Saturday, 10 November 2012


This ia a typical Italian dessert, traditionally from Tuscany. It's basically a custard pie with pine nuts. Not the quickest cake to make, but, if you like custard, it's worth it. It's really lovely.

Ingredients for a  22 cm cake tin

450 g flour
3 eggs
150 g sugar
150 g butter
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel 
1 teaspoon baking powder
25 g pine nuts
icing sugar to decorate

For the custard

4 yolks
40 g cornflour
100 g sugar
400 ml milk
1 piece lemon peel 
1/2 vanilla pod

Mix flour, lemon peel and sugar, then work the butter in with the tip of your fingers until the mixture resembles wet sand.

Add the egg and yolks and work briefly until the dough just holds together. It is important not to overwork the dough or it will harden when baked.

Wrap it in cling film and let it rest in a cool place for at least 30 minutes.

In the meantime, make the custard.

Bring the milk, lemon zest and vanilla pod to simmering point slowly over a low heat. Remove the vanilla pod and the lemon zest.

Whisk the yolk and sugar together in a pan until well blended then add the flour.

Pour the hot milk on to the eggs and sugar, whisking all the time with a balloon whisk.

Return to the hob and over a medium/high heat gently stir with a wooden spatula until thickened. When boiling take it off the heat, stir well and bring it back again on the heat. Do this two or three times.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.
When the pastry has rested in the refrigerator, divide in two, and delicately roll out one half slightly larger than the tart dish (approx 1 cm/half inch thickness).
Pour on the custard.
Roll out the remaining pastry dough and place on top of the custard, closing the pie.
Decorate with pine nuts (pour some milk on them beforehand, so they won't burn in the oven). Try not to handle the pastry too much at this stage.
Bake for 40 minutes, until the pastry is golden.
Leave to cool and dust with icing sugar.

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