Elegant, Low-Carbohydrate Walnut Torte

M-J's Low Carbohydrate Walnut Torte
M-J's Low Carbohydrate Walnut Torte

Original Recipe by M-J de Mesterton
Low-Carbohydrate Walnut Torte
6 Egg whites, brought to room temperature and whipped until stiff (add a sprinkling of salt to accelerate action; also, egg whites stiffen more swiftly in a copper bowl)

One cup of walnuts, shelled and ground (I grind them in a blender on “pulse” setting)

Two tablespoons of butter, softened

One-fourth cup of heavy dairy cream

One teaspoon of aluminum-free baking powder (in the absence of this, use a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

One half-teaspoon of Himalayan (or regular) Salt (see my health page for the most economical source)

Ten packets of Splenda sugar-substitute

One tablespoon of vanilla

One tablespoon of dark corn syrup or treacle. In the absence of this, use a tbs. of brown sugar.

Fold ingredients together to create a batter, being careful not to overwork it.

Grease a pie-pan with manteca, shortening, lard or butter. Pre-heat oven to moderate high (350*F or its equivalent). Pour batter into pan, and bake for about thirty minutes. Cake will have turned from a pale batter to a warm medium brown. This torte is excellent with coffee as-is, or topped with whipped cream for dessert. TIP: You can serve pieces of this cake to guests who love sweets. Just pierce the cake and pour maple syrup over it. Then what you will have is a maple-walnut torte.

You can convert my recipe into a “low-fat, high-sugar” torte by eliminating the Splenda and adding instead one cup of sugar (if you like, you can use brown sugar and skip the treacle) and one tablespoon of flour. Omit the cream and one tablespoon of butter. Walnut torte is high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial to your health.
Recipe and Photo Copyright M-J de Mesterton,  June 2007

Finnish Pulla: Cardamom Bread for Christmas


  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 packets active dry yeast
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 9 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  1. Warm the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles, then remove from heat. Let cool until lukewarm.
  2. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Stir in the lukewarm milk, sugar, salt, cardamom, 4 eggs, and enough flour to make a batter (approximately 2 cups). Beat until the dough is smooth and elastic. Add about 3 cups of the flour and beat well; the dough should be smooth and glossy in appearance. Add the melted butter or margarine, and stir well. Beat again until the dough looks glossy. Stir in the remaining flour until the dough is stiff.
  3. Turn out of bowl onto a floured surface, cover with an inverted mixing bowl, and let rest for 15 minutes. Knead the dough until smooth and satiny. Place in a lightly greased mixing bowl, and turn the dough to grease the top. Cover with a clean dishtowel. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Punch down, and let rise again until almost doubled.
  4. Turn out again on to a floured surface, and divide into 3 parts. Divide each third into 3 again. Roll each piece into a 12 to 16 inch strip. Braid 3 strips into a loaf. You should get 3 large braided loaves. Lift the braids onto greased baking sheets. Let rise for 20 minutes.
  5. Brush each loaf with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. I use Swedish pearl sugar, or parlsöcker
  6. Bake at 375* for 25 to 30 minutes. Check occasionally because the bottom burns easily.

Simple and Elegant Christmas Cookies

M-J’s Elegant Christmas Cookies

M-J's Elegant Christmas Cookies

Christmas cookies, adapted from a 1950s recipe by Antoinette Pope (The Antoinette Pope School of Cookery).  I’ve been enjoying these since I was a child. Here are the ingredients:

One half-pound of butter

Two and a half cups of flour

One cup of powdered sugar

One tablespoon of milk (full-fat, of course)

One teaspoon of vanilla (imitation vanilla is just as good as the real thing)

One egg yolk mixed with two tablespoons of cream (to brush on top, as a base for sprinkles–adds nice flavor, believe it or not)
If you are going to use icing and a piping bag to decorate these Christmas cookies, skip this.


The ingredients, except for the egg yolk and cream, are mixed together and rolled out to a quarter (1/4) inch thickness. Then cookie-cutters are employed; the things are brushed with egg yolk/cream and sprinkled with colored sugar. I prefer Swedish pärlsokker, or white pearl sugar. Transfer the cut-out cookies to an upside-down cookie-sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

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