Pignoli Tart (Torta coi pinoli)
Posted by bakinghistory on July 16, 2007
A crisp pastry shell with a creamy semolina filling speckled with crunchy pine nuts
From the original recipe by Pellegrino Artusi
In “La Scienza in Cucina e l’Arte di Mangiar Bene” 1891–Italy
For the pastry (Pasta frolla)
1-1/2 cup (200 g) flour
1 stick (100 g) unsalted butter
1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tbsp (7.5 ml) white wine–or as needed
1 yolk to glaze and confectioners’ sugar to decorate
For the Filling
1/2 cup (100 g) medium semolina
1/3 cup (65 g) sugar
2 cups (500 ml whole milk
1/2 cup (50 g) pine nuts
1/2 tbsp (10 g) butter
1 pinch salt
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) pure vanilla extract (or better, vanilla paste)
Preheat the oven to 375° F (190°C)
Make the pastry: Place flour and butter (cut into small dice) in the bowl of a food processor and pulse briefly until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. Add salt, sugar and pulse briefly again, then add the egg well beaten and pulse to incorporate. Add a little wine, as needed, with the machine running, until the dough just comes together. It is important not to overwork the dough. Gather the pastry in a piece of wax paper and refrigerate.
Make the filling : Chop the pine nuts with a sharp knife–they should be the size of rice kernels. Do not use a machine to do this or the pine nuts will be ground too fine. Bring the milk (with a pinch of salt) to a boil and then add the semolina little by little, stirring to eliminate lumps. Cook the semolina on low heat for about 5-6 minutes–the mixture will be stiff and smooth. Stir continuously to avoid scorching. Take off the heat and add sugar and other ingredients except eggs. Set aside to cool. When the semolina is lukewarm add the eggs, well beaten, stirring vigorously to incorporate well, until the mixture is again smooth and creamy.
Assemble the tart: On a lightly floured surface roll 2/3 of the pastry (leave the rest in the refrigerator) to an 11-inch round 1/8-inch (3 mm) thick and line a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom with the pastry, pressing gently with your fingertips to cover sides and bottom of the pan.
Roll the remaining portion of pastry in an 11-inch square and cut into strips about 1/4-inch (0.5 cm) thick.
Pour the filling into the prepared pastry shell smoothing the surface with the back of a spoon. Make a lattice on top with the prepared strips. Brush the strips with yolk and bake the tart for about 1 hour.
The tart filling will be golden and raised, but will fall as the tart cools. Take the tart out of the pan and let cool on a rack.