Torta alla Nonna

, from Issue #103. May, 2022
Photography by Josh Griggs.
Torta alla Nonna

I first tasted torta alla nonna in Paris – which is ironic given the dessert is Italian... either way, it was love at first bite!

Serves: 8


180 grams butter, at room temperature, roughly chopped
2½ cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ cup icing sugar
pinch salt
finely grated zest 1 lemon
2 large egg yolks
1 large egg

2 cups whole milk
finely grated zest 1 lemon
6 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup caster sugar
3 tablespoons cornflour
1 tablespoon plain flour
½ cup ricotta

To bake and serve
1/3 cup pine nuts
2 tablespoons icing sugar
softly whipped cream

EQUIPMENT: Grease a 23cm fluted, loose-based tart tin, which needs to be at least 3cm deep.


PASTRY: Whizz the butter, flour, baking powder, icing sugar, salt and zest in a food processor, just until it forms 'breadcrumbs'. Add the egg yolks and whole egg and pulse until it comes together in a clumpy ball. Tip out onto a lightly floured bench and roll into a fat log. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge. While it chills, prepare the filling.

FILLING: Heat the milk and zest in a saucepan over a medium heat until it just starts to simmer. Meanwhile, whisk together the yolks, vanilla, sugar, cornflour and flour in a bowl until the mixture is completely smooth. Once the milk is simmering, add half of it to the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Pour the egg mixture back into the remaining milk and keep whisking over the heat until the custard is very thick and smooth. Remove from the heat, pour into a container, cover the surface with plastic wrap and chill. Once chilled, stir through the ricotta.

TO BAKE AND SERVE: Remove the pastry from the fridge and let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes while you preheat the oven to 170°C fan bake.

Cut the pastry into 2 pieces, one 2/3 of the whole and one 1/3. Roll out the larger piece to a circle 30cm across and press into the tin, bringing it up the sides. Pour in the chilled custard and smooth the top. Roll out the second piece of pastry to a circle 23cm across. Place over the custard and gently press the top and sides together around the rim to seal. Sprinkle with the pine nuts and bake for 40-45 minutes, until golden. Serve at room temperature with a dusting of icing sugar and a generous blob of cream.

The rich toffee apple and caramelised citrus layers of the Alpha Domus AD Hawke’s Bay Noble Selection 375ml ($41) are darn lovely with this torta. Zesty, luxurious and a total treat to drink.

Alpha Domus