NEW MEXICO CHEFS HAVE DEVISED various ways to bring the piñon nut’s mellow flavor into main dishes, sides, and desserts. We asked a few for recipes that could elevate a Thanksgiving feast. If New Mexico piñons aren’t available, you can substitute other varieties, which are generally available at grocery stores already shelled.

From the Your Nuts, New Mexico article in the November 2016 issue.


2 1/2 cups toasted piñon nuts
3 tablespoons flour
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 cups heavy cream
6 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Serves 12


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a saucepan or microwave, melt the chocolate with cup of the heavy cream. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a food processor, grind the nuts until chunky.
  3. Generously butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform or cheesecake pan. Put the nuts in the pan and tilt to cover the bottom and sides. Gently tap out any nuts that don’t stick and return them to the food processor. Add the flour to the remaining nuts and pulse to create a coarse flour.
  4. Place the eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, and sugar in a metal mixing bowl. Place the bowl over medium heat and whisk continuously until warm. (This helps dissolve the sugar into the eggs.) Put the bowl in a mixer. With a wire whip, beat the eggs until tripled in volume and thick. Fold the egg mixture into the cooled chocolate, then fold in the remaining nut and flour mixture.
  5. Whip cup heavy cream to very soft peaks. (Do not overwhip.) Fold into the batter.
  6. Pour the batter into prepared pan and bake for exactly 15 minutes. Remove and cool. The torte will appear to be undercooked, but this is the desired appearance. Serve with the remaining cream, freshly whipped.