inches wide. Arrange the strips in an X over the bottom of the pan, with the ends hanging over the edges. (These will help to unmold the cake later.)

Combine the walnut pieces, flour, cornmeal and sugar in a food processor, and pulse until the texture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Turn the machine off and add the vanilla, lemon zest, egg yolks and remaining 1/4 cup melted butter. Pulse six times for 3 seconds at a time. It will form a dough that looks like sticky wet sand.

Spoon the “wet sand” into the prepared cake pan as evenly as possible. (It will not look like cake batter, but it will come together as it cooks.) Place the pan in the oven and bake the cake for 1 hour. Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, make the blackberry sauce: Combine the blackberries, lemon juice and sugar in a saucepan, and cook over medium heat until the blackberries break down and form a sauce. Let the sauce cool to room temperature.

Lift the cooled cake out of the pan with the help of the parchment strips, and place it on a serving plate. Dust it with powdered sugar, if using.

Whip the cream in a cold bowl until it forms frosted peaks, and put into a nice serving bowl.

Serve the cake in wedges, with the blackberry sauce and the cream on the side. Serves 8 to 10.

Recipe courtesy of “Molto Batali.”

More in Life

This beefy ex-cop has a delicate hobby: intricate paper-cut art

You can see Tom Sacco’s creations at the upcoming Everett Art Walk.

Kamiak student Aidan Norris (center) drags Matthew Ninh into a scene as Mitchell Beard (left) reads his lines. (Ian Terry / The Herald)
Joy, disappointment at Kamiak High’s ‘Spamalot’ auditions

More than 80 students try out for 45 roles in the outrageous Monty Python musical comedy.

Arlington eagle fest wants your nature-themed artwork, haiku

Local residents of an artistic bent are invited to submit… Continue reading

What’s new for 2018 for travelers in Scandinavia

Sweden, Norway and Finland have embarked on many urban, cultural and transit projects.

Kia Rio subcompact takes a classy step up in 2018

A new design, roomier cabin, and better fuel economy are among the improvements on the 2018 Kia Rio.

Overcome your fear of death, in a book title at least

Three novels about death worth reading at Everett Public Library.

Dolores O’Riordan was lead singer of Irish band The Cranberries

The police force said the death was being treated as “unexplained.”

‘Trump saying something racist isn’t exactly news anymore:’ ‘SNL’

The week’s news was dominated by reports that Trump disparaged Haiti, El Salvador and all of Africa.

Bald eagle no longer listed as ‘sensitive species’ in the state

A recent study found that eagle numbers are strong throughout Washington.

Most Read