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Andalusian recipes, travel, and design

Tag: Pine Nuts

Chestnut-Flour Apricot Cacao Cake (Torta di Farina di Castagne e Cacao)

Chestnut flour is a lot of fun to bake with. It provides a nutty, yet sweet aromatic flavour to breads, tarts and cookies, which is very different from other nut flours. I use it a lot and have made the traditional Italian castagnaccio tart, pancakes, several breads, cookies, and even “peanut butter” cups. I also love to cook with the nuts themselves, making soups, adding them to dishes and purees.


For a listing of all my chestnut recipes, please click here.


Some weeks ago, I experimented with an eggless waffle made with chestnut flour and flax, whose flavour was really delicious. But the texture didn’t work out. I thought of recreating that for breakfast today, but I had added zucchini to the recipe and didn’t have any left. So, I’ll have to revisit that sometime soon…


But today, I wanted to make something between a bread and a cake. My first experiment (of which I posted a picture on Instagram) has a nice flavour, but the texture is not quite what I was looking for. While I was on my walk, I kept thinking of how I could change the recipe and make it better.


When I got home, I put out all the ingredients and then saw a recipe on the back of the chestnut flour bag that caught my eye: chestnut flour and cacao cake.

This is an adaptation of that recipe, making it gluten free, adding more eggs and fresh apricots instead of dried figs. I’ve kept it in grams, since it’s easier to adapt a recipe that way, but added cups for US conversion convenience. Therefore, some of the measurements seem odd, but are not really.

For me, it’s a keeper. I’m eager to know what you think!

Note: It’s better eaten the same day of baking or the day after. But after that, it tends to dry up a bit.

Chestnut-Flour Apricot Cacao Cake
Recipe Type: Dessert, Breakfast
Cuisine: Paleo
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
  • 100g (1 cup + 1 heaping tablespoon) chestnut flour
  • 50g (1/2 cup) ground almonds (almond flour)
  • 3 eggs, separate
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 35g (1/2 cup) raw cacao powder
  • 50g (1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons) coconut sugar (more or honey, if you prefer sweeter)
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 25g (3 tablespoons) pine nuts (optional)
  • 3 ripe apricots, peeled and diced
  1. Preheat oven to 180C fan (350F).
  2. Grease a pie/tart pan.
  3. In a clean mixing bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
  4. In another mixing bowl, cream the egg yolks, chestnut flour, ground almonds, coconut sugar, raw cacao, baking soda and coconut milk.
  5. Fold in the egg whites and blend until the white is no longer showing.
  6. Fold in the apricot pieces.
  7. Pour into the pie/tart mold.
  8. Sprinkle with pine nuts, if desired.
  9. Bake for 35-40 minutes on the middle rack.


Paleo Stuffed Turkey Breast

What happens when you buy something you don’t normally get at the food store? Well.. easy.. new dishes! 😉

I usually buy breast meat to cut up in chunks or the whole bird, but hardly ever the entire turkey breast. So, some research was in order for ideas and I decided to make it stuffed. I’ve stuffed meat before, in the traditional German style, rinderroulade, which is very nice and I’ll share with you as soon as I make it again. But turkey breast is dryer and thick, so I was careful to add ingredients that could add some juice to the dish.


Using a combination of bacon, vegetables, pears and pine nuts, the flavours were great together and the meat was very juicy.

For the gravy, which was delicious, I simply used the drippings and added some arrowroot powder to make it thicker.


