Torta Angiolina

It was 1882, Il Trovatore by Giuseppe Verdi was about to be staged at the Teatro Regio. In front of the theater, ladies in long dresses and gentlemen with top hats alighted from their carriages. A few kilometers away from Parma, in Guastalla, the first Bertazzoni wood-burning stove was being built in a workshop. It was the beginning of a great success, wherefor we must be grateful to Angela, wife of Napoleone Bertazzoni, as well as to the founders. Resolute and forceful, when she got married, in 1908, she did not hesitate to invest her dowry in the construction of the first factory, near the train station. Soon a widow, with six children, it was she, during the war, who ran the company, despite the danger and the difficulties. To this stubborn but sweet woman we wish to dedicate this cake, as simple and sincere as she was.

                

INGREDIENTS

(for a 26cm/10in cake pan)

 

FOR THE SHORTCRUST PASTRY

300g/10.5oz pastry flour

150g/5.3oz butter

150g/5.3oz caster sugar

1 whole egg

2 egg yolks

50g/1.7oz peeled almonds

1 tbsp cold water

½ grated lemon zest

12g/0.4oz baking powder

 

FORT

420g/15oz cow's milk ricotta

180g/6oz sheep’s milk ricotta

75g/2.6oz soft butter

200g/7oz caster sugar

4 egg yolks

20 cherries in syrup

½ vanilla pod

 

FOR THE COVERAGE

220g/7.7oz dark chocolate

150g/5.3oz milk

 

FOR THE DECORATION

100g/3.5oz dark chocolate

10 cherries in syrup

 

Preheat the oven to a 160°C/320°F temperature. Set it on convection mode. Place the almonds in a baking tray and let them dry, without toasting them, for 2 minutes. When they will have cooled down, chop them up and grind them to flour. Blend all the shortcrust pastry ingredients gently with your fingertips. Fold the pastry dough in a plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least half an hour. Meanwhile combine all the ingredients for the stuffing - except for the cherries - with the help of a whisk. Stir in one egg at a time. When you will have obtained a smooth mixture, add the cherries, without syrup, as it might stain the stuffing. Then, using a rolling pin, roll out the shortcrust pastry until it is 4mm/0.15in thick and arrange it on the bottom of a greased and floured round cake pan. Prick the pastry with a fork, add the filling and bake the cake in the oven at a 170°C/338°F temperature for 40 minutes. You will get a perfectly even browning. Remove the cake from the oven, let it cool down and cover it with chocolate, which you will have previously melted with milk. Serve when the chocolate has hardened, after covering the cake with dark chocolate flakes and having decorated it with 10 cherries.

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