Meascia, a type of bread cake, was a staple of cucina povera – an inexpensive way to make dessert using whatever was in the store cupboard. Mario Matassa shows us how to make it
I’ve used apples from the nearby Valtellina in this version of meascia, but it can also be made with pears and you can substitute the sultanas with whatever dried fruit you happen to have. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to meascia…
Makes 1 cake, 20 x 30cm
Preparation time 20 minutes, plus resting time
Cooking time 40 minutes
• 250g stale rustic-style rolls or bread
• 600ml whole milk
• 100g sultanas
• 80g pine nuts
• 4-5 amaretti biscuits, crushed
• 2 heaped tbsp dark cocoa powder
• 100g caster sugar
• 1 apple, peeled and diced
• 2 medium free-range eggs, lightly beaten
• 50g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 Begin by ripping the bread into small pieces and placing in a large bowl. Add the milk and allow the mix to rest for 45 minutes, stirring from time to time to ensure that all the milk is absorbed.
2 Once the mixture has rested, use your hands to mash the bread to a fine pulp. Add the sultanas, half of the pine nuts, the amaretti biscuits, cocoa powder, sugar, apple, eggs and butter and stir everything together well.
3 Pour the mixture into a lined baking tin and sprinkle over the remaining pine nuts. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C/Gas Mark 4 for 40-45 minutes. The meascia will be soft to the touch when it first comes out of the oven, but firms up as it cools.
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