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
- 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 1⁄2 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 1⁄2 cups sugar
- 5 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tsp. grated lemon zest
- 6 tsp. grappa
- 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
- 3 tbsp. pine nuts
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Serve cake with Vanilla Lemon Custard, if you like.