February 17, 2013

Cooking Therapy- Sbriciolona

My best therapy is cooking and I needed some therapy!

Am up in Seattle now where I have a lot of friends. Did a huge Valentine's day cooking class at my friend Carol's cooking school in Bellvue, Sizzleworks and we had a blast.

But teaching cooking is not like the quiet zen of just preparing food.

Today got to help my friend prepare a lovely dinner and we just whipped up one of my favorite simple desserts I learned in Verona, Sbriciolona, which means crumbly.

Marc and the uncooked sbriciolona

In Tuscany, sbriciolona is a soft "crumbly" salami, but in Verona it is a polenta and almond "crumble".

The best part is at the end, when you pull it out of the oven, you hit it with a shot of grappa.
Hot and cold attract and the grappa soaks right into the cake.

Cornmeal almond cake from Verona

100 grams 00 Flour/ 100 g di farina di grano tenero 00
100 grams Corn Flour (polenta)/100 g di farina di mais fioretto
100 g  brown sugar/ 100 g di zucchero di canna
110 g butter, room temp / 110 g burro morbido
80 g chopped almonds/ 80 g di mandorle tritate
20 g  whole almonds/ 20 g di mandorle intere 
grated zest of one lemon/ la buccia grattuggiata di 1 piccolo limone
salt/ 1 pizzico di sale

Sift the flours together and add the sugar and the chopped almonds.
Add the softened butter, lemon zest and salt. 
Mix with hands until it forms a soft crumble.

Place is a 9 inch pan and lightly press.
Add the whole almonds on top and lightly press in before baking.

Bake at 350 until lightly golden.

Break to serve.

If you want to be wild and crazy, when the sbriciolona comes out of the oven, have a bottle of GOOD GRAPPA ready and splash on top.

Note: traditionally white granulated sugar is used. I think that helps it break better, the brown sugar gave it a warmer butterscotch flavor, but was more shortbread like.


  1. Lovely to have a new post. Hope you have a day off and that your return flight is smooth and safe. A presto!

  2. I have everything I need for this except the grappa, but that can be remedied. I am going to try this very soon and I have in mind just the friend I plan to share it with.

  3. I love Sbriciolona. I think of it as a giant communal cookie. I have not heard of the Grappa maneuver before, but as you can guess, I think it is a grand idea. And I have just the bottle. Mandorla, from Nardini! Perfetto!. Grazie, amica. And I am so pleased to hear that cooking therapy was of such great benefit. Rock on. Rock on.

  4. Oh, this is temptation, indeed! :-)

  5. I love sbrisolona and enjoy making it because it's so easy-and am looking forward to trying your recipe - but I've never splashed Grappa when it comes out of the oven...can't wait to try it with a few shots!

  6. Hi Judy!!! I have no choice but to follow you, my dear!....I love Tuscany too, so we share the same fondness... :)
    I know "Sbrisolona", as we called it, and of course I will try to make it basing on your post!
    I live near Treviso, in Veneto! Do you know it?
    Have a nice evening!

  7. Ciao Judy!!! I have no choice but to follow you!!! I adore Tuscany and its gastronomy, so we share the same love... :)
    I know very well sbrisolona, and I like it so much indeed!
    I am Marisa, I live in a little town near Treviso, in Veneto (do you know the vegetable "Radicchio Trevisano"??)

  8. Ciao @marisa- yes I know of treviso!!! and radicchio-- I have been in Italy since 1984..... thanks for stopping by