Grandma’s Cake

I always look through my mum’s Goodhousekeeping magazine for recipes as there are always some really interesting ideas. I think I got this recipe from last month’s magazine as I was looking for something to make for Father’s Day. “Grandma’s” Cake, also known as Torta della Nonna, is a traditional Tuscan cake filled with custard. Its called a cake but its actually made out of pastry. It was a fun recipe for my sister and I to try out as we had never made custard or pastry before. We, or rather I, messed up the custard filling first time round as I forgot to add the flour to make it thicken, woops!.




Grandma’s Cake

For the pastry

  • 200g plain flour
  • 2/3 tsp baking powder
  • 75g unsalted butter, chilled and chopped
  • 75g caster sugar
  • finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 medium egg

For the filling

  • 350ml semi-skimmed milk
  • finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 25g plain flour

For the topping

  • 25g pinenuts
  • icing sugar

Start by making the pastry: put all the pastry ingredients into a food processor and pulse until the mixture comes together. Wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

Next, make the filling. Heat the milk and lemon zest until nearly boiling (there should be bubbles around the edge of the pan). Meanwhile, put the two eggs, caster sugar, vanilla extract and flour into a medium heatproof bowl. Whisk together to combine. Gradually whisk in the hot milk mixture, then scrape contents back into the empty pan. Return pan to the heat and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture is thick (it will need to boil before it thickens). Take off heat and leave to cool completely.

Preheat the oven to 180C. Lightly flour a work surface and roll out 2/3 of the pastry and use to line a deep, 20.5cm round loose-bottomed sandwich tin. Whisk the filling to break it up and beat out any lumps, then spoon into the pastry base and spread level. Trim the lining pastry so it comes about 2cm above the filling, then gently fold the pastry on to the filling. Next, roll out the remaining pastry on a lightly-floured surface and cut out a 20.5cm round. Lay on top of the filling and press edges lightly to seal. Sprinkle over the pinenuts and press them down gently.

Bake for 50 minutes until nicely golden. Leave to cool for 10 minutes in the tin, then carefully remove the outside ring and leave to cool completely on a wire rack. Liberally dust with icing sugar.



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