How to toast or roast your Pinoli pine nuts

Pine nuts maybe eaten raw but are usually toasted or roasted to bring out the flavour. The only times we prefer to use them raw are when they will become toasted, fried or roasted during the cooking of the recipe.

To roast: place raw pine nuts on a flat baking tray in a 180oC preheated oven for about 10 minutes, shaking the tray halfway through the cooking time. Nuts are ready when they are lightly golden. They will continue to brown a little more even after you remove them from the oven. Keep an eye on them as all ovens are different and pine nuts can burn easily because of their high oil content.

To toast: place pine nuts in a dry (no oil) frying pan on top of a medium heat, move continuously by shaking the pan every 20 seconds or so. Pine nuts will toast quickly, remove from heat when golden and place on a cool plate to stop the pine nuts cooking any further.

Pinoli pine nut pesto

Probably the most well-known recipe to use pine nuts. A classic Italian sauce that pairs well with pasta, grilled meats or baked fish.

¼ cup (75 g) Pinoli Pine nuts, toasted
2 packed cups of fresh basil leaves
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
¾ cup good quality olive oil 
¼ cup parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Dry-toast the pine nuts in a pan without oil for five minutes over medium heat, watching and shaking frequently, until just lightly brown and cool to room temperature on a plate. Puree all ingredients in a food processor to form a smooth paste, or pulse for a chunkier pesto.  Store in the fridge or freezer in small containers.

Eggs and Pinoli pine nuts on toast

This makes a rich and indulgent brunch dish thanks to the browned butter that brings the flavours all together. The egg and nut mixture can also be served over pasta for a great simple dinner dish. Serves two hearty appetites or four for a lighter meal.

4 slices of wholemeal or white bread
125 g unsalted butter
Kosher salt to taste
¼ cup (75 g) Pinoli pine nuts
4 free-range eggs
Freshly-ground black pepper
Freshly ground nutmeg
Freshly grated parmesan cheese

Warm two plates in the oven. Melt the butter in a pan large enough to fry all four eggs at once. Add the pine nuts and cook on medium-low heat for about ten minutes until they are golden brown. Toast the bread while the pine nuts are cooking. Watch the nuts carefully if you have a hot element or gas ring – they should not reach dark brown. Remove pine nuts with a slotted spoon or spatula to a bowl or dish, sprinkle lightly with salt and keep warm. Crack the eggs in to the butter and fry gently until nearly done to your liking.  The butter will be browning by this time – which is just what you want. Add back the pine nuts to the pan, sprinkling them around the eggs. Grate parmesan cheese and nutmeg, salt and black pepper to taste over the eggs. (Do not overdo the nutmeg, it is delicious but can be overpowering if you add too much.) Divide the eggs and butter and nuts evenly over the top of the toast on two plates and serve with fresh hot coffee.

Lemon & Pinoli pine nut lamb patties

A delicious mix of lamb, pine nuts, and Moroccan flavours make an easy and quick meal (adapted from Australian Good Taste magazine on www.food.com)

800 g lamb minced
¼ cup (75 g) Pinoli pine nuts
½ cup fresh mint finely chopped
1 tablespoon lemon zest
3 teaspoons ground cumin
1 egg
Olive oil

Dry-toast the pine nuts in a pan without oil for five minutes over medium heat, watching and shaking frequently, until just lightly brown and cool to room temperature on a plate. Combine lamb mince, pine nuts, mint, lemon rind, cumin & egg in a bowl. Mix well until combined but do not over mix as this will toughen the texture of the finished patties. Divide and form into 12 patties 6cm x 1.5cm. This is easier if you wet your hands with cold water first. Preheat a barbeque plate on medium or heat a little oil in a frying pan. Lightly spray patties with oil if grilling. Cook 5-6 minutes each side or until cooked through and nicely browned on the outside. Transfer to a plate and keep warm until ready to serve. Serve with couscous, tabouleh or green salad and potatoes.

