This article is also available in: Italian
The Spongata, or spungata, is a typical Christmas dessert prepared in different cities: Piacenza, Parma, Reggio Emilia and Modena.
The term probably comes from the word spongia, sponge, because of the sponge-like and irregular appearance of its surface.
It is a cake with a base similar to the shortcrust pastry, filled with apple and pear jam, candied fruit, almonds and pine nuts, and covered with a second layer of pastry. This is riddled with a fork to facilitate the baking. At the end, it is moulded with a wooden mould.
PREPARATION TIME 45 minutes + 30 minutes resting time
COOKING TIME 30 minutes
• 250g liquid honey
• 150g plain biscuits, chopped
• 400g all-purpose flour
• 150g sugar
• 150g candied fruit, cubed
• 150g roasted almonds
• 120g butter
• 100g nut kernels, chopped
• 100g hazelnuts
• 50g pine nuts
• 100g raisins
• ½ tsp ground cinnamon
• ½ tsp ground pepper
• ½ tsp nutmeg
• 2 tbsp confectioners’ sugar
• Dry white wine
First, mince almonds with 50g of sugar. Then, melt honey into a small pot. Add nuts, hazelnuts, the almond mixture, plain biscuits, nutmeg, cinnamon and pepper. Stir well and remove from heat. Let cool and add candied fruit, pine nuts, and soaked raisins. Let it rest for 1 day.
Prepare the pastry: combine the remaining sugar with the flour. Add soft butter, a pinch of salt and white wine as needed to get a smooth and thick dough. Shape into a ball and let it rest in a cool place for 30 minutes.
Divide the dough into two parts of different size. Roll out the bigger one to a 3-4mm thickness. Transfer into a floured baking tray, covering also the edges. Pour in the mixture, lay out the other half of the dough and close tightly the edges.
Punch holes all over the surface with a fork and cook at 180°C for about 30 minutes. Dust your spongata with confectioners’ sugar and serve.