Cooking with Valdesina – Traditional wishes cake with walnuts

Hello everybody!!!
Today I really would like to celebrate with you the last of these feast days cooking a special dessert from Waldensian tradition… Are you ready? So… Let all move to the kitchen!
In the past, the traditional wishes cake was prepared during Christmas days by families from Waldensian Valleys and then sent to girls who were working abroad as housekeepers. It was expected for this dessert to be “tough” (that’s why there is that lot of sugar and honey… but we’ll discover it in a while!) so it could be easily wrapped and shipped… But when the young ladies would receive their package, the only thing to do would be to unwrap and heat it: the cake would again become soft and home fragrance would spread everywhere!

Let’s immediately prepare the shortcrust pastry. This is what we need:
100 g flour
60 g butter
30 g sugar
1 egg yolk
½ lemon zest
Let’s quickly knead all of the ingredients, making a dough to be wrapped with plastic film and to be put to rest in the fridge. After one hour, spread half the dough into a cake pan – buttered and floured – and put the other half of the dough (still wrapped) back in the fridge.

As the shortcrust pastry “rests” in the fridge, let’s prepare the filling. That’s what we need:
200 g sugar
170 g coarsely chopped walnuts
150 g single cream
10 g honey
1 egg
lemon juice
Put the sugar in a pan with a little water and a few drops of lemon juice, light the fire (with the help of adults!) and wait for the mixture to become all liquid and brown, turning it slowly. Add the walnuts, the cream and finally the honey; mix it all well, turn off the fire and let the filling cool down.

At this point we just have to fill the pan with the filling and cover it with the advanced shortcrust pastry, trying to make a nice circle with dough (ok, ok… the one I made is not that beautiful, but I guess you can do much better! 😉 ). Brush it all over with scrambled egg, put the cake pan in the preheated oven and cook for 30 minutes at 160/180 degrees.
The last thing to do is… taste it with tea or juice when it’s cold! …and remember: always ask adults for their help when using the oven!
I’d like to remind you that if you have any recipes to suggest me or if you want to cook some typical dishes of Waldensian Valleys (d’you remember the “frichioulin” of flowers?) just mail me at

The recipe for the traditional walnut wishes cake comes from the book “Waldensian kitchen” by W. Eynard and G. Pizzardi, Claudiana publishing company.

Do you want to read the tale in Italian ?

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