The Musette: Torta della Nonna

Torta della Nonna is a classic Italian pastry but this is my much simpler, more rustic version. The base pastry is a light but crispy oil shortbread, while the filling is obviously made of custard with almonds (or pine nuts) on top.

Feel free to customise Torta della Nonna by adding all manner of ingredients from whipped cream to chocolate chips.

You can keep any uneaten torta  – as if! – wrapped in foil in the fridge for a few days.

Ingredients (serves 6)


  • 1 large organic egg
  • 150g (5 oz) golden caster sugar
  • 100 ml (1/2 cup) vegetable oil
  • 1 organic lemon, juice and zest
  • 225g  (8 oz) plain (all purpose) flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 300g (10 1/2oz) pastry cream
  • toasted almond silvers or pine nuts for decoration

Pastry Cream

  • 1ltr (4 cups) full-cream milk
  • 280g (1 1⁄4 cups) golden caster sugar
  • 1 piece organic orange peel
  • 6 large organic egg yolks
  • 50g (1/3 cup) cornflour (corn starch)
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • seeds from vanilla pod


1.Start by making the pastry cream. Heat the milk, salt, seeds and vanilla pod, and the orange peel in a large saucepan, on a low heat.

2. At the same time in a large bowl, mix the sugar and cornflour and add the egg yolks one at a time, stirring with a wire whisk until well mixed.

3. Increase the heat slightly, pour some of the milk mixture into the egg mixture, and then pour it all into the pan with milk. Continue cooking, stirring constantly until it thickens and bubbles for 1 minute.

How to Make Pastry Cream - Brown Eyed Baker

5. Remove from heat, discard orange peels and vanilla pod, mix in the vanilla bean paste and place in a bowl. Cover surface with cling (plastic) film and store in the refrigerator for a few hours or until ready to use.

6. Now make the pastry base. Sift the flour along with the baking powder. Set aside. In another bowl mix the egg with sugar. Now add in the vegetable oil and the lemon juice, mix to combine. Add the flour mix and gently combine until it comes together.

7. Dump pastry mix into 23cm (9″) cake tin and gently press out with fingers and the bottom of a glass tumbler.

8. Fill with chilled pastry cream, level the top and decorate with nuts.

9. Bake at 180C/fan 160C/350F/gas mark 4 for around 40 minutes until top is golden. Leave to cool and enjoy at room temperature.



28 Comments on “The Musette: Torta della Nonna

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