Torta Della Nonna
Thursday night I had an Italian Dining workshop and Torta Della Nonna was the dessert on the menu. The name means grandmother’s cake, and is a Tuscan and Roman classic. There are many variations – well, grandmothers vary don’t they! But are always a custard filling flavoured with citrus zest and often contain ricotta like this one. Some are just a pastry base but others are topped with pastry also. You will nearly always see some sort of Torta della Nonna on sale in pastry shops – they generally look like custard tarts or flans.
The beauty of holding workshops often means there is ‘stuff’ left over so with some pastry and pastry cream left I was able to make a few individual tarts. Most fitting for the Torta Della Nonna I used my Nan’s very original tart dishes which must be at least 40 years old which I remember her using when I was a child.
The quanties below will make a 26cm flan dish
Ingredients – Pastry
- 180g of flour
- 110g butter
- 1 egg
- 50g of icing sugar.
Method – Pastry
- Preheat oven on ‘bake’ to 180C.
- Flour a 24cm – 26cm tart tin
- Place the flour, sugar & butter in a bowl.
- Work the ingredients together until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs.
- Add the egg and bring dough together then flatten slightly.
- Rest dough in fridge for 20 minutes before rolling out.
- Roll out thinly to fit pastry tart tin
Ingredients – ricotta cream:
- 250g of ricotta
- 3 eggs & 2 yolks
- 300ml of milk (room temperature, not straight from the fridge)
- 60 g of plain white flour
- seeds of one vanilla pod
- 150g of sugar.
- Zest of one orange
- 100g Pine-nuts to decorate.
Method – ricotta cream
- In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, sugar and vanilla seeds.
- Sift in the flour and whisk whilst adding it.
- Add the milk and whisk again to combine.
- Put the mixture in a pan on a low heat and stir continuously until it starts to thicken.
- Add the ricotta & orange zest to the custard, mix and pour into the pastry case.
- Sprinkle top with pine-nuts.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes.
- Serve dusted with icing sugar.