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torta della nonna

How can you not love a tart named after a grandmother, “torta della nonna” or Grandmother’s tart? A classic dessert found mostly in Florence with few ingredients but full of wonderful buttery flavor.  The simplicity of many Italian desserts, slightly crumbly, not overly sweet sits in contrast to French patisserie.  But these desserts balance well with a strong shot of espresso after a meal, or a mid afternoon pick me up.

You can make the pastry, and I’ve included recipe, or you can purchase a good quality frozen pastry crust.  The recipe is from the beautiful cookbook by Emiko Davies called Florentine.

torta della nonna

How can you not love a tart named after a grandmother, “torta della nonna” or Grandmother’s tart? A classic dessert found mostly in Florence with few ingredients but full of wonderful buttery flavor.  The simplicity of many Italian desserts, slightly crumbly, not overly sweet sits in contrast to French patisserie.  But these desserts balance well with a strong shot of espresso after a meal, or a mid afternoon pick me up.

You can make the pastry, and I’ve included recipe, or you can purchase a good quality frozen pastry crust.  The recipe is from the beautiful cookbook by Emiko Davies called Florentine.

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Ingredients

Recipe serves: 8
sweet shortcrust pastry
6 3/4 ounces (187.5 grams) unsalted butter, very cold
13.5 ounces ( 375 grams) plain flour
4 1/4 ounces (120 grams) sugar
1 egg, plus 1 egg yolk, beaten
zest of 1 lemon
pastry cream
4 egg yolks
4 1/2 ounces (120 grams) sugar
1 ounce (30 grams) cornstarch
2 cups (500 ml) warm milk
1/2 vanilla pod, seed scraped (you can also use lemon zest or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
finish
1/3 cup (50 grams) pine nuts
1 short crust pastry (enough to line you tart pan, you may use 1 1/2 store bought versions)
milk or water for brushing
confectioner' sugar for dusting
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torta della nonna
  • time
    1 hour 30 minutes
  • serves
    8
  • skill level
    Medium

Ingredients

  • sweet shortcrust pastry

  • pastry cream

  • finish

  • milk or water for brushing

Directions

1
Done

In a small saucepan begin to gently heat your milk over a low flame. You do not want/need it to boil. Add your scraped out vanilla seeds (along with pod for extra flavor), vanilla extract or lemon. Stir gently and keep warm until it's needed.

2
Done

shortcrust pastry

Chop the cold butter into small pieces.

3
Done

In a food processor, pulse the flour, sugar, and butter until it's the consistency of crumbly sand, and there are no more visible pieces of butter.

4
Done

Mix in the beaten egg and egg yolk, lemon zest until the pastry comes together in a smooth ball. Remove from food processor, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. You can also make this a day ahead and refrigerate until ready to use.

5
Done

pastry cream

In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the egg yolk and sugar until pale yellow in color.

6
Done

Stir in the cornstarch.

7
Done

Place the mixture in a medium saucepan over low heat, little by little add the warm milk, stirring constantly.

8
Done

Stir continuously with a wooden spoon for 10 minutes or until the mixture becomes smooth and thick similar to a mayonnaise. Do not let it boil, and adjust heat constantly to keep an even temperature.

9
Done

Cool the pastry cream in an ice bath to avoid the top creating a skin. Refrigerate until ready to use.

10
Done

finishing

Soak the pine nuts in water for 10 minutes. This will prevent them from burning in the oven

11
Done

Preheat oven to 350F..

12
Done

Roll out two-thirds of the pastry dough in a 9-inch (23 cm) pie tart.

13
Done

Place parchment paper over the crust, and pour on pastry weights (also called baking beads). You can also use uncooked rice or dried beans.

14
Done

Blind bake for 10 minutes, remove from oven and carefully dispose of parchment paper, and the rice or beans. You can reuse baking beads. Allow pastry to cool.

15
Done

Fill the cooked pie crust with pastry cream.

16
Done

Roll out remainder of dough in size bid enough to cover the tart, and place over the tart. Leave about 1/4 inch (5mm) over edge since the pastry will shrink. Trim the edges as needed.

17
Done

Brush the top with milk or water. Drain the pine nuts and scatter over the top crust.

18
Done

Bake for 40 minutes, or until top is golden brown. Every oven is different so make sure to check after 25 and 30 minutes.

19
Done

Cool the tart, and using a sieve, dust with confectioners sugar, serve at room temperature.