Recipe tips: Torta della nonna

So far I have not met anyone who has not succumbed to this cake subito. He is the edible one equivalent security on the blossoming bosom of the nun, the beloved grandmother. Easy on the palate, creamy in texture, uncomplicated but all-round amusement.

This cake originates from Tuscany, and has conquered all of Italy and is also on Sardinia extremely popular – a classic dolce after a Sunday lunch. Torta della nonna, “grandmother’s cake”, is another tribute simple and familiar flavors old days. It consists of confectionery cream with citrus flavor in a double layer of dough (actually a pie) and served with pine nuts decorated. The topping is unusual here, as most cakes with cream filling are open on top. But the tactile contrast between the thick, fruity cream filling and two layers of crispy, tender dough is pure pleasure, and the double.

My custard makes a larger amount than some recipes require, but I just hate being stingy when it comes to custard. For this reason, I use a cake tin with a higher edge, such as a springform pan.

For the dough

ingredients (12 people)



Wheat flour Tipo 00 (alternatively type 405)


whole eggs plus 1 egg yolk

grated peel of 1 lemon (organic), plus 1 teaspoon of juice

  • For the dough, process flour, powdered sugar, salt and butter in a hand mixer equipped with a mixer until it has a consistency like fine breadcrumbs.
  • Add eggs, egg yolk, vanilla and lemon zest and knead everything quickly together into a dough.
  • Take out of the bowl and form into two equal slices, wrap each in cling film and cool.

For the cream filling

ingredients (12 people)



lemon peel (organic)



Egg yolk (equivalent to approx. 5-6 egg yolks, size M)

  • For the cream filling, heat the milk with lemon zest in a saucepan just below boiling point.
  • Meanwhile, in a heatproof bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar with a whisk until light and fluffy. Stir in the cornstarch, and set aside.
  • Carefully pour the heated milk (as soon as small bubbles appear around the edges) into an even stream into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly.
  • Put it all back in the saucepan and let it thicken on a low level while stirring constantly until the cream sticks to the back of the spoon. The consistency should be reminiscent of solid mayonnaise, and it hardens a little as it cools.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the cream immediately to another container to cool. Fish out and discard the lemon peel. Apply a layer of food film directly on the cream to prevent the formation of skin. Then allow to cool completely.

For completion

ingredients (12 people)


Eggs, whipped or a little milk to brush the surface

Powdered sugar for dust

  • Preheat the oven to 170 ° C. Grease a cake or pie tin with a diameter of 23 cm, 5 cm high.
  • Roll out one of the two cooled dough slices to a thickness of 2-3 mm and coat the mold with it.
  • Cool and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes. Place a sheet of baking paper and baked beans on top and blind bake for 13-15 minutes until golden and tender. (More information on blind baking on page 236). Remove and allow to cool.
  • Spread the cooled cream on the cooled pastry base. If the cream is lumpy or if a skin, tube or strainer has formed shortly before it is applied. Roll out the second sheet of dough and place it over the filling. Cut off the excess and press the “lid” down with your fingers on the edge.
  • Prick the surface several times with a fork and brush with beaten egg or milk. Bake for about 30 minutes, then open the oven door briefly to spread the pine nuts over the cake (they should be golden, but not brown). Close the oven and bake the cake for another 20-25 minutes until both the dough and the pine nuts are golden.
  • Let the cake cool, it tastes best at room temperature. Serve with powdered sugar.

La Vita and Dolce

© DK Verlag

La Vita è Dolce. Cantuccini, Cannoli & Cassata – the world of Italian desserts.
Letitia Clark
DK publishing house
272 pages
29.95 euros

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