Sunday, April 27, 2014

Tuscan pine nut cake

I was having a dinner the other evening for a few neighbourhood friends and in anticipation of our trip to Sienna this fall I decided on Tuscany as a theme.  I found this recipe on It was from a food blog called Jul's kitchen, Recipes and stories from Tuscany. This is a blog I think I will be returning to. I also made it for Easter dinner as there was something about it that reminded me of Easter, maybe all the eggs, and it was very very good.

  • 180 g of butter at room temperature
  • 150 g of sugar
  • 3  eggs
  • 180 g of  flour
  • 10 g of baking powder
  • 1 handful of shelled pine nuts
For the custard:
  • 3  egg yolks
  • 4 tablespoons  flour
  • 500 ml of  milk
  • 2 tablespoons of raisins, soaked in Vinsanto, Tuscan sweet wine or sherry

Make the custard first as it needs to be cool when you add it to the cake. Heat the milk in a saucepan until it starts to simmer, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar and flour, then pour in the hot milk in slowly whisking continuously with a whisk. Put the custard on a low flame and stir constantly until it begins to thicken: remove it from the heat, add the raisins and let it cool. I did not have a raisons or vinosanto unfortunately, so I used dried cranberries soaked in sherry and it worked just fine.

Preheat oven to 180°C.
Whip the butter at room temperature with the sugar for a few minutes until it becomes creamy and light. Add the eggs gradually, one after the other, waiting for the first to be completely mixed before adding the second. Stir in the flour sifted with the baking powder.
Grease and flour a 23 cm wide spring form pan
Separate the dough into two equal parts put half the batter into the prepared tin and level the batter off.

Spread the cold custard over it.

Put the remaining batter in to a piping bag and pipe in concentric circles, trying not to mix it with the custard. Sprinkle the pine nuts on top.

Bake for 40 minutes when golden brown, remove it from the oven, let it cool for a few minutes, then release the sides. 

It looks a little like a baked cheese cake from the side.

When cold dust with icing sugar and serve at room temperature.

This was one of the best desserts I have had in a long time and it was a great hit at Easter dinner.  I think I will be trying some more Tuscan recipes in anticipation of our trip.

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