Paleo Stuffed Turkey Breast
Recipe Type: Main
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4-6
Serves about 4-6.
  • 2kg turkey breast with skin
  • 4-5 slices of butter (about 1cm each)
  • sea salt and pepper, to taste
  • oven string with which to wrap the breast
  • For the stuffing:
  • 2-3 tablespoons organic, grass-fed lard
  • 1 leek, clean, peeled, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, cleaned and diced
  • 5-6 medium brown mushrooms, diced
  • 3 pieces of pork back rashers or bacon, cooked and diced
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 pears, peeled and diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon thyme (if you have fresh, use the leaves off a couple of sprigs)
  • 5-6 leaves of fresh basil, chopped
  • a sprinkle of turmeric
  • coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • For the gravy:
  • turkey drippings
  • arrowroot powder
  1. For the turkey breast:
  2. Rinse and unwrap. If it needs to be “flattened” out, do so by placing a piece of cellophane paper over top and “beating” with a meat tenderiser or a rolling pin.
  3. Set aside.
  4. For the stuffing:
  5. In a saucepan over low heat, melt the lard.
  6. Add the leeks and soften.
  7. Add the celery, garlic and mushrooms, and cook until the celery is just about tender.
  8. Add the cooked pork rashers/bacon bits, pears, pine nuts, and spices and herbs.
  9. Cook for about 2 minutes.
  10. Season to taste.
  11. To stuff the breast:
  12. Place the stuffing on one side of the turkey breast and roll the meat over into a “roll”.
  13. With the string, hold the breast together.
  14. Place into an ovenproof cooking dish.
  15. Place the butter pieces over top.
  16. Bake for 25-30 minutes, then turn over and bake another 25-30 minutes, basting in between.
  17. To check if the turkey is done, use a meat thermometer to check; the internal temperature should be at 165-170. Cook longer if necessary.
  18. For the gravy:
  19. Place the turkey drippings (try to get just the drippings without the fat) in a small saucepan.
  20. Add some arrowroot powder (depending on the amount of drippings, about 1-2 teaspoons) and cook until thickened.
  21. Adjust for seasoning if necessary.
  22. To plate:
  23. Slice the turkey breast and serve with gravy and favourite vegetables or side dishes.


Panellets (Empiñonados) or Spanish Sweet Potato-Marzipan “Cookies”

Panellets are a traditional Spanish dessert for All Saint’s Day, which is 1 November. In the Catalan region of Spain, they are called “panellets”, or little breads, while in other areas, specifically in Sevilla (Andalucia), they are called “empiñonados”, because they are typically covered in piñones (pine nuts).


I’m a bit early or late for the recipe, depending on how you want to view it. But either way, they are a delicious treat anytime of the year. Plus, they are very easy to make and are Paleo-friendly.

The basis for the recipe is the marzipan, which can be made with coconut sugar, honey or maple syrup to keep it Paleo.


Marzipan should be sweet, and usually the recipes call for the same amount of refined sugar as of ground almonds in weight. I tried to decrease the amount of sweetener, and although the amount of honey used may seem like a lot, they are not that sweet.

While the typical panellets are coated with pine nuts, I decided to give mine a bit of the aroma of the Maghreb area by adding rose water, which I had purchased on our Dubai trip, and coating them in ground pistachios. I also coated some in desiccated coconut and another set in a mixture of desiccated coconut and cacao powder.

If you use pine nuts, beat an egg yolk and spread it over the balls with a brush before baking, to give the nuts a glossy finish. This is not really needed with the pistachios or other coatings.

You can also play around with the flavours, adding spices and different toppings, depending on what you prefer, or even use a different vegetable… !

Panellets (Empiñonados) or Spanish Sweet Potato-Marzipan Cookies
Recipe Type: Easy
Cuisine: Spanish
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 25-28
  • 3 cups ground almonds
  • 3/4 cup raw honey
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes (about 190g)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon rose water (optional)
  • ground pistachios (or whole pine nuts)
  • desiccated coconut
  • cacao powder
  1. Preheat oven to 190C (375F).
  2. Peel and cut into large chunks the sweet potatoes. Cook in plenty of water until tender.
  3. Once tender, drain and mash with a fork or spoon until a puree is formed.
  4. Add the raw honey and rose water and mix well.
  5. Add the ground almonds, and with your hands mix it all well until you have a paste, similar to marzipan. (Actually it is marzipan without the sweet potato.)
  6. Allow to cool.
  7. Then with your hands, create 1-inch balls out of the paste.
  8. Beat the eggs in a soup bowl or small dish.
  9. Dip each ball in the beaten eggs and then through either ground pistachios, whole pine nuts, desiccated coconut, or cacao powder or a mixture of coconut and cacao powder. (If using pine nuts, it’s nice to add egg yolk-brushed onto the balls before baking-for a glossy finish.)
  10. Bake the panellets for 10-12 minutes, turning around once half way through.


