Torta Della Nonna Recipe

2 hours



  • 300g of 00 flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 130g of caster sugar
  • 150g of unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes (plus extra for greasing the tin)
  • 1 large egg, plus 1 egg yolk, lightly whisked
  • 1 unwaxed lemon, zested

Custard filling

  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 100g of caster sugar
  • 30g of 00 flour
  • 600ml of whole milk
  • 1 unwaxed lemon, zest peeled into thin strips
  • 1/2 vanilla pod, seeds scraped

To serve

  • 80g of pine nuts, rinsed in cold water
  • icing sugar, for dusting


Start by preparing the pastry. Combine the flour, baking powder and sugar in a large bowl and rub the butter into the flour using the tips of your fingers until you have a coarse, crumbly mixture. Add the egg, the yolk and the grated lemon zest, and knead until the dough comes together into a smooth ball. Wrap it in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for 1 hour
Meanwhile, make the custard. In a medium glass bowl, whisk the yolks with half of the sugar until the sugar has dissolved completely. Slowly add the flour and keep whisking until fully combined. Pour over 60ml of the milk, whisk it in and set the bowl aside temporarily
Place the rest of the milk in a saucepan with the rest of the sugar, the lemon zest strips and vanilla seeds. Set the saucepan over a low heat and bring to a slow simmer. Remove from the heat, discard the lemon zest and pour the hot milk over the custard base in the glass bowl in a thin stream, whisking continuously until smooth
Place the custard back in the saucepan and set it over a low heat. Cook the custard until dense and glossy, stirring frequently and trying not to scorch it (don't let it boil). Once thickened, remove the custard from the heat and place in a clean glass bowl
Set the bowl over an ice bath so the custard can cool more quickly. Cover the surface with cling film to prevent a skin forming and leave to cool to room temperature
Next, preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Butter and flour a 26cm deep tart tin and set it aside
Take the pastry out of the fridge and divide it into 2 pieces, one being 2/3 of the total. Roll the larger piece into a 2mm-thick circle that is large enough to cover the bottom and sides of the tin. Flip it onto the tin, press it with your fingertips so it sticks to the surface of the tin and cut off any overhanging. Pierce the surface all over with a fork
Fill the pastry shell with the cooled custard and level the top. Roll the remaining pastry into a thin circle that is large enough to cover the top of the tart completely. Trim any excess, then pinch the top and bottom edges together
Top the surface of the tart with the slightly damp pine nuts and press them down gently so as to make them adhere to the pastry
Bake the tart for 45 minutes, or until deeply golden all around. Allow the tart to cool completely before dusting it with icing sugar, slicing and serving