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5 from 1 vote

Torta della Nonna

Torta della Nonna is the most delicious Italian custard tart made with sweet shortcrust pastry, Italian pastry cream (crema pasticcera), and topped with pine nuts. An elegant and beautiful dessert for any occasion.
Prep Time1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time2 hrs 30 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 291kcal
Author: Emily Kemp


  • 7-8 inch tart pan


Shortcrust pastry (Pasta Frolla)

  • 2 cups flour 00 flour or all-purpose (250g)
  • ½ cup caster sugar golden or white (80g)
  • 8.5 tablespoon cold butter cubed (120g)
  • 1 large egg
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 pinch of salt

Pastry cream (Crema Pasticcera)

  • 5 egg yolks
  • 2.5 cups milk (590ml)
  • ¼ cup cornstarch (30g)
  • cup sugar (70g)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla paste or 1 vanilla bean *see notes below


  • ¼ cup pine nuts (30g)
  • confectioners sugar for dusting (icing sugar UK)


To make the pastry cream filling

  • Warm the milk in a saucepan with the vanilla then set aside.
  • In a bowl whisk the egg yolks and sugar just until combined. Add the cornstarch (cornflour UK) and mix it into the eggs until combined
  • Slowly pour the warm milk into the bowl with the eggs constantly whisking until everything is mixed together (make sure the milk is just warm and not hot so the eggs don’t scramble).
  • Once combined pour the mixture back into the saucepan you warmed the milk in.
  • Heat it on a low heat stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for 10 minutes until very thick.
  • Once thickened pour the pastry cream into a clean bowl and place plastic wrap directly on top of the cream so a skin doesn’t form.
  • Once cooled completely place the bowl in the fridge until ready to use.

To make the pastry

  • Sift the flour into a large bowl then add the rest of the dry ingredients including the lemon zest, stir to combine.
  • Add the egg and butter and cut it into the flour mixture with a spatula or pastry scraper to form rough crumbs.
  • Start to bring the mixture together with your hands to form a dough. Knead the pastry until all the flour is fully absorbed and it becomes a smooth ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  • After the dough has chilled remove from the fridge and dust a clean work surface with flour. Roll out using a rolling pin until ¼ inch (½ cm) thick.
  • Grease a 7-8 inch tart or pie pan with butter then lay the pastry over the pan tucking in the sides until it fits evenly. Roll the rolling pin over the tart case to cut the edges (you can also trim the edge with a knife).
  • Prick the base with a fork then place back in the fridge for 30 minutes.

To assemble

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350F/180C.
  • Soak the pine nuts in water for 5 mins.
  • Remove the pastry case from the fridge and fill with the cooled pastry cream, spread out evenly.
  • Scatter over the pine nuts then bake in the oven for 50 minutes or until slightly golden on top.
  • Remove from the oven and let it sit for 5 minutes then remove the tart from the case and place on a cooling rack to cool completely. Serve once cooled or place in the fridge until ready to serve.



  • Vanilla - Instead of vanilla paste, you can use 1 whole vanilla pod with the inside scraped out and added to the milk (remove the pod when adding the milk to the egg) or 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
  • Prep in advance - You can prepare the pastry cream and shortcrust pastry in advance they'll last well in the fridge stored separately for around 4-5 days.
  • Full fat milk - Use full-fat milk to make the pastry cream so it's super creamy and thick. Lower fat milk won't thicken as well.
  • Use cold butter - Make sure to use cold butter to make a successful shortcrust pastry. Also see our thorough guide on Italian shortcrust pastry.
  • Pine nuts - Make sure to soak the pine nuts for 5 minutes to stop them browning too quickly in the oven.
  • Let it cool - Make sure to let the tart cool completely so the custard sets.


Calories: 291kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 121mg | Sodium: 208mg | Potassium: 119mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 458IU | Calcium: 80mg | Iron: 1mg