Torta della Nonna with lemon custard
(Make one 9 inch - 22 cm pie)
  • 350g (2¾ cups) whole-wheat or spelt flour
  • 100 g (3(4 cup) white wheat or spelt flour
  • 50g (3/4 cup) brown rice flour
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 medium lemon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 200g (2 cups) packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 100ml (1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp) organic sanflower oil, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 75ml (1/3 cup) almond milk or regular milk, plus more to brush the top
For the assembly:
  • Lemon custard, cooled (recipe below)
  • 40g (1/3 cup) pine nuts
  • Candied lemon peel or candied ginger peel (optional)
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 50g (1/3 cup) potato starch
  • 160g (3/4 cup plus 1 tbsp) packed light brown sugar
  • 500ml (2 cups) full-fat regular or almond milk
  • 3 medium lemons
  • ½ vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  1. In a medium saucepan, place the yolks, potato starch, and brown sugar. Whisk well until the mixture becomes a smooth cream. In a separate small saucepan, place the milk, the peel of 3 medium lemons plus the juice of 2 lemons, and vanilla bean pod and seeds. Warm the milk mixture over low heat until lukewarm - do not boil. Slowly whisk the milk mixture into the egg mixture, adding the vanilla bean and lemon peel as well, and heat over medium heat. Keep whisking the mixture slowly as the custard heats up, or it might stick to the bottom of the pan. As it starts to thicken, whisk more vigorously. When it thickens to the point that you feel some resistance when you are whisking, remove the pan from the heat. It will thicken more as it cools down. Cover the top of the custard with plastic wrap if you are not using it right away, and store it in the fridge.
  1. Make the dough: combine the flours, lemon zest and juice, vanilla, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, eggs, and sunflower oil in a food processor and process until the dough starts to come together (the dough will have large chunks). With the processor running, add a little bit of milk at a time to make the dough come together. (You might need more or less depending on what kind of flour you use). If you are not using a food processor, just do the same in a bowl and knead by hand. The dough should be firm but quite sticky, almost difficult to work with without flour. Scrape it out of the bowl, wrap in a plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180 C° (350°F). Oil and flour a 9-inch (22 cm) pie pan.
  3. Remove the dough from the fridge and divide it into two parts, one slightly smaller than the other. Roll each one out between two sheets of wax paper until it is about ¼ inch (5 mm) thick.
  4. Line the pie pan with the larger dough disk, reversing it in with the help of the wax paper. Fill the pie with the custard, then cover with the other disk of dough and pinch the edges closed. Brush the top with milk and spred the pine nuts on top.
  5. Bake for 35 to 40 mintues, or until golden on top. Wait for the cake to cool completely before slicing and serving. Even better make it the day before. Garnish with candied lemon peel or candied ginger strips.
Recipe by The Freaky Table at