Torta di Nocciole
Torta di Nocciole is rich-tasting, hearty, and comforting. In Piedmont, hazelnut cake is a fall and winter treat: a way to use up excess nuts at the end of the season. It is difficult to believe that 3 ingredients can make such an amazing cake. Of course, as there are so few, the flavor of your hazelnuts will be the most important factor in the success of this cake. Piedmontese hazelnuts are renowned for their flavor.
I like to serve this cake with a dollop of whipped cream and some pears sautéed in butter, honey, and vanilla.
400 grams hazelnuts, skinned, toasted, and coo
200 grams sugar
- Preheat the oven to 160C. Chop the hazelnuts finely, being careful not to overgrind them, and make hazelnut butter.
- Whip the egg yolks with the sugar in a mixer on medium speed until it has doubled in volume and turned a light golden colour.
- Whip the egg whites together in a mixer over low speed until foamy. Increase the speed on the mixer until fluffy and white and you start to see the beater marks remain in the foam. Dip the beater in and pull it out to see if a foamy peak forms and folds over on itself (soft peak). Be careful not to overbeat the whites until they look dry.
- Add ⅓ of the egg white mixture to the egg yolk mixture using a spatula to fold them together. Be careful when mixing not to lose the air that has just been beaten in.
- Add the rest of the egg white mixture and the chopped hazelnuts, folding in gently with the spatula, ensuring that even the bottom of the bowl is well combined.
- Grease and flour or line with paper a cake tin.
- Pour the batter into the pan.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until set.
To remove the skins of the hazelnuts, place them in boiling water for 1 minute, drain the water, and place the hazelnuts in a tea towel. Rub the hazelnuts in the tea towel until the skins come off.
To toast the hazelnuts, place on a baking tray in a single layer in a 16 0C oven for 10 to 15 minutes until golden.
Tonda Gentile delle Langhe
The hazelnuts from the Piedmont (Piemonte) region in Italy are highly regarded for their quality and flavor. They are commonly referred to as "Tonda Gentile delle Langhe," which translates to "Gentle Round of the Langhe." These hazelnuts are known for several unique characteristics that make them special:
Favor: Tonda Gentile hazelnuts are prized for their exceptional flavor. They have a rich, nutty, and slightly sweet taste that is considered superior to many other hazelnut varieties.
Size and Shape: These hazelnuts are typically larger and more rounded compared to other varieties. Their uniform shape and size make them ideal for culinary uses and confectionery.
Thin Skin: Tonda Gentile hazelnuts have thin, delicate skin that is easy to remove. This makes them suitable for a wide range of culinary applications, from baking to making hazelnut paste and pralines.
Aroma: They have a distinct aroma that contributes to their overall flavor profile, making them a favorite choice among chefs and bakers.
Protected Designation of Origin (PDO): The Tonda Gentile hazelnut from Piedmont is protected under the European Union's PDO status, which ensures that hazelnuts with this designation are grown and produced in the specific region and adhere to quality standards.
While Tonda Gentile hazelnuts may be more expensive, many consider them worth the investment for their superior flavor