Michelasc Pie or Torta Paesana Cake

The Torta Paesana Cake (village cake) is certainly one of the best-known traditional cakes, another of those simple dishes found throughout the Lombard countryside. It is made with stale bread, soaked in milk and flavoured with cocoa, pine nuts (‘pinoli’), candied fruit and raisins. There are many local variations of the following basic recipe:

(serves 24 people)

600 g ‘amaretti’ almond biscuits
500 g raisins
6 eggs
500 g sugar
200 g candied citron peel
1 bar of plain chocolate, melted
100 g bitter cocoa
100 g sweet cocoa
100 g butter
grated lemon peel
3 litres milk
800 g stale bread (not dry)


Break the bread into pieces and soak in the milk for a couple of hours together with the amaretti biscuits; then stir well (or blend) to obtain a smooth consistency. Slowly stir in all the other ingredients. Butter four cake tins and sprinkle with flour. Divide the milk, bread and biscuit mix between the four tins and place in a not too hot oven for about an hour. The cake should come out quite soft and can be eaten hot or cold.