Pine Nut Torta

This pine nut torta is very typical of the desserts from Tuscany and Umbria – simple, rustic, and not too terribly sweet. This delicious, buttery cake topped with pine nuts is perfect for coffee or an afternoon snack.

The Recipe

by volume                                                          by weight

4 large egg yolks                                         72 grams egg yolks

1 large egg                                                      68 grams eggs

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest          6 grams lemon zest

2 teaspoons vanilla                                    8 grams vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt                                        2 grams salt

10 tablespoons softened butter         140 grams softened butter

1 cup sugar                                                    198 grams sugar

1½ cups all purpose flour                       180 grams all purpose flour

1 cup pine nuts                                             135 grams pine nuts



Heat the oven to 375F and line the bottom of a 10 inch cake pan with parchment paper.

Whisk the yolks, egg, lemon zest, vanilla, and salt together to combine.

Cream the soft butter and the sugar together until light and fluffy.

Add the flour and mix until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

Carefully stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture.

Spoon the batter into the pan and smooth the top.

Sprinkle the pine nuts over the top and press lightly with your hand so they are stuck to the batter.

Bake 25 minutes or just until a tester comes out clean. Be sure not to overbake or the torta will be dry rather than moist and chewy.



This pine nut torta is a traditional Tuscan dessert but you could certainly substitute another nut if you don’t care for pine nuts. Almonds or pistachios are great choices and are both nuts that are commonly used in Italy.

I like to serve this pine nut torta with a dollop of whipped cream and assorted fruits that are cooked in a bit of sugar and a little wine until they caramelize.


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