Roasted Beetroot Goat Cheese Salad with Balsamic Reduction

We went to York over Easter weekend and following the recommendation of the Lonely Planet, we ended up at Duel@Gray’s Court for lunch.


“Grays Court York is a boutique hotel and historic heritage property in York’s city centre that boasts over 900 years of colourful history. Once owned by the Duke of Somerset, Queen Jane Seymour’s brother, and visited by King James 1st, James 2nd and the Duke of Cumberland. Sir Thomas Fairfax, Archbishop Robert Holgate and Archbishop Thomas Young have also owned and lived here in Grays Court.”

A glimpse of the courtyard of Gray's Court

A glimpse of the courtyard of Gray’s Court

The place is amazing! It’s nestled inside a little courtyard behind the York Minster and facing the city walls. If you’re not looking for it, you can actually walk right by it… however, I kind of doubt that, since after taking a glimpse of the courtyard, you’ll just want to peek inside and see more. The building is lovely and flanked by some other historic heritage properties. I just couldn’t stop taking photographs!

The dining room, where we ate.

The dining room, where we ate

Lunch was delicious, refreshingly so, after a few bad experiences the days before. And the service is very friendly and helpful. You actually can have tea/coffee in the long hall facing the courtyard, which is furnished with sofas and comfy period pieces, which makes you feel like you could spend hours just lounging there with friends. Lunch was served in one of the dining rooms, adjacent to the long hall, and overlooking the beautiful gardens that are surrounded by the old city walls. It’s a peaceful and relaxing place; and the prices are very reasonable. And if you peruse around a bit like I did, you’ll see the family’s library, full of books, of course, and personal photographs… it truly feels like you’ve been invited into someone’s home.

The "original" Beetroot & Goat Cheese Salad

The “original” Beetroot & Goat Cheese Salad

We were so impressed, that after walking through York that day and the next, we decided that we should repeat lunch there! We usually don’t do that, since we like to explore and experiment…but really, the food is worth going back again.

My husband's Ploughman's Platter

My husband’s Ploughman’s Platter

When I have some time, I’ll share more of our experience and photographs of York under My Travel Logs. So, please come back and check it out! In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this very tasty and easy to make salad.

Oh, for the balsamic reduction: it’s so simple to make, you’ll be repeating that too! Pour double the amount of what you want to achieve of balsamic vinegar (for example, if you want 1/2 cup, use 1 cup) in a small pot and bring to a soft boil over low to medium heat. The sauce will thicken and become syrupy–be careful, as it tends to splatter. Once it has thickened, you know it is ready. Allow it to slightly cool before pouring over the salad.

Roasted Beetroot Goat Cheese Salad
Recipe Type: Easy
Cuisine: Fusion
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 2
  • 4 beetroots, raw or precooked, cut into bite-size chunks
  • 140g wild rocket (70g per person, or more according to taste of course)
  • goat cheese, crumbled
  • pine nuts, about 1 tablespoon per serving
  • balsamic vinegar reduction (recipe in text)
  • 1 fresh, green onion, finely sliced
  • olive oil (if roasting raw beets)
  1. If the beetroots are fresh and raw: in an ovenproof dish, drizzle some olive oil over them and roast at 180C for about 40 minutes until tender, with their skins. Once they are done, allow to cool slightly before peeling and cutting into bite-size chunks.
  2. If the beetroots are precooked (I buy them like this oftentimes, as it’s more convenient), then simply cut them into bite-size chunks and roast for about 10 minutes in the oven, at 200C.
  3. How to assemble: For each individual bowl/plate, place 1/4 of the wild rocket.
  4. Add the beetroots, crumbled goat cheese and pine nuts.
  5. Add the rest of the wild rocket over top.
  6. Drizzle with the balsamic vinegar reduction and some olive oil (optional).
  7. Garnish with some fresh, green onion.
  8. Serve immediately.

 *The comments about Duel @ Gray’s Court in York are my personal opinion based on our experience, and I have not been paid for this review nor am I representing the restaurant in any way. 

