Friday, February 22, 2008

Sugar High Friday #40

For this edition of Sugar High Friday hosted by Rachel from Vampituity, we've been asked to indulge our sweet cravings for a cause (you'll find more details of this at the end of the post) - in fact the theme is to "cook up a pie that evokes personal dreams".

There is a pie that with just its name has me dreaming of Italy and reminiscing of my time spent there. Torta della Nonna was something I first tasted in Florence and from the very first bite, it was love. Served still warm from the oven, the combination of buttery pasta frolla and lemony semolina and ricotta filling proved utterly irresistible.

Having scoured many sources to find the secret to the filling I think I've found something that comes close to those I've had - it is based on Ursula Ferrigno's Grandmothers Pie from her book La Dolce Vita.

torta della nonna

Torta della Nonna (Grandmothers's Pie)
[Makes one 20cm/8inch Pie]

Pasta Frolla or you can use your favourite shortcrust pastry
1 cup/250mls milk
100 grams semolina
1 lemon, zested and juiced
300 grams ricotta
2 eggs
100 grams caster sugar

Make the Filling:
Heat the milk in a saucepan until just warm - rain in the semolina, stirring as you do to stop any lumps forming. Add the lemon zest and continue to stir until the mixture thickens and comes away from the side of the pan. Take it off the heat to cool.

Push the ricotta through a fine sieve - this just helps to lighten the mixture. Place the sieved ricotta into a large bowl, add the eggs, sugar, lemon juice and cooled semolina mixture and using an electric mixer, beat until thoroughly mixed.

Prepare the pastry case:
Divide the dough into two - 2/3rds for the base and 1/3rd to form the top.

Roll the larger piece out to line the base and sides of a loose-bottomed 20cm/8inch round sandwich pan. Make sure the pastry overhangs the lip to make joining the top easier.

Pour the prepared filling into the case, smoothing it out to level the surface. It will rise when it cooks so don't worry if it doesn't reach the top of your pie case.

Roll the smaller piece of pastry to form a circle a little larger than the tin.

Brush the lip with a little milk before placing the pastry top - press down to make sure the dough sticks and then trim to size.

Lightly brush the top with the milk and a sprinkle of caster sugar.

Bake in a preheated 180°C/350°F for about 30-35 minutes or until the pastry is golden and cooked through.

Remove from the oven and let it cool for 5 minutes in the pan before removing it to a wire rack.

Generously dust it with icing sugar.


While it's wonderful cold, I heartily recommend eating it warm.

torta della nonna

The combination of lemon and semolina gives the filling a lovely lemon colour to it - the ricotta makes it wonderfully creamy without being heavy - you'll certainly be lining up for seconds!

torta della nonna

Sound delicious?
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  1. This looks and sounds delicious. I am super impressed with your site design. You have taken things to a whole new level. Great look!

  2. This pie just sings to me, Haalo! In fact, I just baked Italian ricotta pie and Italian rice pie, which I'll be posting on soon. And I'll be sure to link back to this luscious pie post.

  3. Thanks Gretchen - it's a work in progress but I'm happy with it, glad you like it!

    Thanks Susan - they are just the best pies I'll be sure to visit your post and gobble them up!

    Thanks Nora!

  4. THat looks awesome! I've never had a pie quite like that but it looks like something I need to try.

  5. Oh - Haalo...this pie reminds me of my Gram. It looks unbelievable. Yum!

  6. Thanks Mike - hope you get to try it!

    Thanks Chris - it is a very comforting pie.

  7. This looks really gorgeous!
    I will try it asao!

  8. Your pie looks fantastic and ever so perfect! I'm keeping that wonderful recipe!



  9. This looks absolutely amazing!! I am in to making all kinds of pie - I will definately be making your recipe.

  10. this pie is calling out my name! lemon, ricotta, semolina - it makes me want to call *my* nonna.

  11. Thanks FT - hope you enjoy it

    Thanks Rosa!

    Thanks Amy - do let me know how it turns out for you

    Thanks Michelle - you can't go wrong with that combination!

  12. Firenze! Semolina! Ricotta! Limone!This looks and reads like an amazing experience. Let us all dream of your torta and Italy for one brief lemony moment. Thank you for sharing your dreams with us and participating in SHF #40 in support of the Pies Project!

  13. Thanks Rachel and thank you for encouraging us to do some good with our baking, hopefully this will all help the Pie Project

  14. This looks delicious Haalo - thanks for sharing it with us.

  15. What a gorgeously mouth-watering pie - I'm going to have to try out this recipe soon!

    Thank you for joining in on SHF this month - hopefully we'll see you again next month!

  16. Thanks Cakelaw!

    Thanks Jennifer - I'm looking forward to the next SHF!

  17. We made this pie tonight to take to friends' for dinner. To be honest, I wish we hadn't...because it meant we had to share it! Absolutely wonderful. We'll be making another one tomorrow all for ourselves.

  18. That is a wonderful recommendation Sorenson - thank you, I'm so happy to know you enjoyed it so much!


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