Torta langarola di nocciole (Hazelnut cake from the Langhe area, in Piedmont)

The hazelnut is not an ingredient one immediately associates with Italian cookery, yet they are definitely rooted in our food culture: or instance, I have never come across a gelateria that does not have nocciola (hazelnut) flavour, one of the best actually (and, as you know, gelaterie are everywhere in Italy), you can often spot a roasted hazelnut atop pasticcini, the diminutive Italian pastries, and biscuits, a signal that what you are going to taste contains the nuts. There is Frangelico too, a hazelnut liqueur from Piemonte that can elevate anything it is drizzled over to new heights, and, well, then there is Nutella, one of the most famous Italian foods, a mix of chocolate and (not so many) hazelnuts and other, more or less, insalubrious ingredients. If you travel to central Italy, in particular in the Tuscia region of Lazio and in Umbria, you will see vast, intensively cultivated hazelnut groves, which contribute hugely to the local economy but that are also cause for concern.  What was once a minor crop has become very important, to the point that Italy is now the world’s second-largest producer, for better or worse. Here an article in Italian too.

Hazelnuts, especially when roasted, have a buttery, sweet flavour, with subtle chocolate undertones. They are showcased in this traditional cake from the hilly Langhe region in Piemonte, a paradise for wine, white truffles, beef, stuffed ravioli and rich desserts. It is a flat, dense, slightly chewy, rich cake, with an intense hazelnut flavour, enhanced by a little coffee and liqueur, and not too sweet – one of those typical Italian plain cakes, unshowy but a real joy to eat. 

I made it from a book already mentioned a few times on this blog, “La cucina del Piemonte collinare e vignaiolo” written by Piedmontese food expert Giovanni Goria, a splendid work and it has been a revelation.
I halved the quantities, with minor adjustments on ingredients and technique.
The cake must be a couple of centimetres high, no more – this is important.

Torta langorola di nocciole

Serves 6-8

a 22-23 cm cake or tart tin with, buttered and lined with parchment. Wrap it in some tin foil, to prevent any leakage, if it has a removable base

Pre-heat the oven to 180 static, medium rack
100 g 00 flour
a pinch of salt (my addition)
75 g caster sugar
1 scant teaspoon baking powder (8 g in the original source, about 2 teaspoons, which I think is too much)
150 g skinned, roasted hazelnuts
2 small eggs (the original recipe has one and a half), beaten
50 g butter, melted and cooled
half an espresso cup of strong coffee
half an espresso cup of milk
half a tablespoon of light olive oil
1 tablespoon rum (I used Frangelico)
one teaspoon vanilla extract

Place the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder in a food processor and whiz to mix. Add the hazelnuts and grind them to a fine, crumbly mix.
Add the eggs, melted butter, coffee, milk, oil, liqueur and vanilla and mix.
Transfer the batter to the tin and bake for about 30 minutes or until the cake is firm and brown
Cool on a rack. Dust with icing sugar.

Splendid with a cold moscato.

Here other splendid recipes from the book I mentioned, all from Piedmonte

Torta monferrina di mele e zucca (apple and pumpkin cake from Monferrato, Piemonte)

Pollo o coniglio ai peperoni (chicken or rabbit with peppers, Piedmontese cooking)

Bônet astigiano (Chocolate, amaretti and savoiardi baked caramel custard from the town of Asti, in Piedmont)

Sformato autunnale di tre verdure (layered autumn three vegetable terrine from Piemonte)

9 thoughts on “Torta langarola di nocciole (Hazelnut cake from the Langhe area, in Piedmont)

  1. We have several hazelnut cakes but none like this one. Definitely one to try with the hazelnuts a friend brought back from the Piedmont. Also, the Bônet is one of my favorite desserts ever.

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  2. Roasted hazelnuts! Delicious – this is a fabulous recipe – will be making very soon. Thank you – always love your recipes – have quite a few on regular rotation ❤️

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  3. That looks delicious and definitely with a cold moscato! It’s interesting that hazelnuts are not so popular in Italian cuisine because they are very popular in Cataluña (both in sweet and savoury) and relative to the Spanish/Catalan name, avellana, they are thought to have arrived with the Romans. I bet Ferrero get through tonnes of them!

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  4. Dear Stefano, I love your posts they are well researched authentic and without fuss or pretence – thankyou ! Bonet is a staple in our family as my partner is from Turin and he wouldn’t dream of eating anything out of season .He is obsessed with tomatoes which are basically pretty crap outside of Italy . His mama cooks brilliantly ( don’t they all 🙄) but to be fair she did write a cook book a million years ago 😆 – thankyou again between yourself and Carla – I have learnt so much !

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    1. Hi caroline… thank you… where are u based? + what is the title and your mother’s in law’s book pls? always looking for good sources + if and when u have time, can u pls send me your bonet: I have a version here, but I like to compare. always something to learn. grazie mille, ciao, stefano

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