Italian culinary tradition is wide and varied. It’s chock-full of different kinds of pasta sauces, the many versions of lasagna, tasty meat stews, pizzas, and last but not least: the desserts. There are so many of them that there’s always something new to sample. One of the lesser-known Italian desserts is Torta Fedora, a real delicacy of Tuscan cuisine. A soft heart of puff pastry, whipped cream, and sponge cake, covered with a crunchy layer of dark chocolate.
I bet we already made you drool! Don’t despair, though. You have the opportunity to try this tasty dessert during our food tours in Florence.
And if you enjoy it (and we bet you will), here’s a simple version of this recipe that you can try at home. The only thing that you might struggle to find is the alchermes liqueur, which you can replace with any other type of gentle and sweet liqueur. Some versions of this cake are made with maraschino, a liqueur obtained from the distillation of Marasca cherries.
- 1 disk of sponge cake
- Icing sugar as required
- 19 oz. whipped cream
- 1 roll of puff pastry
- A few spoonfuls of milk
For the chocolate crust:
- 2.2 oz. of water
- 1.2 oz. of sugar
- 50 ml. of alchermes liquor
It’s best to prepare the sponge cake the day before, or you can buy a pre-made one. First thing, you’ll need to bake the puff pastry. Before doing that, make sure you poke a few holes in it using a fork, and gently brush it with some milk and sprinkle it with some icing sugar. Bake at 180° until golden brown.
While you wait for the puff pastry to bake, prepare the bagna, with which we will soak the sponge cake. Pour the water together with sugar in a small pot. Once it boils, you can leave it cooling a bit and then add the alchermes liqueur.
Now, take the puff pastry out of the oven, cut it to be the same size of the sponge cake, and lay the sponge cake on it. Pour the bagna all over the sponge cake, and now our base is ready to be topped with a thick layer of whipped cream. Let the cake sit in the fridge for at least a few hours.
Now let’s prepare the chocolate topping. Cut the chocolate in pieces, put it together with two spoons of honey and a spoon of water in a small pot and let it melt in a bain-marie. Let the topping cool, and sprinkle some icing sugar on a clean surface where you can pour the chocolate. Add icing sugar until it gets thick enough to make a ball out of it. Let it sit for a little while, until it becomes a malleable dough of chocolate.
At this point, place it on a long piece of baking paper and roll it out using a rolling pin. Now it is all up to you: decorate your Torta Fedora as you wish with the “chocolate papers” you made! You can also add some icing sugar if you want it to look extra beautiful.
Well, if Torta Fedora doesn’t sound easy to make, we can assure you it tastes delicious! Don’t miss our food tours in Florence next time you’re around, during which you’ll have the occasion to ask more tips for this recipe to the local “artisans” of desserts!