Famed in Italy for its wilderness, the central Italian region of Abruzzo covers a range of landscapes, from seaside villages on the Adriatic to the nation's highest mountain ranges. Parrozzo, an Abruzzese Christmas cake commonly seen in the town of Pescara, is traditionally made with bitter almonds in the mix. Bitter almonds aren't easy to source in Australia, however, so we've upped the quantity of almond meal to make up for it.
- 5 eggs, separated
- 140 gm caster sugar
- Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
- 110 gm almond meal
- 100 gm plain flour (⅔ cup)
- 50 gm cornflour
- 70 gm butter, melted and cooled
- 180 gm dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), finely chopped
- To serve: flaked almonds, roasted
- 1Preheat oven to 170C. Whisk yolks and half the sugar in an electric mixer until thick and pale (4-5 minutes), whisk in lemon rind and transfer to a large bowl.
- 2Whisk eggwhite and a pinch of salt in a clean bowl in an electric mixer until soft peaks form (2-3 minutes), gradually add remaining sugar and whisk until firm glossy peaks form (1-2 minutes).
- 3Meanwhile, sieve almond meal, flour and cornflour into a bowl. Sieve half the mixture over yolk mixture, fold to combine, then fold in half the eggwhite mixture. Fold in remaining flour mixture, then remaining eggwhite mixture, then fold in melted butter. Spoon into a buttered and floured 1.75-litre dome-shaped cake tin (see note), smooth top and bake until cake is golden and a skewer withdraws clean (45-50 minutes). Cool in tin for 5 minutes then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- 4Melt two-thirds of chocolate in a heatproof bowl over barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth (4-5 minutes), remove from heat, add remaining chocolate and stir until smooth. Pour over cake, stand until set (6-8 minutes), scatter with flaked almonds and serve. Parrozzo is best eaten the day it's made.
Dome-shaped cake tins are available from specialist cake supply shops. We used one with an 18cm-diameter base for this recipe. If a dome-shaped cake tin is unavailable, use a pudding basin or metal mixing bowl instead.
This recipe is from the April 2012 issue of