A tuscan dessert you have to taste… and taste..

A typical dessert of traditional nothern Tuscan cuisine, mainly the Lucca and Pistoia mountains, the Necci are basically made from chestnut’s flour and ricotta cheese. They look like pancakes and they were traditionally cooked between two hot iron plates.

necci and ricotta

photo courtesy intoscana.it

Here follows our recipe.

Ingredients:
500 gr of chestnuts flour
200 gr of sheep ricotta cheese
75 gr of white sugar
50 ml of extra virgin olive oil
50 ml of dry white wine
Salt
20 ml of dark rhum
40 gr of icing sugar

Directions
In a bowl beat the ricotta with the sugar until frothy. In another bowl, whisk chestnut’s flour, wine, a little trickle of oil, sugar and a pinch of salt.
When the mixture becomes homogeneous, warm up on the stove a non stick pan with a few drop of oil and grease through with a paper towel. When hot enough, pour in a small ladle of the compound, shaking the pan to have the compoud well distributed and cook.
When the top side whitens, flip over the neccio and cook until it gets golden. Repeat the procedure for each crepe starting from greasing the pan.

With all the necci in a tray, stuff each of them with the ricotta cream, roll them up on themselves and sprinkle on top a few drops of dark rum and some icing sugar.

Best served warm. Enjoy!

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Torta della Nonna

Torta della nonna ( grandmother’s cake ) is a very traditional and popular dessert in Tuscany, a simple and tasty recipe with pastry crust filled with custard and pine nuts on top. It can be found across all the tuscan districts sometimes with slight variations like almonds instead of pine nuts.

torta della nonna

Here we propose the classic recipe.

Ingredients for the pastry:

250 gr of white flour

15 gr of baking powder

125 gr of white sugar

125 gr of butter

2 egg yolks

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1 spoon of icing sugar

pinch of salt

100 gr of pine nuts

Ingredients for the custard:

50 gr of white flour

50 gr of white sugar

3 egg yolks

½ lt of milk

1 lemon

Directions:

Preheat oven at 180 °C.

Butter and flour a tart pan of about 24 cm.

Prepare the pastry making a well in the flour and put in the egg yolks, the butter previously softened at room temperature, a pinch of salt, the baking powder and vanilla extract. Combine and knead all together until the dough comes smooth and even, then set aside for half hour.

In the meantime start the custard by putting the eggs yolks and sugar in a medium saucepan and whisking until well combined, add then slowly, while still mixing, the flour, the milk and grated lemon zest, cook over moderate heat, strirring, until it bubbles and becomes thick, set then aside to cool.

Split the the pastry in 2 pieces, one a little larger than the other, and roll out 2 dishes, the larger should be able to cover the bottom and sides of the tart pan, spread the cooled custard on top of the bottom dish pastry in an even layer. Set the smaller dish of pastry on top of custard layer trying to avoid air bubbles trapped in, press the edges together to seal the cake and cut out the excessive dough.

Spread on top the pine nuts and bake for 35 mins, Remove from the oven, let it cool, and then sprinkle some icing sugar on top.

In Tuscany this cake is usually served with a good glass of Vinsanto wine.

This is one of the many recipes that can be directly experienced with Arianna & Friends tuscan cooking school, all year round, in the Valdera district of Tuscany, Italy.