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Recipes of the tradition: Torta della Nonna

14-09-2018

We must admit that Tuscan cuisine is not renowned for its desserts, but the few that are part of the tradition are really special and delicious. One of them is the famous Torta della Nonna (Grandma’s Cake), everpresent on the tables of the Florentines.
With a name such as this we immediately imagine a grandmother wearing a floured apron and a rolling pin in her hand, while preparing this delicious cake, invented for her children and grandchildren. However, the origin of this dessert is not at all homely, and is a rather controversial one.
The paternity of the recipe is cointested by Liguria and Tuscany, and the latter seems to be the region where the cake had more success.
According to some, the recipe comes from Arezzo, while others claim that this cake is actually Florentine. It seems, in fact, that it was created for a bet by the chef Guido Samorini, in his restaurant, "San Lorenzo". A Some customers were tired of the few desserts that the typical cousine offered, and they asked him for a new surprise recipe for the following week. Samorini presented them a tasty cake made of two layers of pastry, filled with custard and sprinkled with pine nuts and powdered sugar. It was such a success that since then, the Torta della Nonna has not been removed from the menus of restaurants and the production of pastry shops. The Florentines, and all the other Tuscans, love it and we are sure that if you too will taste it, you will lick your fingers!
So preheat the oven and prepare the ingredients! Here is the recipe of the Torta della Nonna!

TORTA DELLA NONNA
Ingredients for 8 people

For the custard:
1/2 liter of milk
3 egg yolks
120 g of sugar
50 g of flour
16 g of vanilla powder
1 Lemon peel

For the shortcrust pastry:
350 g of flour
150 g of butter
130 g of sugar
1 egg + 2 egg yolks
1 lemon
salt

For the topping:
1 egg
Pine nuts
powdered sugar

Procedure for custard:
Beat the eggs and sugar in a bowl, then add the flour, vanilla powder and a pinch of salt. Continue to beat, to obtain a homogeneous mixture.
Put the mixture in a saucepan, separately heat the milk with a lemon zest and add it to the mixture over low heat, stirring.
Let it simmer a couple of minutes and remove from the heat, continuing to mix while it cools. Cover it with food film and let it rest.

Procedure for shortcrust pastry:
Whip the butter at room temperature with the sugar, then add the eggs, the flour, a teaspoon of grated lemon peel and a pinch of salt. Work the dough quickly with cold hands. It is important that the dough does not get warm.
When the dough is elastic and compact, make a ball with it and wrap it in the food film, let it cool in the refrigerator for at least half an hour.

Divide the dough into two parts, one a little larger than the other, then roll them out with a rolling pin until you produce a disk about 3 mm thick. The other dough, for the cover, must be thinner than the bottom.
Roll out the largest disc in a springform pan of about 23 cm diameter, buttered and floured, make holes in it with a fork and bake it for 15 minutes in a preheated oven at 200 ° C.
Remove the disc from the oven and let it cool, then pour in the custard.
Cover everything with the second shortcrust disc and seal the edges. Make some holes here as well and brush with a beaten egg, then cover the dough with pine nuts.
Bake in the oven at 240 ° C, heat only from the top, for about 15 minutes.
When the cake is ready, remove it from the oven, let it cool and sprinkle with icing sugar. It has to be tasted at room temperature!

Those of you with a very sweet tooth can add 150 g of dark chocolate in the custard and a sprinkle the top with cocoa powder for a variation called Torta del Nonno! Just as good, try it!

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