The "torta paesana" (literally village cake or also peasant cake) is an italian cake originating in the region of Lombardia, specifically from the larger area of Brianza (between the province north of Milan and Lecco-Como Lakes). It is truly a cake of peasant origin, with infinite variations, but made mainly with stale bread soaked in milk.
My family in Italy used to make it regularly, but especially during the Autumnal festivities and the celebration of our town, Lissone's day.
This was our version of the #recipe - I sometimes make half this dose and the quantity is quite enough:
/300 g Dry bread (can also include biscuits and crackers)
/1 L Whole milk
/2 Medium-sized eggs
/120 g Amaretti biscuits (a kind of Macaroons)
/50 g Bitter cocoa powder (the equivalent in black chocolate bar can also be used.70% dark is good. I normally ignore the quantity here and go overboard with the chocolate - no exact measure - the colour and flavour become richer)
/120 g Sugar (to be ajusted in case any extra sugared content is added to the mix)
/70 g Sultanas /50 g Pine nuts
To make the paesana cake, start by heating the milk (it should not come to the boil).
In the meantime, select a big bowl that can stand heat.
Fill the bowl with the dry bread (alternatively, you can toast/dry out an entire loaf in the oven) cut into cubes and you can already add all the dry ingredients: sugar, crushed amaretti, sultanas, cocoa powder or pieces of chocolate, pine nuts (keep a few out for decoration), then pour the hot milk over this. Stir with a spoon, make sure the mix is absorbing the liquid, cover the bowl and leave this to soak for about 30mins. Stir from time to time to make sure it melts and unifies. After this time, stir and add the 2 eggs to the mix. Pour the mix into a baking tray or cake tin, and decorate with a few pine nuts on top. Put it in the oven at about 180ºC (lower temperature and less time if fan oven), for around 60 mins. Before the time is over, stick the cake with a toothpick to verify if cooked, leave for longer if not cooked.
It will be served cold, and it tastes even better the next day. Can hold up to 2-3 days out of the fridge and still taste amazing.


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