Torta Della Nonna Recipe

Torta Della Nonna

The Spruce / Anita Schecter

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 50 mins
Chill Time: 60 mins
Total: 2 hrs 20 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
571 Calories
31g Fat
62g Carbs
13g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 571
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 31g 39%
Saturated Fat 14g 71%
Cholesterol 261mg 87%
Sodium 451mg 20%
Total Carbohydrate 62g 22%
Dietary Fiber 2g 5%
Total Sugars 31g
Protein 13g
Vitamin C 2mg 10%
Calcium 148mg 11%
Iron 3mg 18%
Potassium 247mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The torta della nonna (literally grandmother's cake in Italian) is a well-known classic Tuscan dessert. Despite the name, this dessert likely originated in a restaurant and not grandma's kitchen. The homespun name is more a nod to the simplicity of the recipe. Creamy, lemony cream is baked into a top and bottom crust made of sugary pastry, then topped with crunchy pine nuts and powdered sugar. The crunchy, nut-topped pastry and the soft creamy center make for a delicious combination in this tempting dessert.


For the Pastry Crust:

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon fine salt

  • 1 lemon, zested

  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1-inch pieces)

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 large egg yolk

For the Pastry Cream Filling:

  • 2 cups whole milk

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided

  • 5 large egg yolks

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 lemon, zested

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/8 teaspoon fine salt

For the Topping:

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Make the pastry crust. Add the all-purpose flour, baking powder, granulated sugar, salt, lemon zest, and unsalted butter to a food processor.

  3. Pulse a few times until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

  4. Add the egg and egg yolk and pulse until a dough ball forms. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.

  5. Make the custard. Add the whole milk and 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar to a pot over medium heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved.

  6. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, remaining 1/4 cup of granulated sugar, the vanilla, lemon zest, flour, and salt.

  7. Temper the egg mixture by adding a ladle full of the hot milk into the bowl and whisking well. Then, pour the egg mixture into the pot with the rest of the milk and return to the heat while quickly whisking.

  8. Continue cooking for another couple of minutes until the mixture begins to thicken. Pour through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl, cover the surface of the custard with plastic wrap (to prevent a skin forming) and allow to cool, at room temperature, while the pastry dough chills.

  9. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Divide the chilled pastry into two pieces with one being about a third larger than the other.

  10. On a well-floured surface, roll the larger piece into about a 12-inch circle and drape it into a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.

  11. Pour in the chilled pastry cream.

  12. Roll out the second, smaller piece of dough to about a 10-inch circle and drape it over the top of the tart. Pinch the top and bottom dough ends together and trim off the excess.

  13. Sprinkle the lightly damp pine nuts on top of the crust and press them down gently. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the pastry is lightly golden brown.

  14. Allow the tart to cool completely before dusting with confectioners' sugar and serving.


  • Leaving the pine nuts slightly damp will help keep them from burning while baking. You can also bake the tart without the pine nuts on top. Toast them separately for a few minutes in a hot cast iron pan and sprinkle over the baked tart instead.

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