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Torta della Nonna

Torta della Nonna

Torta della Nonna

Torta della Nonna in Italian literally translates to “Grandmother’s Cake.” It is a very popular dessert in the Tuscany region and is quite simple to make. Start by making the sweet pastry dough and the lemon pastry cream. Both are easy to make and can be prepared days before you bake the Torta.

Torta della Nonna

To make this Torta, I use either a 9-inch springform pan or a 9-inch scalloped tart pan with 1-inch sides. Just make sure the pan you use has a removable bottom. Two-thirds of the sweet pastry dough is rolled out to cover the bottom and sides of the pan and lemon-scented pastry cream is spread over the dough as shown above.


This non-stick coated 9-inch springform pan is great for this Torta della Nonna but can be used for everything from simple quick breads to cheesecakes. It also comes with 50 rounds of parchment paper to make removal of the finished product from the pan that much easier.

Torta della Nonna

The remaining third of the dough is rolled out into a circle large enough to cover the top of the pastry cream. 

Torta della Nonna

Cut off any excess dough from the sides and pinch the top and bottom doughs together with your finger tips as shown above.

Torta della Nonna

To prevent the pine nuts from burning in the oven, they are soaked in warm water for about 15 minutes. Drain the excess water and dry the pine nuts in paper towels. Sprinkle the pine nuts over the top crust, gently pressing them into the dough so they stick.

Torta della Nonna

Bake the Torta in a 350-degree F. oven for about 45 minutes. Cool it completely and sprinkle with powdered sugar, cut into wedges and serve with either whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Torta Della Nonna

Recipe by Michael SalmonCourse: DessertCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time




  • Sweet Pastry Dough (recipe below)

  • Lemon Pastry Cream (recipe below)

  • 1/2 cup pine nuts

  • 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar

  • Sweet Pastry Dough
  • 2 2/3 cup all purpose flour

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

  • 2 egg yolks

  • 3 Tablespoons ice water

  • Lemon Pastry Cream
  • 2 cups whole milk

  • juice and zest from 1 lemon

  • 1/4 cup cornstarch

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, soft


  • Spray a 9-inch scalloped tart pan or springform pan (with removable bottom and at least 1-inch sides) with vegetable spray and coat with flour.
  • Reserve 1/3 of the dough for the top. Lightly flour the remaining dough and roll out into a 12-inch circle (about 1/8-inch thick). Invert dough onto tart pan and form dough into the pan, evenly distributing the dough to form a 1/8-inch crust across the bottom and up the sides. With a fork, prick the dough all over.
  • To prevent the pine nuts from burning in the oven, soak them in 2 cups warm water for 15 minutes. Drain and dry.
  • Pour the chilled lemon pastry cream into the prepared dough shell, distributing it evenly.
  • Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
  • Roll out the remaining dough into a circle large enough to cover the tart pan and place gently on top of the pastry cream. Pinch the top and sides together to enclose the filling.
  • Sprinkle the top of the tart with the pine nuts, gently pressing them into the dough so they stick.
  • Bake the Torta in a 350-degree F. oven for about 45 minutes, or until it is golden brown all over.
  • Cool the Torta completely and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cut into wedges and serve.
  • Sweet Pastry Dough
  • Mix together the flour, sugar and salt.
  • Add the butter, and gently work into the dough until the butter is reduced to the size of rolled oats.
  • Add the egg yolk and water and mix until just combined.
  • Lemon Pastry Cream
  • Heat the milk and lemon zest to a simmer in a medium-sized saucepan. Strain and discard the lemon zest.
  • In a bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, sugar and salt. Whisk in the eggs.
  • Slowly temper the egg mixture by whisking some of the hot milk into the egg mixture. After half of the milk has been added to the egg mixture, whisk the egg mixture back into the remaining milk in the saucepan over medium heat. Whisk constantly until the pastry cream becomes really thick. Cook for 2 minutes after the mixture starts to bubble, stirring constantly. Transfer mixture to a bowl and let cool. Mix in the lemon juice, vanilla and butter.

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