The torta paesana is a typical dessert from the Lecco, Monza, and Brianza areas of Lombardy. It is a humble dessert prepared with dried or fresh fruit, which is used to obtain a natural sugar base. Back in the day, sugar was a rarity, and it was found only in the pantries of the upper classes. As a result, this cake contains very little added sugar, making it healthier yet delicious.
Today the torta paesana is mostly consumed as a dessert, but in the past, it sometimes replaced the actual meal and was also served on special occasions such as holidays or anniversaries. At Christmas and Easter, therefore, it was found on the tables of the poorer classes.
There are multiple variations of this recipe, and some of the ingredients can be replaced with whatever you have in your pantry. For instance, if you don’t like raisins, you can use other dried berries or even fresh fruit. Pine nuts can be replaced with other nuts, such as walnuts. And the liqueur can be replaced with simple coffee. Regardless of which ingredients you use, this moist cake is a great way to use up stale bread.