Chestnut-Rosemary Tart or Pan

Growing up, I used to hate eating chestnuts. It’s very typical in Spain to eat them raw or roasted on the fire; and it’s a traditional scene during the fall and winter to see the vendors with their roasting carts on the streets selling roasted chestnuts and other goodies. I did and still do love the smell of roasted chestnuts… it symbolises the beginning of autumn and the beautiful holiday season to come.

And to-day, I actually love to eat them, especially when they are vapor-cooked and so sweet. (I’m still not keen about the raw ones…) And now, I have discovered chestnut flour! My mother says there used to be a lot of desserts and dishes that were made in Southern Spain with chestnut flour. But I’ve never knowingly tried anything nor made anything with it before. But during the Christmas holidays, I stole a number of recipes from my mother’s collection (Mama… remember the recipe of the wilted kale you were asking for the other day…well, I DO have it ;-)).

The other day, I tried experimenting with chestnut flour and almond flour together to make some breakfast bread; and although the flavour was really good, the texture was not quite right. But while I’m still working on perfecting that recipe (to share with all of you), I was intrigued by this one and can’t rave enough about it!

This tart below is de-li-cious!!! Don’t be tempted to add any sweetener (until you make it at least once), as it has just the perfect sweet combination with the sultanas and the chestnut flour, which is quite sweet on its own. Additionally, for those of you with egg allergies or just wanting to make something without eggs, this is a perfect recipe to build upon! And the additional plus is that it is really, totally sugar or sweetener free!

CHESTNUT-ROSEMARY TART (or PAN, as it’s called in Spain)

Ingredients, for one 19cm or 7in diameter-tart (it comes out to about 3cm in height)

  • 150g chestnut flour
  • 250ml water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • 1/4 cup sultana raisins (more if desired, up to 1/2 cup recommended for a sweeter tart)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • freshly ground rosemary (I used about 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons)

ready for the oven


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Grease with some olive oil a small tart pan (19cm or 7in diameter). Set aside.
  2. In  a medium bowl, mix the chestnut flour, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and salt. Add the water, whilst whisking until smooth. The mixture will be quite liquid.
  3. Add the sultanas and mix well.
  4. Pour into the tart pan and sprinkle with pine nuts and some ground rosemary or rosemary sprigs over top.
  5. Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over top.
  6. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Allow to cool completely before cutting and serving.

Make it now, and I dare you to have just one piece! Enjoy!

*Just a side note about chestnuts: they are the highest alkaline producing nuts, are a good source of fiber, rich in Vitamin C, rich in folates (folic acid), they are a rich source of mono un-saturated fatty acids, are an excellent source of iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and zinc. Plus, they contain a number of other Vitamin Bs. And of course, they are gluten free. I wish I would’ve like them more as a child, but now is not too late to start enjoying all their goodness.

**A note on variations possible: you can use other types of dried fruit, such as apricots or prunes instead of the raisins; also, you can use slivered almonds or coarsely ground almonds or another nut instead of the pine nuts. Other fresh or dried herbs can be used as well, such as thyme or oregano. Experiment depending on your taste buds and mood… and above all, have fun with this recipe!

Cauliflower Cream Soup with Pine Nuts-Crema de Coliflor con Piñones

Crema de Coliflor con Piñones
(Cauliflower Cream Soup with Pine Nuts)
Ingredients, for 6

1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets and rinsed
1 leek, rinsed and cut into large pieces
1 large onion, cut in fourths
4 cloves of garlic
4 ribs/stalks celery, rinsed and cut into large pieces (remove any strings)
2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into large pieces
1 small onion, cut julienne style
2 teaspoons pimenton (Spanish paprika)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1/2 liter coconut milk (for a thinner soup, add more milk)
olive oil
sea salt to taste
pine nuts, a generous handful

In a large pot, place the cauliflower, potatoes, leek, large onion, celery and garlic. Cover with water and over medium heat cook until the vegetables are tender.
In a frying pan, over medium heat, pour 3 tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil is slightly hot, add the small onion and saute. Add the cumin seeds, saute about 1/2 minute and then add the pimenton, cinnamon and nutmeg. Saute 1-2 minutes, without burning the pimenton (or it will turn sour). Remove from heat and set aside.
In another frying pan, over medium heat, add a bit of olive oil. When the oil is warm, add the pine nuts and saute about 1 minute. Just as they start to brown, remove from heat and set aside.
Drain water from vegetables. In the same pot or in a mixing bowl, blend the vegetables, the pimenton mixture, and coconut milk with a mini pimer hand blender or pour all of the ingredients in a blender and pulse to form the soup. Add sea salt to taste.
Pour into serving bowls and garnish with the pine nuts and a swirl of the olive oil from the nuts.

