La Spongata is a chest of rich shortcrust pastry, inside, with a filling of pine nuts, honey, raisins, almonds, breadcrumbs and spices. The origins of this cake are fourteenth century and the story, intertwined with legend, tells that in 1454 a general from Parma sent the Spongata as a gift to Francesco Sforza, duke of Milan. The name seems to derive from "sponga", which translated from Italian to Italian dialect means "sponge", probably by virtue of its appearance: the shell of pasta, in fact, was once "pinched" in the upper part making it take, in fact, a spongy appearance. An ancient specialty, the Spongata, to be tasted in the present-day Parma villages to experience the magical atmosphere of the past.
Soften the raisins in a container with warm water and then put it in a dish, well drained. Cut the candied citron into cubes, peel and chop the walnuts and pine nuts, then toast the breadcrumbs until golden brown. Heat the honey in a bain-marie, then add the toasted breadcrumbs, the walnuts and the pine nuts, taking care to flavor everything with the nutmeg, the cinnamon and the cloves. Mix well and add the raisins and candied citron little by little. Remove from heat and pour the mixture into a bowl, cover and let it rest in a cool place. It's time to prepare the short pastry: pour the "fountain" flour on the table, put the butter in small pieces in the center together with egg, sugar, wine and a pinch of salt. Mix well and knead the dough, then let it rest for half an hour. At this point divide the short pastry into two parts - one slightly larger than the other - and roll it out making two discs. In a buttered baking pan roll out the largest pastry dough, add the filling and cover with the remaining disc. To cook the spongata well - about thirty minutes in an oven already hot and two hundred degrees - you have to prick the surface after brushing it with a little oil. The cake is very cold, taking care to sprinkle with powdered sugar.
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