La Melissima or Torta di Mele e Noce

Rustic Apple and Walnut Pie

Preparation info

  • Serves

    8 to 10

    • Difficulty


Appears in

The Mediterranean Kitchen

By Joyce Goldstein

Published 1998

  • About

I guess I must have been pretty tired while researching the dessert specialities of Emilia-Romagna. When I read the recipe for the tart called La Bonissima, in my stupor I read mele (apples) rather than miele (honey). The real La Bonissima is a double-crusted tart filled with walnuts and honey, seasoned with a dash of rum, and glazed with chocolate or a simple sugar frosting. It is named after a medieval noble-woman who deprived herself of riches to help feed the poor. In fact, there is a statue of La Bonissima at the Palazzo Municipale in Modena. Well, the inevitable happened. Because of my garbled instructions, pastry chef Jennifer Millar baked an apple-walnut pie instead of the famous honey-walnut confection. So it seems only right that we should name it La Melissima. This pie has a rustic and homey look because we bake it in a springform pan instead of a shallow tart pan. It is not too sweet but can be made more elaborate with the addition of a rum- and vanilla-flavored whipped cream.