The Torta della Nonna (Grandma’s Pie) is a yummy pie, filled with plenty of thick custard called Crema Pasticciera, sprinkled with pine nuts and icing sugar. The recipe was originally created by Guido Samorini around the mid-twentieth century.

What makes this pie so great is simplicity! I think if you have a favourite shortcut pastry and pastry cream recipe you have everything to prepare this dessert.


Shortcrust pastry

  • 250 g flour
  • 125 g sugar
  • 125 g butter
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Zest of one lemon or lime
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 2 handful of pine nuts for the top
  • Icing sugar for serving
  • 1 beaten egg for the egg-wash

Pastry cream

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 100 g sugar
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp corn starch or gluten-free flour
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 250 ml double cream
  • 400 ml milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste or the seeds of a vanilla pod


Shortcrust pastry

  1. Place the pine nuts into the water with ice for about half an hour, then dry them on a piece of kitchen towel, so the nuts won't burn during the baking.
  2. Mix the egg yolks with the sugar by a hand mixer.
  3. Incorporate the other ingredients and mix them together till you get a combined dough.
  4. Wrap the dough into cling film and put it into the fridge for a few hours.
  5. Cut the dough to get a bigger and slightly smaller part.
  6. Roll the bigger part of the dough on a floured surface till you get a round shape that is about 0,5 cm thick.
  7. You can wrap the dough around your rolling pin till you transfer it to the lined pie mould. Cover the mould and create an edge from the dough.
  8. Fill the dough base with the cold cream filling, and try to heap more in the centre.
  9. Roll the smaller dough part to get a round shape and cover the cream, close the dough edges and poke the top crust layer by a fork at random places.
  10. Give it an egg wash then sprinkle with the pine nuts.
  11. Bake your pie at 160 °C for 30 minutes.
  12. After it cooled down completely, just sprinkle the top with icing sugar and serve the first slices.
  13. If the cream came out too soft, no worries! Just place the pie into the fridge, it will set a little bit!

Crema Pasticciera

  1. Heat up the cream and the milk with the vanilla paste till the mixture starts to boil.
  2. In the meantime mix the egg yolks with the sugar, then incorporate the flour and corn starch.
  3. Add half of the hot creamy milk into the egg-flour mixture and stir them for a minute in the mixing bowl.
  4. Slowly pour this mixture back into the pot to the other part of creamy, vanilla milk, stir it constantly till it thickens on medium heat.
  5. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the butter till it completely melts.
  6. Place the pot into and another one with ice water in, cover the surface of the cream with cling film, so a skin won't form on the top.
  7. Let the cream cool down till room temperature, then it's ready to fill the short pastry base with it.


I support the 'Cake for breakfast' movement :) so I suggest you enjoy your morning with a big slice of Italy on your plate!

Torta Della Nonna - Italian Custard Tart Recipe - Photo by © Reka Csulak

Torta Della Nonna - Italian Custard Tart Recipe - Photo by © Reka Csulak


As a result of an inspiring collaboration, Sasha O'Connor from Lively Bakery prepared the gluten and dairy-free version of this recipe. For the recipe, simply send a message to Sasha. Click here to see my choice in this recipe exchange.

Gluten And Dairy Free Version - Photo by © Sasha O'Connor

Gluten And Dairy Free Version - Photo by © Sasha O'Connor

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