This classic recipe comes from La scienza in cucina e l’arte di mangiar bene by Pellegrino Artusi, first published in 1891. Not widely known outside Italy, this book is considered to be the definitive text on traditional Italian cooking, however, a great many of the recipes are from Tuscan cuisine. Artusi was born in Forlimpopoli in Emilia-Romagna but lived for most of his adult life in Florence.
This cake is delicious served on its own with tea, or slightly warm with cream as a dessert. It’s gluten-free apart from the breadcrumbs sprinkled on the top to add a crunch, but these could be substituted with crushed walnuts or even icing sugar sprinkled on after baking.
Artusi writes that ‘Dai miei commensali questo è stato giudicato un dolce squisito.‘ ‘My dinner companions judged this to be an exquisite dessert.‘ I agree. Buon appetito!
Torta di noci
140g (5 ounces) shelled walnuts
140g (5 ounces) granulated sugar
140g (5 ounces) chocolate powder
1 sachet of vanilla sugar
4 eggs, separated
20g (1 ounce) candied citron
- Place the walnuts and sugar in a mixer and pulse until the consistency of flour.
- Mix the walnuts and sugar together with the chocolate powder and the vanilla sugar.
- Stir the egg yolks into the mixture.
- Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks and then fold the rest of the mixture into them.
- Add the candied peel and stir to combine.
- Place the mixture in a buttered cake tin and sprinkle the top with breadcrumbs.
- Bake at 180° C (355° F) for 25 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.