Torta di Mandorle e Pignoli

Almond and Pine Nut Tart

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Makes

    10 to 12

    servings

Appears in

Large pastries filled with almond cream and pine nuts are common in the Piedmont, and I have seen them as far south as Rome. The pine nuts contribute an elusive richness to the filling. If you have trouble finding them, or find that they are prohibitively expensive, substitute coarsely chopped slivered almonds.

Sometimes I vary this by combining the almond filling with an equal volume of pastry cream (Crema Pasticciera,) and making enough filling for 2 torte. You may also spread a thin layer of raspberry preserves on the dough before adding the almond filling.

Ingredients

    Pasta Frolla

  • cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
  • 1 large egg

    Almond Filling

  • 6 ounces canned almond paste or 1 cup whole almonds, ground finely with ½ cup sugar and ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons white rum
  • cup all-purpose flour
  • cup pine nuts

Method

For the pasta frolla, combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Rub in the butter until it is absorbed, making sure the mixture remains cool and powdery and does not become pasty. Beat the egg and stir in with a fork. Continue stirring until the dough holds together, then knead it briefly, just until smooth. Shape into a disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate at least 1 hour, or until firm.

For the almond filling, combine the almond paste (or ground almond mixture), sugar, and one of the eggs in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the paddle or in a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Mix on low speed, or pulse, until smooth. Beat or pulse in the butter, then the remaining eggs, one at a time, scraping the inside of the bowl between each addition. Beat or pulse in the vanilla and rum, then the flour.

On a floured surface, roll out the pasta frolla into a 14-inch disk and line a buttered 10-inch layer cake pan with it. Trim off the excess dough at the rim of the pan. Fold ½ inch of the dough inward and press it well against the inside of the pan so that it makes a finished edge on the crust. Spread evenly with the filling and strew the pine nuts on top.

Bake the torta at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes, until the filling is set and the pastry is baked through. Cool in the pan on a rack. Invert the torta onto a platter, remove the pan, replace with another platter, and invert. Dust with the confectioners’ sugar before serving.

Confectioners’ sugar for finishing

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