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Swiss Walnut Pie: A Rich and Nutty Delight from Alpine Kitchens

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Swiss cuisine is renowned for its rich and comforting desserts, often influenced by the bounty of the Swiss Alps and the traditions of its diverse regions. One such dessert that exemplifies the Swiss love for hearty sweets is Swiss walnut pie. This delectable pie, known locally as “Nusstorte,” combines the crunch of walnuts with a buttery pastry crust, creating a dessert that is both indulgent and deeply satisfying.

Origins and Cultural Significance

Walnut pie has a long history in Swiss baking, particularly in regions where walnuts are abundant. The pie is cherished for its simplicity and the rich, nutty flavor that comes from the combination of ground walnuts, butter, and sugar. Swiss walnut pie is often enjoyed during festive occasions such as Christmas and other celebrations, where it serves as a centerpiece dessert that brings family and friends together.

Ingredients

To prepare Swiss walnut pie, you will need:

For the Pastry:

  • 250 g (about 2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 125 g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cold and diced
  • 75 g (1/3 cup) granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • A pinch of salt

For the Filling:

  • 200 g (about 2 cups) walnuts, finely chopped or ground
  • 150 g (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 100 g (about 1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 100 ml (1/2 cup) heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • A pinch of salt

Instructions

Step 1: Prepare the Pastry

  1. Make the Dough: In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the cold diced butter and rub it into the flour mixture with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  2. Add Egg and Vanilla: Add the egg and vanilla extract to the mixture. Mix until the dough comes together. If it’s too dry, add a tablespoon of cold water.
  3. Form a Disk: Shape the dough into a flat disk, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow it to rest and firm up.

Step 2: Prepare the Filling

  1. Mix Ingredients: In a separate bowl, combine the finely chopped or ground walnuts with the sugar, melted butter, eggs, heavy cream, flour, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. Mix until well combined and smooth.

Step 3: Assemble and Bake

  1. Preheat Oven: Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F).
  2. Roll Out Dough: On a lightly floured surface, roll out the chilled pastry dough into a circle large enough to line a 9-inch (23 cm) tart or pie pan. Trim any excess dough hanging over the edges.
  3. Fill the Pie: Pour the walnut filling into the prepared pastry shell, spreading it evenly.
  4. Bake: Place the pie in the preheated oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the filling is set and the pastry is golden brown.
  5. Cool: Remove the pie from the oven and allow it to cool completely on a wire rack before slicing and serving.

Serving Suggestions

Swiss walnut pie can be enjoyed in various ways:

  • Warm or Cold: Serve it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a comforting dessert, or chill it and enjoy slices with a cup of coffee or tea.
  • With Whipped Cream: Serve each slice topped with a dollop of freshly whipped cream or a dusting of powdered sugar.
  • As a Holiday Treat: Share it with family and friends during festive gatherings or special occasions.

Conclusion

Swiss walnut pie, with its rich nutty filling and buttery pastry crust, is a beloved dessert that embodies the essence of Swiss baking tradition. Whether you’re celebrating a holiday or simply craving a comforting sweet treat, this pie promises to delight with every bite. Embrace the flavors of the Swiss Alps and savor the warmth of homemade goodness with a slice of Swiss walnut pie that is sure to become a favorite in your repertoire of desserts.

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Written by Robert Zelesky

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