La Pignolata (Pine Nut Biscuit Cake) & Frankies' Winners

The cookbook addict has another new cookbook.
I can't help myself.

Sometimes I get them from the publisher to review on my blog, and other times I splurge and buy one, but I do a lot of research first, making sure I will love and use the book. I have so many already, that it has to be worth my while to justify another cookbook purchase.

Cooking With Italian Grandmothers is such the book. Beautiful.

I have every other page bookmarked. I want to make everything. More than just recipes, this book showcases 12 different ladies, all grandmothers, each from different regions in Italy and their beautiful cooking. They cook with what they have locally available to them. There is a story and history about each region and what is grown there. Each recipe is regional and special.

I am not a baker, but I plan on trying almost every dessert in this book!

My first attempt was Armida's recipe for La Pignolata (Pine Nut Biscuit Cake). Armida is from Tuscany and actually picks the pignoli nuts from her trees along with the lemons. I don't have such luxury here in NJ, so I made due with Trader Joe's pine nuts and store bought lemons.

I made a few changes, the original cooking time was 40-50 minutes, but my little tart was done in 30. I also baked it in a small 8" tart pan, since a cake pan was just too big.

This was more of a cookie than a cake (hence the word "biscuit"), lovely and dense. You just need a small slice with your cappuccino.


La Pignolata: (adapted from Cooking with Italian Grandmothers)

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
zest of a lemon
1 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
2 egg yolks
pinch of salt
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup lightly toasted pignoli nuts (pine nuts), plus 1 tbsp for the top
1 egg white for glazing the cake
1 tbsp of sugar (I used turbinado for a nice crunch) for cake top

Butter an 8" tart or cake pan. Preheat oven to 350F.

Cream together butter and sugar. Mix in the lemon zest, rosemary, egg yolks and the salt.

Stir in the flour and the 1/2 cup of pine nuts. You may need to use your hands to incorporate the dough at this point.

Armida wants you to wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest for an hour or so, but I didn't do this, because I couldn't wait, and the recipe came out fine. But if you have the hour to spare, wrap the dough and let it rest.

With your knuckles, spread the dough out in the prepared pan and sprinkle the dough with the tablespoon of pine nuts. Brush with the egg white and sprinkle the top w/ sugar, it will get nice and crunchy.

Bake 30 minutes or until the pignolata is a nutty brown and pulling away from the edges.

Let rest in the pan on a rack, then remove the cake once it has cooled a bit.
Slice it while it's still warm, before it hardens, into small pie shaped slices.

We ate it warm because we were impatient and it was delicious. The next day it hardens more like a cookie and is great for dunking.


........and the 3 random winners of the anniversary giveaway are:

~ Amy V.
~ Jolie from Bethesda Travel
~ Anna from Cedar Knolls

Please contact me with your names and addresses so you can receive your Frankies' Spuntino books. Congratulations to the winners.

and thank you for all the wonderful comments on my anniversary post, I enjoyed reading every one. It makes this blog thing so gratifying!



Amy V. said…
Woohooo! So excited to be a winner!! I emailed you my info. Have a great weekend.

Michele said…
I never heard of this cookbook. I wonder if it has anything to do with the restaurant in Staten Island that features a different Italian Grandmother's cooking every night. It's called enoteca maria. I like the idea of a biscuit, I am going to take a closer look at this recipe and see if this nonbaker can pull it off. :-) PS - Going to Eataly today!
Joanne said…
I feel like a love of pine nuts runs in my veins. I need to check out this cookbook!
Ciao Chow Linda said…
I need another cookbook like Dolly Parton needs bigger breasts, but this one is too delightful to pass up. Italian grandmothers? oh how fantastic. just like this cake.
purabi naha said…
The pine nut buiscuit cake is something new to me. This is really going to taste great! I am drooling! I see that you have a lovely collection of recipes!! Shall come back very soon...
tasteofbeirut said…
WE use pine nuts so often, that i am always interested in a pine nut recipe; one childhood friend sold me a bag of her pine nuts from her trees in Lebanon, the best pine nuts ever, the taste is incomparable to the ones available at the store and imported from China. This biscuit cake sounds wonderful and easy to make.
The JR said…
Skip the cappuccino, I don't drink can I have 2 slices instead?
kat said…
Oh, I bet the flavors of that are amazing