Torta di Pane

(Bread Cake)
Torta di Pane, the best known dessert in Tocino, Switzerland, is the favored way for locals to use leftover bread.

Torta di Pane
Torta di Pane, the best known dessert in Tocino, Switzerland, is the favored way for locals to use leftover bread.
Yield: makes One 9" Cake

Ingredients

  • 18 cups (1") bread cubes cut from 1 to 2 loaves of 3-day-old crusty Italian country bread
  • 6 cups milk
  • 8 amaretti cookies, crushed
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 12 cups raisins
  • 2 oz. assorted pitted dried fruits such as apricots, dates, and prunes, chopped
  • 2 oz. assorted candied fruits, such as lemon, orange, and citron peel, chopped
  • 1 12 cups sugar
  • 5 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 6 tsp. grappa
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 tbsp. pine nuts

Instructions

  1. Put bread cubes into a large bowl and set aside. Scald milk in a large saucepan over medium heat, then pour over bread cubes. Let bread cubes soak at room temperature, stirring occasionally, until crusts soften, about 3 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 300°. Using your hands, mash bread and tear up crusts. Add crushed cookies, eggs, raisins, dried and candied fruits, sugar, cocoa powder, lemon zest, and grappa. Stir until well combined.
  3. Grease a 3"-deep, 9" round cake pan with 1 tbsp. of the butter. Transfer bread and fruit mixture to prepared pan, gently smoothing top with back of spoon, scatter pine nuts on top and dot with remaining butter.
  4. Bake cake until pine nuts and top of cake are lightly browned and a wooden skewer inserted into center of cake comes out with some crumbs sticking to it. 2 hours to 2 hours and 15 minutes, tenting cake with foil if nuts and top brown too quickly. Let cake cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then invert onto a plate, remove pan, and invert back on to rack to let cool completely.
  5. Serve cake with Vanilla Lemon Custard, if you like.