Venetian Dishes
torta di pane, macafame, pane raffermo, torta di pane raffermo, torta putana, torta coi fighi, stale bread, stale bread cake, bread and milk cake, torta di pane e latte

Macafame cake

  • Portions: 8
  • Time: 1 hr 40 min
  • Difficulty: Low
  • Ingredients
- 1/2 liter of milk
- 400 g of stale bread
- 40 g of raisins
- 1 espresso-cup of white grappa
- 40 g of dried figs
- 2 eggs
- 4 tablespoons of sugar
- 2 apples
- cinnamon powder
For the pan
- parchment paper
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- 2 tablespoons of corn flour
Probably in the memories and habits of every single grandmother there is a dessert that allows the recycling of stale bread: from north to south maybe the additions change, it softens more or less, but everyone has in common the desire not to throw the bread, which it's a sin.
My family has never prepared desserts so technical or complicated, often without creams and with rare use of chocolate, which was not very much in our children's tastes: normally my mum prepared gigantic fresh fruit tarts, polished with jelly, so large that to extract them from the pan sometimes the pastry broke and insults flyes at random, with the biggest strawberry always indicating the center of that magic circle.
The grandmother instead prepared what we call the "torta coi fighi", but what is nothing more than the "torta putana/bitch cake" (you read that right!) if prepared with flour or "macafame" if the basic ingredient was wet stale bread.
She went absolutely without measurements, adding a bit of figs here, a bit of grappa, and in the end everything was always compacted. She liked to cook it in the oven-pot, the aluminum one with the lid and with the hole in the middle, to put on the stove or on the embers and not in the oven in this case.
I don't know how it was ever attacked. Or how it always came out cooked despite a very moist and sticky mixture, I don't even know this.

I felt the desire to bake this dessert, with beautiful apples and wrinkled, fleshy dried fruit after plunging into water and grappa, capable of releasing a grainy acidulous taste under the teeth perfect with the softness of the bread and milk.
I find that a square baking pan can give the perfect shape to this dessert: no delicate dessert dishes or small cute forks, only rustic square slices to eat with your hands, with your nose getting dirty with sugar, if you feel like putting it on.

It is a cake that is not very sweet, but you can adjust the dose of sugar to your taste, perhaps adding a couple of spoons: I find it just right to taste like this, because it reminds me a breakfast with a cup of warm milk in which to soak some bread, to eat by spoon.
Cut the stale bread into small pieces and soak it in milk in a bowl.

Soak the raisins in another bowl with grappa and a bit of water, just to cover it.

Soak the figs in water in a third bowl.

Wait half an hour for the bread to be well wet and then break it with a spoon to obtain a "cream", then slice the apples, thinly.
If you want now turn on the oven too, so preheat it.

In the bread bowl, mix the eggs, the sugar, the cinnamon, the drained raisins, the drained and coarsely chopped figs, the apples.

Now pour the dough into a square or rectangular cake pan lined with baking paper or buttered and dusted with corn flour and level well on the surface: bake at 160/170 degrees for about an hour.
The cake will be golden on the surface and compact if you touch it with light pressure, but inside it will remain moist.