Ingredients 500 g sugar crystals500 g plain flour eggs1 sachet baking powder2 jars ricotta2 jars Viallella Fondente Cantucci biscuits Stracci biscuits150 g plain chocolate150 g icing sugar
First prepare the sponge cake base: in a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar with an electric whisk until you obtain a smooth, light mixture. Gradually add the flour – sieved together with the baking powder – stirring the mixture slowly from bottom to top. Pour the mixture into the baking tin lined with greaseproof paper, level the surface and bake in a preheated oven, at 180 °C, for 30 minutes. After this time the sponge will be a nice ""biscuit"" colour; remove it from the oven and leave it to cool down completely.
In the meanwhile, in a bowl, mix the Viallella (bittersweet) with the “briachella” until you get a smooth cream. When the sponge has cooled right down, use a sharp knife to cut it in half, horizontally. Delicately put the “top” to one side, use a spatula to spread the mixture of Viallella and “La ‘briachella” evenly on the bottom half, and then put the sponge back together by placing the upper part back on top. Now move on to building the house: break up the bittersweet chocolate and melt it in a bain-marie. Use a knife to cut the ends off the Cantucci, so their shape resembles that of small bricks. Dip the bottom of each biscuit in the melted chocolate and start to build the house, placing one “Cantuccio” on top of another (the chocolate works like “cement” for the bricks). You can choose the shape you prefer for your “construction”; Francesco – it goes without saying – recreated the Fattoria’s “Bottega” and ancient oven!
When the walls have been completed, as for any house worthy of respect, you have to build the roof: take the Stracci (the “tiles”) and, laying them on your work surface, join them together by dipping the edges in melted chocolate. Create the roof according to the dimensions of the house that you’ve built. When you’ve finished, leave it to cool down on the works surface without moving it. Then, very delicately, place it on top of the house. If you have some Cantucci left over, you can use them for a chimney or put them all around the sponge cake base.
Now it’s time to have fun with the decorations – we chose a tree and some lights, to create a warm Christmas atmosphere. And to round off, dredge the house with icing sugar… a sprinkling of snow at Christmas time is absolutely perfect!
(1)“La ‘briachella” contains Vin Santo. If there are children among your guests, substitute the 2 jars of “La ‘briachella” with 600 g of Ricotta and add a little sugar or honey according to taste.