TORTA DELLA NONNA. ITALIAN GRANDMOTHER’S CAKE RECIPE

Torta della Nonna.  Italian Grandmother’s Cake Recipe.

It’s time to bake another classic Italian dessert, originally from the Tuscan area called Torta della Nonna, or grandma’s cake in Italian version. This jewel of Italian pastry is perfect for any occasion and combines a shortcrust pastry base (or Italian butter pasta frolla), with a luscioous Italian pastry cream filling, topped with crunchy pine nuts and powdered sugar. 

Un trozo de pastel cubierto de migas con un tenedor sobre un plato blanco. El pastel se adorna con azúcar en polvo y piñones, con porciones de pastel adicionales al fondo.

Torta della Nonna has its roots in Tuscany, its name suggests that it is a traditional Italian recipe passed down from generation to generation by grandmothers, but it is rumored that this cake was created in the 1950s by a Florentine chef named Guido Samorini, who worked in a restaurant in Florence. It is believed that Samorini invented this Italian cake looking for a simple recipe that would please all his diners and used local ingredients such as pine nuts. 

Un pastel entero con una porción retirada por un servidor de pastel. El pastel tiene una superficie texturizada y parece estar cubierto con rodajas de nueces. La superficie alrededor del pastel es blanca con un patrón de mármol.

How is Torta della Nonna made?

Torta della Nonna is a delicious Italian custard tart, that combines a shortcrust pastry base with a homemade custard filling and a topping of pine nuts and powdered sugar. It is a dessert that perfectly balances the softness of the filing with the crunchy texture of the base and the topping. As with all “grandmother’s cakes” or traditional recipes, its preparation is simple and does not require great culinary skills, but it does require a little bit of patience. 

Se prepara una masa de tarta en un molde para tarta estriado, junto a una olla que contiene un relleno cremoso, todo sobre una superficie de tela rayada.

Steps to bake our Italian grandmother’s cake: 

1. Preparation of the shortcrust pastry or pasta frolla (pastry dough)that we will divide into two portions to obtain the base and the covering of our cake. We can prepare the shortcrust pastry the day before baking our cake and keep it in the refrigerator.

Ingredientes para hornear sobre un paño rayado: un limón, dos huevos, tazones de harina, azúcar y mantequilla, un tarro de leche y un recipiente con levadura en polvo.

2. Preparation of the homemade pastry cream (Italian crema pasticcera, made with egg yolks, lemon and cinnamon) the perfect homemade cream to fill our Italian pie.

Ingredientes para una receta sobre un mantel rayado: un cuenco de harina, un cuenco de azúcar, un limón, un recipiente pequeño de vainilla, un cuenco con yemas de huevo y un vaso medidor con leche.

3. Baking our della nonna cake, we will assemble the cake with a layer of shortcrust pastry, the pastry cream filling and an additional layer of shortcrust pastry as topping, which we will decorate with pine nuts. We can bake this traditional Tuscan dessert the same day we are going to eat it, but it is advisable to let it cool for a few hours before eating.

Una base de pastel cruda y sin hornear rellena con una mezcla suave y cremosa de color beige. El pastel está sobre un paño de rayas blancas y verdes.
Tarta redonda con relleno crudo, espolvoreada con piñones, colocada en un molde para tarta acanalado sobre un paño rayado.
Un pastel redondo, de color marrón dorado, cubierto con piñones, se encuentra sobre una rejilla para enfriar sobre un paño rayado.

4. Decorate: once cooled, we must decorate our torta della nonna with powdered sugar. This way we will have the original version of this beautiful Italian pine nut cake. 

Una masa redonda horneada con una corteza dorada, cubierta con azúcar en polvo y piñones espolvoreados, se asienta sobre una superficie de mármol blanco.

How to preserve our Torta della Nonna or Italian custard pie: Practical Tips

The ideal is to consume the Torta della Nonna the same day you bake it after letting it cool for a few hours. This way you will enjoy the crunchy texture of its shortcrust pastry that contrasts and combines perfectly with the creaminess of its cream filling.

Un plato con una tarta de almendras en rodajas cubierta con azúcar glass y piñones.

However, if you have leftover portions of cake I recommend you follow the following steps to preserve it: 

Cool completely: Before storing the cake, make sure it has cooled completely to room temperature.

Cover tightly: Wrap the torta della nonna with plastic wrap or place it in an airtight container to prevent it from absorbing odors from the refrigerator.

Shelf life: Stored in the refrigerator, Torta della Nonna will keep fresh for 2-3 days.

Tres rebanadas de pastel cubierto de almendras en platos blancos, con una rebanada en un servidor de pastel que dice "La felicidad es pan comido" sobre una superficie de mármol. Se colocan dos tenedores al lado de las rodajas.

I personally do not recommend freezing the torta della nonna, as its custard filling will lose its creamy texture. 

