About Beth

Beth, along with her husband, Mike, is co-owner of two Italian Deli/Markets in St. Louis - Viviano’s Festa Italiano. When not creating yummy new menu items for the deli, she’s the pediatric research lab supervisor at Washington University School of Medicine. Read more out about Viviano’s Festa Italiano.

About Irene

Irene loves to think, read and dream about food. She enjoys cooking & eating in general. Although she demures about her talents, Irene has a finely-tuned palate that her friends envy. She bakes on occasion. The rest of the time she's creating memories with her family and friends. . . or she's learning a new needlecraft technique.

About Deborah

Deborah is a wife, mother, grandmother, traveler, bootlegger, and a very poor speller! As Victor Hazan so eloquently puts it, Deborah has chosen Umbria to be the home of her soul. When she can’t be there in body, she spends her free time cooking & reading about Italy. She blogs mostly about food and about trips – past and future – here: Old Shoes New Trip.

About Doug

Doug lives in Eastern Ontario in a farmhouse built in 1903. He is a retired teacher with four adult children, a wife, a son-in-law, two Irish step-grandchildren and one grandson who he is lucky to hang with a lot. He has way too many books. Doug also blogs at To Slow Time Down.

About Cindy

Cindy lives in Eagle River, Alaska where her freezer is always full of salmon, halibut & shrimp. Cindy participates in several regular cooking challenges. You can read more about her cooking and life in the last frontier on her blog, Baked Alaska.

About Sandi

Sandi is a true Southerner, but a traveler & Italian cook at heart. She lives in Alabama and knows more about fried green tomatoes than fricassees. Her family owned the WhistleStop Café for many years. Sandi also blogs at Whistlestop Cafe Cooking.

About Jan

Jan, a serious home cook, has owned “Essentials” since 1992. She is passionate about all things Italian, especially the cuisine & the language. Jan blogs about her travels (next trip Italy May/June of 2010) at: Keep your Feet in the Street.

About Jerry

Jerry is a food obsessed Canadian. He learned to love Italian food as a child while eating the meals prepared by his Napolitano uncle. He learned to cook Italian foods by watching his uncle cook these feasts for the family. This love of Italian food has been honed through serious personal experimentation in eating and cooking. Willing to try most anything once, Jerry isn't so sure about tripe! Jerry also blogs at Jerry's Thoughts, Musings, and Rants!

About Palma

Palma is a Marriage & Family Therapist in Palm Desert, CA. She’s an Italian-American with a passion for cooking, entertaining, & travel to Italy. She’s always planning her next culinary adventure to Italia on her blog, Palmabella's Passions

About Kim

Kim is our permanent sub and the image above gives you a good idea of the look on her face when she realized she was drafted. Kim loves to eat, drink, travel and cook - probably in that order. When she's not here, you can find her organizing and leading food, wine and beer tours in Europe as co-owner and operator of GrapeHops or blogging at What I Really Think.

« Glazed Bread Pudding | Main | Sweet Pastry Fritters »

Sbricciolona-Ferrara’s Crumbly Cake

This is a simple recipe that really lets you get your hands dirty. It starts with a mixture of ground almonds, cornmeal, flour, sugar, and lemon peel. Then egg yolks are mixed in with your fingers until small pellets are formed. A stick of butter is softened and then blended in, again using your hands, until everything is evenly mixed and holds loosely together. This is then crumbled into a buttered 12 inch cake pan and then baked for 40 minutes. I didn’t have a 12 inch pan so I substituted a 10 inch springform pan, which worked great. I cut this about 5 minutes after it came out of the oven, because I wanted nice even pieces. You have to cut it when it is warm, or it will break into irregular pieces when it is cold.


This smelled great while it was cooking, so waiting for it to cool completely was torture. Its texture and taste reminded me of a scone, with a little extra crunchiness from the cornmeal. This recipe is listed in the dessert chapter, but for our house it should be listed in the breakfast chapter. Michael has developed the habit, which was handed down by his Grandmother, of eating light flavored biscotti or cookies with his coffee in the morning. I can always tell when we have those in the house, because his coffee cup ends up with a layer of crumbs in the bottom. I suspect that tomorrow morning the cup will have its fair share of evidence waiting for me to find when I load the dishwasher. I’m sure this recipe will become his new favorite to dunk. I have a feeling that I will be getting my hands dirty repeating this recipe a lot in the future.

Comments (1)

Marcella Hazan:

Oh, you cheated the cake of its name, Beth! It is called sbricciolona (crumbly in Italian) because it breaks up into irregular pieces, which is part of the fun in eating it. There are no breakfast chapters in Italian cookbooks because there are no brekfasts - aside from coffee - in Italian homes. Our custom would have been to accompany morsels of the sbricciolona with a sweet wine, after dinner. But to be candid, when I do have some in the house, I will dip a piece in the espresso.

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