Monday, June 6, 2022

Authentic Italian Torta della Nonna (Custard Filled Tart)

Here is a Classic Italian Dessert: crumbly and soft pastry filled with rich and delicate custard cream, and topped with tasty pine nuts

I know I know, I have give you this recipe for Torta della Nonna before. But it was a few years ago, and I've upgraded some of the photos and video recipe.
So I thought: why not share this delicious recipe for this amazing custard filled dessert again?! 
It is after all one staple of Italian cuisine. And should be shared again and again. 

Just look at THIS!! 
Wanna make you grab that little fork and dig in, right?!? 
Photos can speak louder than words sometimes.

You might have heard before of the "torta della nonna" (Italian Grandma's cake). Or, if you are one of the lucky ones, you might have even tasted it. 
Simple, yet so delicate, rich and elegant. A mouth-watering fusion of vanilla flavor, nutty taste, with a hint of lemony aroma. 

This cake, that's more like a pie, is made with a soft and velvety Italian custard cream squooshed* between two layers of buttery and perfectly crumbly pastry dough. All topped with sweet pine nuts. 

*Squooshed: tenderly squeezed and gently smooshed ... In case you didn't know :)

And, if you are not a lover of pine nuts, you can always substitute with sliced almonds. 
Still amazing! 

As usual, I'm not just going to tell you how easy it is to make this dessert, but I'm going to show you with this quick video, and a recipe with step-by-step pictures.


You can serve this dessert by it-delectable-self, or next to some fresh berries. 
Looks delicious, right?!? 
After all (Italian) Grandmas know better :)

Other Italian dessert recipes you might like:


    Here are my step-by-step directions with photos. 

    Note: You can find the printable recipe card at the bottom. 

    Prepare the dough: in a food processor, add the flour, sugar, lemon zest, salt and the butter cut in pieces.
    Pulse until the mixture looks like a coarse meal. Add the vanilla extract,  eggs and mix only until the dough comes together.
    If by any chance the dough is too dry add a little bit (maybe one or two tablespoons) of milk. If too wet, add a bit of flour.
    Collect the dough and divide into two pieces, a large and  smaller piece (about 2/3 and 1/3).
    Make into two disks, wrap each separately in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour.
     Prepare the custard cream: place the lemon peel in the milk and warm up until hot, but not boiling. You can warm up in the microwave or in a small pan on the stove.
    In a sauce pan, add the egg yolks, flour, corn starch, sugar and vanilla extract.
    Whisk well until light and fluffy.
    Add a little bit of the hot milk (discarding the lemon peel) and whisk some more. Incorporate the rest of the milk, while whisking. Place the pan over medium heat and bring to a slow boil, while stirring. The cream will thickens so make sure it doesn't stick to the bottom. Lower the flame when it starts to bubble and cook for one or two more minutes, until it reaches the desired thickness.

    Pour the cream in a glass bowl, cover with plastic wrap. The plastic should touch the cream, so it won't become harder on top. Let it cool down.
    Preheat the oven to 350° F (175°C).
    Grease an 11 in (28 cm) tart pan with butter and flour (or spray). Roll out the larger dough first on a lightly floured surface to a circle of about 12 inches (30 cm) in diameter. Helping yourself with the rolling pin, move the dough to the tart pan. If the dough breaks, you can easily fix it with your fingers, so don't worry!  Trim the excess dough around the edges, or add little pieces if needed.
    Prick the bottom with a fork.

     Pour the custard cream in the tart shell and spread.
    Roll out the other pastry to right around 11 in (28 cm) circle, and place it on top of the tart. You need to be a little more carefully this time. Cut off any extra dough from the edges, and press the edges together to seal.
    Gently prick the top with a fork just a little. Brush the top with some milk and sprinkle with the pine nuts, pressing them down slightly with your fingers so that the nuts stick to the dough.
    Bake in lower third of the oven for about 45 minutes, until slightly golden on top and around the edges (some custard cream might spill out of the tart, I recommend placing a baking sheet or aluminum foil at the bottom of the oven to catch any spills!)

    Let it cool down at room temperature first, than one hour in the refrigerator before dusting  with powdered sugar, and cutting your first slice... for yourself, of course :) 
    Happy Baking!


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