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Italian Almond Pie Recipe - Torta alle Mandorle

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A simple, rich north Italian creamy almond pie.

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • Frozen puff pastry, or home-made puff pastry made with 3/4 pound (300 g) each flour and butter or margarine
  • 1 cup (250 ml) milk
  • 1/4 pound (100 g) almonds
  • 1/4 pound (100 g) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 g) sugar
  • 2/3 cup (60 g) flour
  • 3 yolks
  • 5 tablespoons good rum
  • 1 tablespoon confectioner's sugar
  • A lightly buttered shallow pan

Preparation:

Reduce the almonds to a powder, together with 1/2 cup sugar. Pour the milk, less a couple of tablespoons, into a pot and bring it to a boil. While it's heating put 2 of the yolks in a bowl and beat them with the remaining granulated sugar, the flour, 2 spoonfuls rum, and the cold milk. Stir in the hot milk (be energetic about stirring here) and return the cream to the fire; bring it to a boil, stirring constantly, pour it into a bowl, and let it cool, stirring it frequently.

Cream the butter and work the cooled cream into it a bit at a time, together with the almonds and 3 more spoonfuls of rum. When everything is combined put it in a cool place. Meanwhile, bring your oven to 430 F (210 C).

Roll out half the puff pastry and put an 8 to 9 inch pot lid on the sheet. Cut around it so as to obtain a disk of pastry dough, and put said disk on your lightly buttered flat pan.

Lightly beat the remaining yolk, and brush around the rim, taking care lest the yolk dribble onto the cut edge (the pastry won't puff where it dribbles). Pour the cream into the center of the disk, something it with a spatula and leaving a 3/4 inch rim of pastry dough.

Roll out the remaining dough to produce a round an inch larger in diameter than the first one (use a bigger pot lid). Lay this round over the first one, pressing down lightly around the edges to make sure the two rounds stick. Use a knife to make furrows in the rim (I think what she means is to give the rim a ridged texture), brush the top of the pastry with egg yolk taking care not to moisten the rim, and then, using a sharp knife, lightly incise a rayed pattern in the top of the pastry.

Bake for about 15 minutes, dust the top with the confectioner's sugar, and bake for 15 minutes more. Let it cool before you serve it.

If the almonds are not really almondy, go easy on the rum. You will, in any case, want light rum -- many years ago I used dark rum in a pudding because it was all I had. Big mistake; the stuff overpowered everything else.

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