Grandma's cake: the original recipe – Italian Cuisine

Grandma's cake: the original recipe

Grandma's cake is a great classic of the Tuscan culinary tradition. Shortcrust pastry, custard, pine nuts and icing sugar are essential ingredients

A shell of crumbly shortcrust pastry that contains a soft filling. A generous handful of pine nuts, a generous shower of powdered sugar and here is served Grandmother's cake in its classic version and original!
The edge, which must be at least 4 cm high, and the presence of a top layer of shortcrust pastry distinguish it from a simple tart with cream and pine nuts.

Between most loved cakes of tradition, the grandmother's cake is a sweet which often also appears in the dessert section of the menus of traditional Tuscan trattorias.

Its origins are disputed between the cities of Arezzo and Florence and as with all traditional recipes that are respected there are several versions. Follow our doses and directions if you are looking for original recipe of the Grandmother's cake.

Grandma's cake: the original recipe

This cake will be perfect for a snack or as a dessert after a meal!

Ingredients for a mold with a diameter of 24 cm

For the shortcrust pastry
450 g of flour 00
200 g of butter
160 g of granulated sugar
2 medium eggs
grated zest of 1 organic lemon
1 pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

For the custard
750 g of fresh whole milk
225 g of granulated sugar
35 g of corn starch
30 g of flour 00
3 eggs + 1 yolk
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract (or the seeds of a berry)

To complete
80 g of pine nuts
icing sugar to taste


Begin the making of the grandmother's cake by preparing the shortcrust pastry. Put the cold butter from the fridge cut into pieces and the flour in the bowl of a food processor. Operate the blades until you get a sandy mixture. Transfer this mixture to a pastry board, make a hole in the center and pour in the sugar, eggs and lemon zest. Work briefly with your hands without overheating the dough and only for the time necessary to make it compact. Form a dough, flatten it slightly, cover it with cling film and transfer it to the fridge to harden for at least 30 minutes.

In the meantime, make the custard. Pour the milk into a thick-bottomed saucepan and add the vanilla extract or the seeds of the berry. Bring the milk to a light boil. In a bowl, break the eggs and add the yolk. Pour in the sugar and start mixing. Sift the flour and corn starch and add them to the eggs.

When the milk is about to boil, remove it from the heat and pour a little on the egg mixture. Stir well then put the saucepan back on the heat and pour in all the mixture with the eggs. Cook the custard over low heat, stirring constantly to avoid the formation of lumps. There cream it will be ready when it has thickened and will veil the spoon. Transfer the custard into a low and wide baking dish, cover with cling film in contact (to prevent the formation of the skin) and let it cool to room temperature.

Preheat the oven at 160 ° C in static mode. Remove the pastry from the fridge and lightly flour the work surface. Roll out the pastry with a rolling pin to a thickness of 4-5 millimeters and divide it into two circles, one of which is slightly larger than the other. With the larger disc of shortcrust pastry, line the bottom and edges of a previously greased and floured mold making it adhere well.

Prick the bottom of the pastry with the tines of a fork, then pour the custard now cold that you will have stirred with a whisk. Level the surface of the cream well with a spoon then cover it with the rest shortcrust pastry discto. Seal the edges well and roll over the mold with a rolling pin to remove any excess shortcrust pastry. Prick the surface of the grandmother's cake with a fork, brush with very little water then distribute the pine nuts.

Bake the cake for 50 minutes by placing it on the lowest shelf of the oven. After this time, bring the oven temperature to 180 ° C, move the cake to the central shelf and cook for a further 10 minutes. The grandmother's cake is cooked when it is golden on the surface, it swells slightly and i Pine nuts they are a little toasted.

Remove from the oven and let it cool in the pan for at least 8-10 hours. Only when it is completely cold, turn it out gently, sprinkle it with icing sugar and serve it by cutting it into slices.

How to preserve grandma's cake

If it is not too hot, the grandmother's cake can be kept for 2/3 days at room temperature. In any case, it would be better to keep it in the fridge but it must be borne in mind that in this case the cream will lose some of its softness.

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