Raisin & Pinoli pine Nut Agrodolce

Agrodolce is a term for any Italian sweet-and-sour sauce made with vinegar and sugar. This one is great with roasted chicken. (Food & Wine Magazine, October 2010)

150 g (1 cup) golden raisins
1 cup warm water
¼ cup (75 g) pine nuts
2 cups red wine vinegar
200 g (1 cup) sugar
1 red onion finely chopped
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 cup seedless grapes, halved
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt

In a bowl cover raisins with the warm water and let stand until plumped (about 10 minutes). Drain. Toast pine nuts in a dry pan over moderate heat until fragrant and golden brown, about 4 minutes. Watch constantly to avoid burning. In a medium saucepan combine vinegar, sugar, red onion and fennel seeds. Simmer over moderate heat until thickened, about 25 minutes. Pour into a heatproof bowl and let cool to room temperature. Stir in the raisins, pine nuts, grapes and olive oil. Season lightly and serve.

Can be refrigerated for 5 days. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Pinoli pine Nut Crusted Fish

Pine nuts balance the lemon and herbs in this recipe and can be used on just about any fish. (www.recipelink.com)

60 g (1/2 cup) unseasoned breadcrumbs
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
½ tablespoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ cup (150 g) Pinoli pine nuts
1 egg
700 g fish
Olive oil

In a blender or the bowl of a food processor, combine the breadcrumbs, garlic, oregano, grated lemon peel, salt & pepper and process until well blended. Add the pine nuts and process until evenly chopped. Place the breadcrumb mixture in a shallow bowl large enough to hold one fish fillet. In another bowl, beat the egg. Dip each fillet into beaten egg and then coat with the bread mixture. Place breaded fillets on a plate. Heat a large fry pan. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. On a medium heat cook the fillets about 3 minutes for every 1 cm inch thickness of fish.

Sweet potatoes with Pinoli pine nuts, currants and mint

This recipe is a great example of pine nuts used as a garnish where they pair well with sweet and savoury flavours. (Julie Biuso 'Fresh') Serves 6

2 tablespoons currants
3 tablespoons red wine
800g sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into even sized cubes
salt
6 tablespoons (90 ml) water
2 tablespoons redcurrant jelly
generous 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint (chop just before using)
knob of butter
freshly ground pepper to taste   
2 tablespoons pine nuts lightly toasted in dry frying pan

Put the currants in a small saucepan, pour the wine over and leave to soak for an hour or so. Put the cubed sweet potatoes in a steaming basket or metal colander and set it over a saucepan of boiling water. Sprinkle with salt, cover with a lid or aluminium foil and steam over medium high heat for 7-10 minutes or until tender. Add the water to the soaking currants and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer very gently for 5 minutes. Add the redcurrant jelly, stir until dissolved then lastly add the mint. Meanwhile remove the steaming basket from the saucepan. Shake the sweet potatoes once or twice and turn them into a heated dish. Dot the butter over and grind black pepper over. Pour the redcurrant glaze over the sweet potatoes, scatter pine nuts on top and serve immediately. Great served with lamb.

Sauteed spinach with golden raisins and toasted Pinoli pine nuts

A great vegetable dish to serve with all kinds of meat or fish dishes.

1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced shallots
2 tablespoons golden raisins or currants (plumped in water)
3 tablespoons Pinoli pine nuts
2 dashes of lemon juice or sherry vinegar
5 cups packed baby spinach
Salt  and pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan over a medium heat, gently sauté garlic and shallots in olive oil. Add raisins and pine nuts and stir for two or three minutes more, increase heat, add lemon juice, stir with a wooden spoon , Add butter, melt,  then add spinach. Toss with tongs to wilt, season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Roasted Pumpkin Salad with Feta and Pine nuts

(quantities are very flexible – adjust to taste and appearance)
Fresh pumpkin in 2 cm cubes
A splash of olive oil
A few cloves of garlic, chopped
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Feta cheese in 1 to 2 cm cubes or roughly broken into pieces
A good handful of Pinoli pine nuts lightly toasted in a dry frying pan until golden.
Chopped chives

Toss cubed pumpkin in olive oil, add chopped garlic and season with salt and pepper.  Roast in a moderate oven until cooked through and golden, about 20 minutes, combine with cubes of feta and toasted pine nuts and chopped chives while still warm, serve hot or cold.

