Torta Della Nonna
Torta della Nonna, or Grandmother’s Cake is a rustic Italian dessert that has as many versions as it does origin stories. This is my version. Because I wish to eat vast quantities of it myself it is gluten and dairy free, but wonderfully delicious. It is an almond cookie pie crust, filled with lemon custard, topped with an almond crumble and pine nuts. I am experimenting with a new gluten free sweet pie base, if this works I will make a frangipane flan tomorrow, topped with those tiny sweet satsumas I picked from the orchard.
Anyway, enough chatter, to our torta, here it is, doesn’t it look remarkably divine? And it tastes even better than it looks!
For the crust and the crumble
200g almond meal
110g coconut flour
160g caster sugar
30g tapioca flour
100g olive oil
For the lemon custard filling.
7 egg yolks
100g caster sugar
zest of one lemon
1/2 teaspoon lemon essence
500ml almond milk
24g tapioca starch
80g pine nuts
To begin we are going to make the custard, as that must cool before we can use it.
If you have not read the Back to Basics post on making a egg custard, go and have a look because we are about to do much the same thing. Pop all of the custard ingredients into a medium sized pot, give it all a good whisk about and then put the pot onto a medium heat, whisking, whisking, until it is very thick. As I showed you in the Back to Basics post, a thickening custard that is almost ready will lose its bubbles. It will go from this -
To this -
To this -
This is a much thicker custard than the last one we made, keep whisking until it just starts to simmer and then whip it off the heat. Cool to room temperature (I put mine in the freezer for fifteen minutes because I am an impatient person).
Right, let us turn our attention to this pastry case. Pop all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl, mix in the eggs and the olive oil until it comes together to form a clump. Your hands are the best tool for this, when you can squeeze it and it looks like this -
It is done. If it simply refuses to clump, work in another egg. Right, got your clump? Split off three quarters of it and press into the bottom and up the sides of a loose bottomed flan tin, leave the other quarter in the bowl. I used a 25 cm one with fairly shallow sides.
Spoon your custard over the base, filling to about 3/4 of the way up the sides.
Now, remember that quarter of the pastry clump I had you set aside? Give it a bash around until it collapses back into crumbles.
Now sprinkle the crumbles over the custard, scatter on the pine nuts and pop into your preheated oven for 40 minutes or until golden brown and slightly puffed.
Allow to cool completely before cutting into wedges to serve so that the custard sets fully. Store in the fridge.
You know, I am quite delighted with this as a pie crust. Shall we make Satsuma frangipane tart together tomorrow?