Cantucci and Vin Santo Tart

Crostata cantucci e vin santo

Cantucci and Vin Santo is a Tuscan tradition typically served as a dessert at the end of a meal. Cantucci are crunchy biscuits with almonds inside, whereas vin santo (“holy wine”) is a sweet liquor-like wine usually made from Malvasia and Trebbiano grapes.
At the end of the meal a small glass of vin santo is served and folks will dip their cantucci inside the sweet wine. A perfect combination.

This combination is sometimes found as a gelato flavor in some of the gelato shops in Florence: a custard cream gelato flavored with vin santo and with crumbled cantucci biscuits inside.
That’s where I had the idea from. I made a tart shell with almonds filled with a vin santo flavored custard cream and topped with crumbled cantucci biscuits.
Finding the right balance was not easy, as both liquor and sugar have a strong anti-freezing effect so the cream would come out too soft, almost liquid.
Eventually I got the right equilibrium between flavors and consistency.
For the tart I opted for a sablee shortcrust pastry made with almonds, also to recall the flavor of the biscuits.

Cantucci and Vin Santo Tart

Prep Time40 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Resting time30 minutes
Ingredients for a 18 cm / 7 in perforated tart ring


For the rich shortcrust pastry (sablee with almonds):

  • 200 g flour 7 oz
  • 90 g almond flour 3.2 oz
  • 90 g icing sugar 3.2 oz
  • 160 g butter 5.6 oz
  • 1 egg
  • a pinch of salt
  • powdered vanilla bourbon the tip of a tsp. (optional)

For the Vin Santo custard cream:

  • 750 g milk 1.65 lbs
  • 180 g sugar 6.3 oz
  • 140 g egg yolk roughly 8 (4.9 oz)
  • 75 g cornstarch 2.6 oz
  • 60 g Vin Santo 2.1 oz
  • powdered vanilla bourbon the tip of a tsp. (optional)

For the cantucci crumble:

  • 80 g Cantucci biscuits 2.82 oz
  • 30 g butter 1 oz


For the rich shortcrust pastry (sablee with almonds):

  • Put the almond flour (or ground almonds, see notes) together with the sugar in a mixer or blender and pulse until you have a paste-like consistency. Be careful not to overheat the blender.
  • Transfer in a stand mixer with paddle attachment and add butter, flour and vanilla.
  • Work for 1 minute or less, until the consistency is sand-like.
  • Dissolve the salt in the egg and add it to the dough. Work at low speed just enough to combine the ingredients. Do not overwork the dough.
  • Model the dough in a flat brick, wrap it in cling film and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (even better overnight).
  • Roll out the dough with a rolling pin, either on a working surface slightly dusted with flour or between two sheets of baking paper.
  • If a tart ring is used (I used a 18 cm /7 in perforated tart ring), cut o disc out of the shortcrust using the ring.
  • Cover a cake cardboard disc with baking paper, place the tart ring on top and place the shortcrust disc inside. Using a fork pierce some holes in the shortcrust disc.
  • Roll out the remaining shortcrust and cut 2 or 3 stripes. Cover the inside of the tart ring to make the border of the tart. You might need to use 2 stripes and connect them.
  • Press slightly to make the borders stick to the base. Cut the shortcrust in excess coming out of the ring.
  • Place in the freezer for 30 minutes.
  • Bake in the preheated oven at 180° (355° F) for about 15-17 minutes, adjusting for your own oven. Check the tart after 14 minutes to make sure is not overcooked or burnt. Itb has to be slightly yellow colored, not dark orange.
  • Let it cool completely before taking it out of the ring.

For the Vin Santo flavored custard cream:

  • Bring to boil the milk and the Vin Santo in a medium pot. Add the vanilla bourbon (or vanilla seeds).
  • Meanwhile combine the sugar with the cornstarch in a large bowl. Add the egg yolks and whisk until well combined.
  • Put a glass bowl (or metal) in the freezer.
  • When the milk starts boiling pour half of it in the bowl, filtering it through a strainer. Quickly whisk so the solids dissolve. Add the rest of the milk and whisk again.
  • Transfer back in the pot and put on medium heat, stirring continuously until the cream thickens.
  • Remove from heat and transfer the cream in the cold glass/metal bowl.
  • Stir vigorously for 2 or 3 minutes, to let the cream cool a bit.
  • Cover with cling film touching the cream and store in the fridge until completely cold.

For the cantucci crumble:

  • Coarsely cut the cantucci biscuits with a big knife.
  • In a big pan melt the butter. When the butter will have stopped “frying” (a bubbly noise) add the cantucci and toast them on high heat, stirring constantly for 1 or 2 minutes.
  • Pour the cantucci on a baking sheet and let them cool off completely.


  • Put the custard cream inside the tart and level with a spatula. Evenly distribute a layer of cantucci crumble on top. Store in the fridge.
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