Torta al Testo
Torta al Testo, also called Crescia, is one of the most traditional Umbrian peasant foods, probably of Roman origin. It is a flat bread made from flour, water, olive oil and a pinch of salt. In the past the torta was unleavened and cooked on a stone, the testo, placed over hot coals in the fireplace. This was a practical way to prepare bread on a daily basis as leavened bread required the use of a work intensive wood oven. This bread was prepared when major works in the fields was happening (harvesting, grape harvest, killing of the pig), in order to satiate big appetites with a food that is hard to digest, in order to save on precious bread.
The name actually means "Cake of the Tile" because it used to be grilled on a giant slab of stone heated by hot coals.
The torta al testo is still prepared in many Umbrian homes using a cast iron plate on the stove top. It is often served alongside a platter of antipasto or with chicken alla cacciatora or stuffed with our delicious prosciutto from Norcia. It is very inexpensive and easy to make and Umbrian families often use it instead of bread.
Today, the torta al testo is eaten on its own or filled with ham, cooked sausage, boiled vegetables, roast pork, Stracchino (soft fresh cheese) and rocket.
- 600 gr of soft wheat flour
- 3/4 spoons of extra virgin olive oil
- about 350 ml of water
- 1 teaspoon of salt
The ingredients are mixed by hand until a soft, smooth dough is obtained. This is then rolled out with a wooden rolling-pin on a wooden rolling-board, making flat, round breads, which are then pricked with a fork. These are cooked on the testo, previously heated on a heating source. The bread should be turned over on the testo several times until it is cooked.