Pinoli pine nut shortbread

These simple shortbreads show off the texture and rich flavor of pine nuts in a sweet snack. (www.luganerestaurant.com)

450 g (3 cups) plain all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
350 g unsalted butter
200 g (1 cup) sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup (150 g) Pinoli pine nuts

Dry toast the pine nuts in a pan without oil for about five minutes over medium heat, watching and shaking frequently, until just lightly brown and cool to room temperature on a plate. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy in a large bowl. Add eggs & vanilla and mix well until incorporated. Scrape bowl. Add flour & salt and mix until combined. Stir in pine nuts. Divide dough in half and form into two 5 cm diameter logs. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm. Slice into 1 cm thick rounds. Place cookies 3 cm apart on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake 7-9 minutes at 180 oC until lightly golden around edges. Store in airtight container up to 5 days. Unbaked dough will keep for a week in the refrigerator.

Pinoli pine nut cookies

150 g butter
½ cup caster sugar
1½ cups of plain flour
1 tablespoon corn flour
Pinch salt
Grated zest of 1 lemon
50 g Pinoli Pine nuts

Cream the butter and sugar, sift in flour and corn flour along with the salt, fold in lemon zest and pine nuts.   Gently kneed mix until it forms a nice dough, roll out  and cut into desired biscuit shape.  Place on a baking paper-lined tray and cook for 30 minutes at 150 oC.  Cool on a wire tray.  Makes 18.

Pinoli pine nut and lemon tart

The combination of lemon and pine nuts in this sweet tart is a classic.

FOR THE PASTRY:
300 g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
100 g unsalted butter
115 g caster sugar
2 small eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons water or vin santo (sweet wine)
3 ½ tablespoons (40 g) Pinoli pine nuts

FOR THE LEMON CURD FILLING:
1 cup sugar
Finely grated rind of 3 lemons
½ cup lemon juice
200 g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
4 eggs lightly beaten
3 tablespoons Pinoli pine nuts

TO FINISH:
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons Pinoli pine nuts
Icing sugar to dust

Start by making the lemon curd by placing the sugar, lemon juice and rind and butter in a pot and bring to the boil.  Heat a larger pot of water.  Remove sugar and butter mixture from heat and whisk in the 4 eggs, place the pot over larger pot of simmering water and stir constantly until sauce is thickened, cool.

For the pastry, sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl of a food processor and add butter, pulse until mix resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Add sugar, eggs and 3 ½ tablespoons raw pine nuts, pulse again until the mix comes together.  Kneed the dough for 1-2 minutes on a lightly floured surface.  Press into a thick disc and chill for 30 minutes. Roll out two thirds of the pastry and use to line a lightly greased 23cm loose-based tin.

Lightly toast 3 tablespoons pine nuts in a dry frying pan until golden and then cool. Assemble the tart, spooning in the cooled curd filling topped with the three tablespoons of toasted pine nuts.  Roll out the remaining pastry and use to cover the filling, pressing the edges to seal. To finish, beat the egg yolk with the milk and brush over the pastry top, sprinkle over three tablespoons of raw pine nuts.  Bake in a preheated oven at 180 oC  for 40 minutes until well risen and golden.  Dust with icing sugar and leave to cool for the filling to set.  Serve in wedges with crème fraiche, yogurt or cream.

Blue cheese and Pinoli pine nut spread

200 g strong blue cheese
100 g low fat cream cheese (omit if the blue cheese is a creamy one)
¼ c (75 g) Pinoli pine nuts, toasted
2 small cloves garlic minced
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 teaspoons brandy

Process all ingredients in a food processor, chill for at least an hour for flavours to blend. Serve with crackers or a crudite platter, wonderful with crisp fresh apple!

Other ideas for using Pinoli pine nuts

Add a few tablespoons of toasted pine nuts to your salad

Great in a couscous or rice salad.

Add a handful to serve with roasted vegetables. 

Combine with pasta dishes for texture and nuttiness.

Any vegetable dish is lifted with a handful of toasted pine nuts.

Add a few into your baking, in biscuits or processed into dough's. 

Top tarts and cakes, sprinkle a few onto a finished dessert for taste and texture.

A few pine nuts make a nice addition to a fruit salad.