Torta della nonna (Italian Grandma's custard tart)

Torta della nonna (Italian Grandma's custard tart)


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About this recipe: Torta della nonna is a traditional Italian tart, originally from Tuscany and Liguria regions. It's a tart filled with custard and flavoured with toasted pine nuts. This simple yet tasty dessert embodies the simplicity of Italian baking.

ritamuzzy Lombardia, Italy

Serves: 8 

  • For the custard filling
  • 700ml full fat milk
  • zest 1 unwaxed lemon
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 90g caster sugar
  • 70g plain flour or 00, sifted
  • 15g butter
  • For the shortcrust pastry
  • 180g cold butter, cubed
  • 170g caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8g baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 400g plain flour or 00
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 egg
  • zest from 1 unwaxed lemon
  • To decorate
  • 80g pine nuts
  • 10g butter
  • icing sugar, as needed

Prep:30min  ›  Extra time:30min chilling  ›  Ready in:1hr 

    For the custard filling:

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat combine the milk with the lemon zest and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat when the boiling point is reached and strain through a fine sieve; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat egg yolks until pale and frothy, about 5 minutes. Add sugar and sifted flour then pour in the heated milk, a little at the time, and stir with a whisk to prevent lumps.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and place over a medium heat, stirring continuously until the mixture thickens, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter. Place a sheet of baking parchment directly over the custard to prevent a typical yellow skin forming.
  4. For the shortcrust pastry:

  5. In a bowl combine the butter and sugar and mix with your fingertips. Stir in vanilla extract, baking powder, salt and sifted flour. Fold in 2 egg yolks, 1 whole egg and lemon zest and knead quickly with your hands to make a pastry ball. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven 180 C / Gas 4. Line a 24cm (2 to 3cm deep) quiche or tart tin with baking parchment.
  7. Remove the pastry from the fridge and turn out onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll out 2/3 of pastry to a thickness of about 5mm then transfer to the prepared quiche or tart tin and press gently into the base and sides to line. Prick the bottom with a fork and pour in the custard. Roll out the remaining pastry and cover the cake, pinching the edges to seal.
  8. To decorate:

  9. Soak pine nuts in water for 15 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Toast in a pan with 10g butter for 5 minutes or until fragrant. Remove from the heat and set aside. Sprinkle the top with toasted pine nuts.
  10. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Remove from the oven, allow to cool completely, then dust with icing sugar before serving.


To easily roll out the pastry: place it in between two sheets of baking parchment lightly dusted with flour and roll out with a rolling pin. If it's hot, place the pastry in the freezer for a couple of minutes before rolling out.

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