Tenerina: tender, rich and delicate chocolate pie

Tenerina (pron. teh-nay-ree-nuh) is the most traditional chocolate pie in Emilia-Romagna and it’s typical of the town of Ferrara along with Cappellacci di zucca (egg pasta filled with butternut squash), Salama da sugo (boiled red wine cured salami) and its famous bread.


tenerina pie cake best italian ferrara chocolate tender heart

This pie was created in the early 1900 by Ferrara’s gourmands in honor of Elena Petrovich, queen of Montenegro, that married the king of Italy Vittorio Emanuele III (she was a sweet queen with a tender heart).

tenerina cake pie sugar chocholate

You can find Tenerina in every restaurant in the town but few of them make it perfect, so you better try this at home instead, it’s wonderful!

From the pictures you would say that it’s like a brownie or a flourless chocolate cake but it has nothing to compare with them.
Outside is slightly crispy like a chocolate meringue while inside is rich, quite moist, tender and has a delicate texture, not dense nor heavy, that melts in your mouth. A real paradise for chocolate lovers (even if the pictures doesn’t show that).

Tenerina: tender, rich and delicate chocolate pie

Difficulty: medium
Preparation: 20 minutes Cooking Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 12 servings

Ingredients:

  • 200 grams / 7 ounces butter (at room temperature/soft)
  • 160-200 grams /5.7-7 ounces sugar
  • 6 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 5 medium or 6 small eggs
  • 400 grams / 14 ounces quality dark chocolate (50-60%)
  • a pinch of salt
  • powdered sugar to taste

(I prefer to not convert these ingredients in volume measures because in desserts the weights are essential for the final result)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 150ºC / 300ºF / gas mark 2 (convention oven is best).

Put the chocolate in a pirex bowl and microwave at 500w for 3-4 minutes, mix with a spoon and then microwave again for another minute or two until chocolate is melted.

chocholate chunk

In a bowl mix sugar and butter until the mixture is creamy and smooth. Add egg yolks and mix until it seems a custard. Add flour and mix again until all lumps are gone.

Add melted chocolate (not too hot) to the mixture and quickly mix until smooth.

In a separate high bowl whip egg whites with a pinch of salt until forming stiff and firm peaks.

egg whites firm

Add whipped egg whites to the chocolate custard one spoon at time, mix slowly with an upward movement of the spoon to avoid undoing the whipping of the eggs whites. Proceed this way until the egg whites are finished.

Grease a 13” / 32 cm round pie pan with butter and cover with a little of flour or spray with a non-stick spray or use a baking sheet.
To avoid the pie from cracking after baking, I use a baking sheet only at the base with two little flaps and I use a non-stick spray on the pan sides. When I remove the pie from the pan I pull the flaps until the pie is on a plate, but it’s normal that the crust breaks a bit, it’s like a meringue.

Bake the pie for 45 minutes, but you can see the perfect cooking time when the circle of little bubbles (that you can see in the photo below) shrink into a ≈ 4 inches / 10 cm diameter. So the center will be a little tender but cooked (and this is one of its distinctive features).

You can make it look prettier by using powdered sugar on top or by adding some mascarpone custard on the side, but the rich taste and delicate texture are what make the Tenerina a winner.

tenerina slice cake pie

You can do a smaller Tenerina by dividing in two the ingredients (use 3 medium eggs). You can also use single-serving baking cups for an elegant touch.

Tenerina: tender, rich and delicate chocolate pie
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A delicious cake that even no chocoholics will love!
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 200 grams / 7 ounces butter (at room temperature/soft)
  • 160-200 grams /5.7-7 ounces sugar
  • 6 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 5 medium or 6 small eggs
  • 400 grams / 14 ounces quality dark chocolate (50-60%)
  • a pinch of salt
  • powdered sugar to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 150ºC / 300ºF / gas mark 2 (convention oven is best).
  2. Put the chocolate in a pirex bowl and microwave at 500w for 3-4 minutes, mix with a spoon and then microwave again for another minute or two until chocolate is melted.
  3. In a bowl mix sugar and butter until the mixture is creamy and smooth. Add egg yolks and mix until it seems a custard.
  4. Add flour and mix again until all lumps are gone.
  5. Add melted chocolate (not too hot) to the mixture and quickly mix until smooth.
  6. In a separate high bowl whip egg whites with a pinch of salt until forming stiff and firm peaks.
  7. Add whipped egg whites to the chocolate custard one spoon at time, mix slowly with an upward movement of the spoon to avoid undoing the whipping of the eggs whites.
  8. Proceed this way until the egg whites are finished.
  9. Grease a 13'' / 32 cm round pie pan with butter and cover with a little of flour or spray with a non-stick spray or use a baking sheet.
  10. Bake the pie for 45 minutes, but you can see the perfect cooking time when the circle of little bubbles (that you can see in the photo below) shrink into a ≈ 4 inches / 10 cm diameter. So the center will be a little tender but cooked (and this is one of its distinctive features).
  11. You can make it look prettier by using powdered sugar on top or by adding some mascarpone custard on the side.

9 thoughts on “Tenerina: tender, rich and delicate chocolate pie

  1. Ilaria, this looks so good. We’ll have to make it for the upcoming holiday. Would it be OK to add a ganache topping to make it a double chocolate pie (or would that be too much)?

    • Thanks BarFlySF, well I made some experiments on Tenerina, ganache toppings or a cream filling but I prefer it plain.
      I think that every addition would be too much and you have to feel either the chocolate meringue crust and the tender heart or you’ll have another result. And above all Tenerina doesn’t bear any weight and it’s not so easy to be cutted in half, it would softly crumble all away 😉
      The best combination for me is a warm slice of Tenerina accompanied by a little fresh mascarpone cream on the side (mascarpone+eggs+sugar, like the tiramisù cream) and a strawberry over that for a perfect touch.

      • Ilaria, We made the Tenerina for Christmas dessert and it was a big hit. Thanks for sharing! I added some chocolate shavings on top of the powdered sugar to help hide the “cracks.”

          • Ilaria, I used Scharffen Berger 62% semisweet dark chocolate for the Tenerina. I am sure that Valhrona would work just as well. Hope this helps. Thanks again.

Have you tried my recipe? Please leave a comment!