Being an eternal autumn lover (even if I was born in winter), this year I decided to give it a warm welcome with a delicious cake that crowns the fall flavors in its specific colours. The walnut and caramel flavors and the crispy crust of the Swiss cake was the perfect choice for the first days of autumn and as I love figs too, I decided to give it a twist with a slighlty sour tinge.
Engadiner Nusstorte (aka Bünder Nusstorte) is a cake born in Engadine valley in the canton of Graubünden, Switzerland. The story says that even if there were nut cakes in the nineteenth century they were different from the one created by the baker Fausto Pult in 1926, who presented it to the public in 1934 at the Mustermesse fair in Basel making it famous.
The shortcrust pastry used to make the Engadine Walnut Cake ( named “Fuatscha Grassa”) was well known among the people of Engadine as they wwre already using it to prepare their Sunday traditional sweets. What makes walnut cake so special is the filling with nuts, caramel and cream – a memorable combination that made this Swiss culinary classic famous all over the world.
- 300g flour
- 180g butter
- 120g confectioners’ sugar
- 2 large eggs
- a pinch of salt
- brown sugar crystals
- 150g brown sugar
- 200g walnuts, coarsely chopped
- 100ml cream
- 20g butter
- 2tbs honey
- 2tbs lemon juice
- 8 figs
- 1tbs honey
- 1tbs butter
- 1tbs Amaretto
- Place the flour in a mixing bowl, cut the butter into small pieces, rub the flour and butter rapidly between the tips of your fingers until you get a sandy dough
- Add beaten egg with sugar and salt and blend quickly into a smooth dough. Make a ball, wrap it in plastic and cool it in the refrigerator for 30′
- Butter a false-bottomed cake pan 24 cm in diameter, dust with flour.
- Remove the dough from refrigerator, roll out 2/3 the dough to a thickness of 3 mm and line the pan leaving a 3.5cm edge; let it cool in the refrigerator again
- In a small saucepan caramelize the 75g of sugar with 2-3 tbs of water until a light brown.
- In another saucepan boil the remaining sugar with honey, lemon juice, butter and cream. Pour the caramel cream over the caramel and bring to the boil.
- Stir in the nuts and mix well
- Cut the figs in four and caramelize them with butter, honey and Amaretto
- Prick the pastry with a fork and pour the nut-mixture into the pan. Spread out evenly. Add the figs over the nut-mixture
- Roll out the remaining dough cut into a circle the size of the baking pan and cover the nut-mixture. Press edges together and baste the top with beaten egg. Sprinkle some sugar crystals over and add some nuts (optional)
- Bake for 50-55 minutes in the pre heated oven at 190°C.
- Take the cake out of the pan when it is lukewarm and leave it on a cake rack to cool.
For a special treat I recommend a glass of Moscato Passito di Chambave
Oh, dear Fall, I so love thee!