I love Torta della Nonna so much and after eating various versions in Italy – some moist, some dry, some more cakey, some more like a tart, I think I have perfected a recipe that gives you a lovely buttery delicate but still easy-to-manage pie crust and a filling that will FILL you house with the aroma of sweet nutty tangy HEAVEN. Just be so careful to avoid burning your nuts on top. Pine nuts are so expensive that there’s nothing more heartbreaking than burnt pinoli! 🙁
Mix 400g of plain flour with 100g of icing sugar and a pinch of salt. Chop 250g of butter into cubes and work the butter into the flour with your fingertips. When it resembles breadcrumbs, add 2 egg yolks and a teaspoon of finely grated lemon zest and mix well. Roll the dough into a ball, cover tightly with cling wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Meanwhile, in a bowl whisk 3 eggs, then add 150ml of cream, the juice and zest of one lemon, a tablespoon of vanilla bean paste, 140g of castor sugar, 80g of plain flour and 1/2 cup of pinenuts.
Take your pastry dough from the fridge, knead it gently for a few minutes and then roll out it out very thin. Grease a 9-inch tart pan and press the pastry into the edges. I don’t par-bake my pastry so you need to make sure it’s very thin so it will cook through. For best results, I also place the tart shell in the fridge to firm up the butter before filling it with the lemon and pinenut cream. Once you pour the filling into the tart shell, layer the remaining pastry over the top and pinch the edges of the pastry lid to join them with the pastry case. Top with extra pinenuts and cook at 180degrees for about 45 minutes. You may need to cover the top with alfoil in the last 20 minutes to protect the top from burning.
When cooled, dust with icing sugar.