Torta della nonna (in translation from Italian: Grandmother’s cake) in a classic Italian dessert that is made of shortcrust pastry, filled with pastry cream and topped with pine nuts. This Italian custard pie is a pretty unique dessert for me. And I recommend you to try it.
- 2½ cups (315g) Flour
- 1/2 cup (100g) Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Baking powder
- 3/4 cup (175g) Butter, cold
- 1 Egg + egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon Lemon zest
- 1/4 teaspoon Salt
- 4 Egg yolks (large)
- 125g Sugar
- 35g Cornstarch/flour
- 2½ cups (600ml) Milk
- 2 teaspoons Vanilla bean paste
- Lemon zest from one lemon
- 40g Pine nuts
- Powdered sugar
- Make the filling (pastry cream): in a large bowl, combined egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch. Whisk until light and creamy. Set aside.
- In a saucepan pour milk, add lemon zest, vanilla bean paste and bring to a simmer.
- Temper the eggs by slowly pour the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture, while constantly whisking. Strain the milk mixture back into the saucepan. Put the saucepan over medium heat, cook, while constantly whisking, until thickens. Remove from heat, cover with plastic wrap and allow to cool.
- Make the pastry: in a food processor (or a hand dough blender), blend flour, baking powder, sugar, lemon zest and salt. Add butter and pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the eggs and pulse until dough forms (if needed add 1-2 teaspoons of water).
- Wrap the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.
- Soak the pine nuts in water.
- Preheat oven to 320ºF/160ºC.
- Divide the dough into two pieces (one a bit larger). Roll the larger piece into a 2mm-thick circle that is large enough to cover the bottom and sides of a 9-inch (23cm) tin, about 12-inch (30cm) in diameter. Transfer the dough to a tart tin. Evenly press the pastry onto the bottom and up the sides of your pan. Trim off the excess dough off the top of the pan. Gently pierce the bottom of the crust with a fork.
- Pour chilled cream into the pastry shell. Spread evenly.
- Roll the remaining pastry into a thin circle that is large enough to cover the top of the tart. Trim excess dough and pinch the top and bottom edges together. Gently pierce the dough with a fork, then brush the dough with egg white.
- Drain the pine nuts and sprinkle over the tart.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Allow to cool completely, then refrigerate for at least two hours before serving. Before serving dust with powdered sugar.