Se coloca una rebanada de tarta de almendras sobre un plato de madera, sobre el fondo de una estantería llena de varios libros.

Torta della Nonna  Italian Grandmother's Cake Recipe

It's time to bake another classic Italian dessert, originally from the Tuscan area called Torta della Nonna, or grandma's cake in Italian version. This jewel of Italian pastry is perfect for any occasion and combines a shortcrust pastry base (or Italian butter pasta frolla), with a luscioous Italian pastry cream filling, topped with crunchy pine nuts and powdered sugar. 
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Cake, frolla, pine nuts
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 45 minutes
Chill in the refrigerator 2 hours
Total Time 3 hours 45 minutes
Servings 8 people
Calories 402.36kcal
Author Laura Fernández
Cost 10$

Equipment

  • Food processor or Kitchen Aid
  • Rolling Pin
  • Tart pan 9-11 inches
  • Saucepan
  • Oven
  • Fridge

Ingredients

Pastry dough

  • 2 cups All purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup Unsalted butter Cut into cubes
  • 1 tbsp Unsalted butter Cut into cubes
  • 1/2+1/3 cups Powdered sugar
  • 1 unit Egg
  • 1 unit Egg yolk
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • Lemon zest
  • 1 pinch Salt

Custard filling

  • 2 cups Whole milk
  • 5 unit Egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup White sugar
  • 1/4 cup Cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp Cornstarch
  • Lemon peel
  • 1 stick Cinnamon
  • 1 pod Vanilla Optional

Decoration

  • Pine nuts
  • Icing sugar

Instructions

Prepare the pastry dough

  • In a food processor, Thermomix or KitchenAid, mix the cubed cold butter with the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, lemon zest, salt and baking powder) until a sandy texture is obtained (do not beat too much).
  • Then add the egg and the egg yolk to the flour mixture and mix again for a few seconds.
  • Pour the mixture of our pasta frolla or shortcrust pastry on a lightly floured work surface and make a ball with the dough until we get a homogeneous dough with the help of our hands because when we stop beating the shortcrust pastry will have a slightly sandy texture.
  • Divide the dough in two, for the base of our della nonna cake and for the topping, stretch slightly with the help of a rolling pin both halves of the shortcrust pastry, cover with plastic wrap separately and chill for at least two hours in the refrigerator. It is not necessary to roll out the dough with a rolling pin before chilling, but it will make it easier to work with the base and covering of the cake.

Prepare the custard filling or crema pasticcera

  • In a medium saucepan, heat the milk with half of the sugar, t the cinnamon stick and lemon peel (or vanilla bean or vanilla extract if you prefer) until it begins to boil and remove from heat.
  • In a medium bowl, beat the egg yolks with the second half of the sugar and the cornstarch.
  • Pour a small amount of the warm milk over the egg yolk mixture and whisk again (the mixture will be lukewarm at this point).
  • Then stir the mixture together with the milk in the saucepan while whisking over medium heat until it has thickened (if you have a cooking thermometer you can check the temperature and remove the mixture from the heat before it reaches 85 degrees Celsius).
  • Remove the custard from the heat and let it cool in a large bowl with cling film in contact with the cream to protect the surface.

Assemble our Torta della Nonna

  • We prepare our tart pan or pie pan of approximately 9-11 inches in diameter with baking paper and / or release spray.
  • Place half of the shortcrust pastry that we have chilled in the refrigerator with the help of a rolling pin and line half the surface of a removable curly tart pan. It will not be a problem if it is unmoldable because the creamy filling (crema pasticciera) will be thick when cooling and will not escape from the springform pan.
  • Pour the pastry cream filling that we have allowed to cool over the shortcrust pastry.
  • Place the second half of dough on the surface of the custard to cover the cake sealing the edges with the help of a fork or with your fingers.
  • Place the raw  pine nuts on top crust to decorate  our torta surface.
  • Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the surface of the dough has a nice golden brown.
  • Let our cake cool before unmolding to prevent the shortcrust pastry from breaking, there is no strict resting time, but at least 2 hours.
  • Sprinkle some icing sugar on top of the tart and enjoy your delicious cake!
Tres rebanadas de pastel de almendras en platos con tenedores, una rebanada sostenida con una mano sobre una superficie de mármol.
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Comparte esta receta / Sharing is caring

2024-06-30

4 Comments

  1. Hice la tarta y me quedó divina, gracias por la receta. Un abrazo

     
  2. I’ve made it and we enjoy it a lot! Thank you for this traditional dessert that will stay at my home.

     
  3. This torta della nonna is delicious. I love the crunchy texture of the pine nuts and the pastry cream reminds me of the family desserts of a lifetime.

     
  4. This torta della nonna it’s a delicious treat. I love pine nuts and I like in this dessert with custard cream. I’ll baking more times. A big hug!

     

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