Las Croquetas de la Madre de Santi (Croquetas de Arroz y Piñones)

Croquetas are a very typical dish in Spain. You can find them made with jamón serrano, caldo de puchero (chicken soup instead of milk), chicken, fish, shrimp, cheese… in fact, you can create your own recipe, if you like.

Of course, they are not only typical of Spain. You can find them in France (croquettes), the Netherlands (kroket), where they are eaten with mustard and also come shaped as round balls (then called bitterballen), and even as far away as Japan!
When I’m outside of Spain and do not have access to really good jamón, I make mine with chicken broth, or bechamel, and chicken. And although my husband can’t get enough of them with the patatas fritas (french fries) that I make, I’m always looking for variations to make something different.
My friend Santi, who is a great cook, gave me the following recipe, which I had been dreaming of trying since I’ve never had them like this before. They are a bit time-consuming to make, but well worth the effort!
Croquetas de Arroz y Piñones (Rice and Pine Nut Croquetas), adapted version, makes about 54 

  • 1 1/2 cups arborio or paella rice
  • 3/4 cup pine nuts
  • 2 large carrots
  • fine sea salt
  • black pepper
  • nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 to 2 liters of almond milk (or if you prefer, cow’s milk can be used)
  • cornflour
  • cornmeal
  • 2-3 eggs, beaten
  • olive oil, for frying
Prepare the almond milk in advance. See recipe here. The thicker the milk, the better, as it will help achieve the desired consistency.Peel, clean and chop the carrots into very small squares.

In a non-stick pan, on medium heat, place the rice, pine nuts and carrots. Cover with milk (about 2/3 liter). Cook, stirring constantly (20-35 minutes total). Add the remainder of the milk little by little, as you’re cooking and the mixture thickens. You want to achieve a thick consistency, like that used in regular croquetas. (See picture below).
The mixture will be done when the rice is cooked and the consistency is thick. You should be able to put your spatula through the mixture and the pan will come up clean below its path (see below). Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg, to taste. Mix well.
Pour the mixture into a shallow glass container and allow it to reach room temperature. Do not cover, so it can breathe. Then refrigerate for 3-4 hours or overnight (even better) until it hardens. (At this point as Santi says, you can relax from your cooking-fitness session and your biceps should be much more shapely  from all the stirring! 😉 Now, we can proceed to cleaning the mess…

Get ready for the second part of your workout:

To shape the croquetas, we prepare three dishes first. In one dish, add cornflour (other flour can be used); in another dish, add cornmeal; and in a third dish, beat 2 or 3 eggs. Set aside.
With two same-sized soup spoons, we take spoonfuls of the mixture and shape with the spoons into oval mounds. If you want to make them a bit rounder at the edges, shape additionally with your hands. Make hands slightly damp to avoid having the mixture stick to them.

Once all the croquetas are shaped, roll each through the cornflour, then the eggs, and last through the cornmeal. (If you’re going to freeze them to use at a later date, do so now. When using frozen croquetas, be sure to thaw out thoroughly before frying.)

Fry them in olive oil, until golden brown. Serve alone as a tapa or pair with your favourite side dish!


By the way, did you know that pine nuts have a lot of beneficial properties? They contain Vitamins B1 and E, potassium, phosphate, calcium, magnesium and iron, as well as folic acid. They are an antioxidant and contain mono-saturated fats.They are recommended to:

  • Reduce stress
  • Reduce cholesterol
  • During lactation
  • During pregnancy: they help in the healthy formation of the fetus
  • Good functioning of the intestinal tract
  • Help prevent osteoporosis and decalcification
  • Help improve cardiovascular and degenerative problems
  • Improve the functioning of the nervous system
  • Alleviate tiredness
  • Help with anemia
  • It’s a tonic and has restorative properties
  • Combats cancer