An Italian Classic: Torta della Nonna Recipe
Torta della Nonna or ‘Grandmother’s Cake’ is a traditional Tuscan dessert but it can be found in almost every bakeshop in Italy. Whether it is because of its deliciousness or because the mesmerizing smell that spreads all over the kitchen when it is baked, Torta della Nonna is the perfect dessert for anyone who wants something sweet.
We would like to say that this recipe is created by a grandmother who used to bake this amazing tart for her grandchild… umm, but the truth is… Torta della Nonna was invented by a pastry chef from Tuscany who tried to satisfy his customers by proposing new tastes. Well, we can not say that he was unsuccessful in satisfying people, at least.
Simple yet delicious, this double-crusted pie is definitely nothing like the pies we might encounter with in the States. Do not let its simplicity take the the wind out of your sails, just give this recipe a chance and pair the pie with a shot of espresso or wine after a meal. We are sure that you will fall in love with its light vanilla custard and lemon flavored crust.
I love baking this delightful pastry when I have guests for dinner and serving it right after the main course. Give it a try and you will surely be surprised how many compliments will you get.
If you prepared yourself a cup of coffee to enhance this Italian experience, let’s begin with baking already!
Torta della Nonna (Grandmother’s Cake)
Preparation Time: 20 mins Cook Time: 60 mins
For the Crust
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¾ cup unsalted butter cold
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- zest of 1 lemon/orange
For the Filling
- 5 large egg yolks
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 cups whole milk divided
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- zest of 1 lemon
- ½ cup pine nuts
- powdered sugar for dusting
1. To prepare the tart dough, mix the flour and room temperature butter with a food processor or a stand mixer, then add the other ingredients required for the dough and whisk until a homogeneous mixture.
2. After the dough comes together, take it to the counter and knead gently for 1-2 minutes, then wrap it with cling film and leave it to rest in the refrigerator.
3. For the pastry cream, put the milk together with the lemon/orange peel on the stove and stir it over low heat until it reaches the boiling point.
4. In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks with the granulated sugar with a mixer until the color is lightened and slightly foamed. Add the starch later.
5. Slowly add the hot milk to the egg mixture with a ladle. Don't forget to keep whisking while adding the milk.
6. Transfer the mixture back to the pot and cook it over medium heat for 5-6 minutes, stirring constantly, until it thickens and reaches the consistency of pudding.
7. Take the cooked cream from the stove, add the unsalted butter and mix well.
8. Cover the cream with cling film, and after it cools a little, put it in the refrigerator.
9. Divide the dough that we put in the refrigerator into two parts, one slightly larger than the other.
10. First, knead the large piece lightly, roll it to 3-4 mm thickness and place it in the tart mold on which we put paper on the bottom after greasing. Take the excess dough coming out from the edges and make holes with a fork.
11. Mix the cream we bought from the refrigerator by adding 1-2 tablespoons of milk. When it reaches a smooth consistency, we transfer it into the mold and smooth it out.
12. Knead the smaller dough lightly too, roll it to 3-4 mm thickness and place it on the cream. Take the excess dough by going over it with a roller or with the help of a knife. Press the sides of the tart first with your fingers and then with a fork so that the two doughs stick together.
13. Poke holes on the tart with a fork. Apply 1-2 tablespoons of milk to the entire surface with the help of a brush and sprinkle pine nuts.
14. Bake for 30 minutes, tent with foil and then continue baking for 10-12 more minutes, or until tart is golden brown.
15. Let tart cool to room temperature. Dust top lightly with powdered sugar before slicing and serving.
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