Torta: A Traditioanal Mediterranean Breakfast

We are excited to share this guest post from India Wilkerson who shares a traditional Italian Torta recipe from her host Mother, Thea, in Italy.  India, and her classmate Sophie, were part of a Boston University trip to Italy led by BU professor Paula Quatramoni.  This torta is a rich Mediterranean breakfast that would be served on special occasions.

Thea is an excellent cook and the Italian ingredients she uses exhibit a freshness that I rarely experience in even the best home-cooked meals here in the States. When Sophie and I asked her if she would give us an impromptu cooking lesson, she was excited to share her process with us and I was excited to see her in action.

Breakfast Torta with Jam (Italy) - zesting lemon

We measured for you

While her measurements weren’t precise and the ingredients were subject to change with each preparation, the way she bounced around the kitchen and explained her process with a smile on her face showed that being in the kitchen was not merely a chore to get food on the table, but a pleasure. I think it was Thea’s love of sharing her food with us that made mealtimes so special. We’d sit around the dining room table and discuss our days, any upcoming plans, and maybe receive some recommendations on somewhere new we had to visit.

Breakfast Torta with Jam (Italy) - spreading jam

After every meal we ate together, we would gather in the living room to watch our nightly American action-thriller dubbed over in Italian until that sweet food coma hit and we were all ready to turn in for the night. Our month with Thea was sprinkled with the brightest moments of joy and food was at the center of so many of these moments. From having gelato with Thea and her parents in their beautiful, wooded home to playing with her grandchildren after a pasta dinner on the terrace. I can still remember the joy on Sophie’s face when we would start getting ready for the day ahead and realize that Thea had left us a freshly baked Torta for breakfast, almost knowing when we needed it most.

Breakfast Torta with Jam (Italy) - pressing dough

For more Mediterranean breakfasts check out our 7 Mediterranean Diet Breakfast Recipes.

Watch how to make our anti-inflammatory breakfast beverage Creamy Turmeric Drink (Golden Milk).

Breakfast Torta with Jam (Italy)

Breakfast Torta with Jam (Italy)

India Wilkerson
4.84 from 6 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 677 kcal


  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 lemon zest
  • 1 cup salted butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 1/8 cups Jar of jam (Thea’s jam comes in 340g containers which is about 1 1/8 cups jam)


  • Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  • Line a 9 inch round cake pan with parchment paper.
  • In a mixing bowl, add your flour, sugar and a pinch of salt.
  • Create a hole in the center of the flour mixture and crack your eggs into the open space.
  • Rinse a single lemon (Thea buys Organic!) and zest over the flour mixture.
  • Over the stove, heat butter until melted. Once the butter has melted, mix into your dough.
  • Work the dough with your hands to mix all the ingredients. “If the pastry is too soft – add flour. If it’s too hard – add another egg.”
  • Cover the bottom of the cake pan with parchment paper and then half the dough, saving the other half of the dough for the top of the pastry. “I use the same pastry for apple pie... obviously you have to put apples.”
  • Cover the bottom of the pastry with the desired amount of jam. Cover with crumbles of the leftover dough.
  • Bake for 25 minutes – the pastry will begin to brown and “it must have a smell” (a delicious smell at that).
  • Let the pastry cool and harden.
  • Enjoy!


Calories: 677kcalCarbohydrates: 106gProtein: 8gFat: 25gSaturated Fat: 15gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 102mgSodium: 293mgPotassium: 127mgFiber: 2gSugar: 48gVitamin A: 769IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 63mgIron: 3mg
Have you tried this recipe? Tell us about it!Click here to rate this recipe in the comments section below.
About the Author: India Wilkerson
India Wilkerson is a student at Boston University working towards her Master's degree in Nutrition. She hopes to become certified as a registered dietitian after finishing her academic career with BU. Prior to completing her undergraduate degree, India had the opportunity to spend a summer term in Padua, Italy, taking a course dedicated to examining the health and cultural implications of the Mediterranean Diet. Outside of the classroom, India enjoys spending time out in nature, watching anything on TV that'll make her laugh, and getting brunch with friends.


  1. Lee Jobes February 10, 2023 at 6:36 pm - Reply

    5 stars
    OMG! Nothing else beats this dough!

  2. Mark October 29, 2020 at 8:39 am - Reply

    While delicious, this is by no means a Mediterranean Diet recipe given the high animal fat content (2T butter/serving) plus sugar.

    • Bill Bradley, R.D. October 15, 2021 at 1:58 pm - Reply

      This is a traditional Mediterranean Diet recipe. There are recipes in the Mediterranean that use butter and sugar. I wouldn’t eat this all the time, but it is a special occasion recipe. -Bill

  3. Dana August 19, 2020 at 7:43 pm - Reply

    Looks delicious… do you just crumble the second half of the dough over the jam?

    • Bill Bradley, R.D. October 15, 2021 at 2:00 pm - Reply

      Yes, that is correct. – Bill

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