September 6, 2017

Torta della Nonna, the perfect way to bring the summer days back home


Back home, September is already here, and autumn is slowly coming. While I am happy of going back to everyday’s life, I still cannot help but missing the summer days sometimes. There’s a mixture of feelings afterwards, but I enjoy it somehow because I have to use my creativity to combine the joy of being at home with the longing for the dolce vita. So I went for a neighborhood walk in a stormy day and took some time to appreciate its beauty and nuances, the prelude to autumn, which you can feel so near, and then at home I decided to bake a torta della nonna, because it is such a pleasant feeling when you have a dish which evokes some of the fond memories of a time already gone while you already start to get excited about the next season.

Torta della Nonna


  • Shortcrust Pastry:
  • 200 gr. butter, chilled and cut into cubes
  • 300 gr. flour (sifted!)
  • 2 gr. salt (dissolved in a spoon of cold water)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 75 gr. icing sugar
  • 40 gr. acacia honey
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • grated lemon zest (optional)
  • Filling:
  • 500 gr. milk
  • 200 gr. egg yolks
  • 50 gr. cornstarch
  • 150 gr. sugar
  • 1 vanille pod
  • 1 lemon zest
  • Topping
  • 100 gr. pine nuts
  • 1 egg white, beaten
  • Icing sugar


  1. Mix the butter, the icing sugar and the honey in a food processor (I use my KA, slow speed).
  2. Add the yolk, the salt, the vanilla seeds and the lemon zest (optional).
  3. Incorporate the sifted flour and mix until the butter mixture absorbs the flour and the dough comes together. It is important not to over work the dough.
  4. Afterwards flatten the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic film. Leave the dough to rest in the fridge for at least two hours.
  5. Put an empty bowl in the freezer and let it rest there until the custard is finished. This step will help to cool down the custard faster.
  6. In a pot, bring the milk, the vanilla seeds and lemon zest just below the simmering point. Afterwards allow the mixture to cool down ann infuse for 15 minutes.
  7. In another bowl beat the yolks with the sugar until pale and fluffy, add the cornstarch and mix well to avoid any lump.
  8. Gently pour in the bowl a little bit of the milk mixture using a sieve to collect the lemon zest & vanille pod. Mix everything with a whisk and incorporate the rest of the milk. Return the mixture to the pot and cook over low heat stirring constantly with a whisk or a wooden spoon until thickened. Once off the heat, stir well until smooth and shiny.
  9. Take the bowl out of the freezer and pour the filling into. Add a little bit of sugar on top - this way you won't need to cover the the bowl with a plastic film to prevent crust formation, since the sugar will help the surface to remain humid. Put in the fridge and let it rest for about five to ten minutes.
  10. Preheat your oven to 160°C.
  11. Divide the pastry into two portions, one slightly larger than the other. Roll each of them between two sheets of parchment paper to 2-3mm thick and put the smaller one back in the fridge.
  12. Line the base of the tin with the larger piece of dough, creating a 3cm rim to put the custard in. Let it rest in the fridge for 15 minutes.
  13. Take the tin and the custard out of the fridge, pour the custard into and then take the smaller portion of pastry dough to cover the custard base. Trim the edges and make sure the custard is well enclosed in the pastry.
  14. Brush the top with egg white and sprinkle the pine nuts on top.
  15. Bake for 40-50 minutes until golden.
  16. Cool completely in the tin, release the base, dust generously with icing sugar and leave it to rest in the fridge for at least 4 hours.






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