Stonska Torta (Ston Cake)
The Ston Cake is what happens when a kugel meets a strudel, so it really is the perfect dessert for Rosh Hashanah. The classic version has a homemade crust. In addition, in Ston, they place sugared almonds on top. The center is filled with cooked pasta, nuts, sugar and eggs. My friend Dora Klayman recalls that all the desserts from her childhood contained walnuts, crêpes and/or noodles. She was nostalgic about a giant walnut tree at her childhood home and the especially delicious fresh walnuts she used to eat. When I made this cake, I brought some to Dora to give her a taste of home.
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry
- 8-10 cups water
- 3 cups uncooked ziti pasta
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
- 1½ cups ground walnuts
- 1 cup ground almonds
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons vanilla sugar or 2 more tablespoons sugar plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 6 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoon confectioner’s sugar
- Spray oil or additional olive oil for greasing pan
- 1 tablespoon flour for sprinkling
- Thaw puff pastry at room temperature for 40 minutes, or until you can unfold it easily.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place 8 to 10 cups water into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions until done, about 10 to 12 minutes. Drain and place into a bowl. Add the olive oil, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and the lemon juice and mix well. Set aside.
- While the pasta is cooking, place the ground walnuts, almonds, sugar, vanilla sugar and remaining ½ teaspoon cinnamon into a medium bowl and whisk well.
- Crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk until very well beaten.
- Grease a 10-inch springform pan with spray oil or olive oil. Place a large piece of parchment paper on your counter and sprinkle with some flour. Unroll the puff pastry and roll out until it is about 13 by 16 inches. Place your hand under the parchment and flip the dough into the greased pan. Lift the edges of the pastry and use the side of your hand to gently press the dough into the edge where the pan meets the bottom. The dough should hang over the sides of the pan.
- Scoop up about ¼ of the nut and sugar mixture, about ¾ cup, and sprinkle all over the bottom of the pan. Take a third of the pasta and spread over the nut mixture. Scoop up about 1/3 cup of the beaten eggs and pour over the top. Repeat with another ¾ cup of the nut and sugar, a third of the pasta and egg and then repeat a third time. Sprinkle the remaining nut and sugar mixture on top.
- Take the edges of the puff pastry and fold over to cover the entire cake. You can use a pastry brush and the little bit of remaining egg in the bowl to brush on the pastry to help it stick.
- Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the top is golden. Let cool for 20 minutes. Open the sides of the pan. Place one dinner plate on top of the cake and turn the cake over. Peel off the bottom pan and then use another plate or platter to turn the cake so that the folded part is back on top. Use a sieve to dust confectioners’ sugar all over the top. Serve warm or at room temperature. May be reheated. May be made two days in advance or frozen.