Bustrengo is a traditional Romagna cake, famous for being a poor recipe, but at the same time rich in many ingredients
Bustrengo is a traditional dessert from Emilia Romagna, in particular in the area of Cesena, Forlì and Rimini, and also widespread in the Marche region. This homemade cake has distant and poor origins and is famous, among other things, for the large amount of ingredients it contains. There is no real recipe, but only an indicative basic preparation, to be modified at will based on your tastes, your imagination and above all the ingredients you have in the pantry.
History and tradition of bustrengo
The origin of bustrengo is unclear, just as the origin of the name is uncertain, which is pronounced in dialect bustreng and that seems to be attributable to the barbarians and to the time when they invaded Emilia Romagna. What is certain is that it is a ancient dessert that has its roots in the peasant traditions of lower Romagna and that, today as then, is prepared with poor ingredients and mostly during the autumn and winter period. This cake has always been designed to "empty the pantry", a culinary recycling that is at the same time simple, greedy and substantial. It is believed that at the beginning it was cooked mainly to use advanced stale bread; this, in fact, was soaked in milk, then beaten with eggs, sugar and lard, and finally cooked together with the seasonal ingredients that were available.
One cake, many variations
Like many other poor dishes of peasant origin, there is no official version of bustrengo, as the recipe varies from family to family and from city to city. One of the best known variants is that of the town of Borghi, a village located on the hills of Cesena, where every year it is celebrated with a festival held on the second Sunday of May. The typical recipe of Borghi even involves the use of 32 ingredients, of which 12 are a gastronomic secret jealously guarded by the locals. Among basic ingredients white and yellow flour (i.e. the modern equivalent of stale bread), milk, eggs, honey and dried fruit (e.g. walnuts, almonds, pine nuts or figs) are never missing from bustrengo, while among those optional we find the breadcrumbs, butter, peeled apple, raisins, grated zest of lemon or orange and wine. In addition, there are also spiced, cocoa or made with different types of flour, such as that of chestnuts.
Photo: bustrengo torta 32 ingredients_Basswulf_Flickr.jpg