I travel as much as possible at home and abroad. I'm always ready for new experiences
Published September 9th 2020
A traditional cake made of fruit, almonds, jam, and amaretti
Throughout the city of Padua, home to St Anthony's Basilica, you can find cakes known simply as Il Dolce del Santo (the Cake of the Saint, referring of course to St Anthony of Padua). There are variations on the theme, but these cakes generally are made of filo or puff pastry, sponge, fruit peel, almonds, and apricot jam.
Upon returning from my trip to Italy, I wanted to recreate the cake and finally settled on this recipe from the Italian recipe repository Giallo Zafferano (even in Italian sites, it's not that widely available of a recipe). It is slightly different in appearance to the mass-produced cakes found in the local shops, but I think it actually tastes better in general as a handmade product.
It is said that the cake originated with the tradition of bread distribution to pilgrims and the community by the friars of the basilica. The dome shape of the pastry is said to recall the basilica, the halo of the Saint, or a monk's tonsure (or all three!).
There are two parts to the cake: the pastry base and the sponge-like filling in the middle. The sponge is wrapped in the pastry. The final product is a delicious sweet treat with an interesting origin story.
puff pastry (handmade or one store-bought package) 1/2 cup chopped candied orange peel 1/2 cup sultanas
layer of apricot jam to taste layer of crumbled amaretti biscuits
3 large eggs
90 g sugar
75 g plain flour
25 g potato starch
30 g almonds toasted lightly and chopped
zest of half a lemon
1 pinch of salt
Grease and line a cake pan (20 cm) with parchment paper.
Roll out the puff pastry and place it in the cake pan making sure that the dough folds over the rim of the pan. Spread a thin layer of apricot jam on the pastry base, add the chopped candied orange peel, the sultanas, and a layer of crumbled amaretti biscuits.
For the filling: sift together the flour and starch. Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar, salt, lemon zest for about 10 minutes, until the mixture is foamy. Then slowly and gently add the flour and starch mixture to the egg mixture. Then add the almonds.
Pour the filling into the puff pastry shell. Then close the edges of the pastry inwards onto the filling.
Cook in a preheated oven at 175 C for about 40 minutes.