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Torta della Nonna

(Makes one 8 to 9-inch cake)
Torta della Nonna - Grandma's Cake
Torta della nonna, the charmingly named 'Grandma's cake,' is a popular Italian dessert that is
traditionally from Tuscany but can found in every region of Italy.  There are as many variations of
this cake as their are Italian grandmas. Some are filled with a vanilla custard, others have a
ricotta cheese filling; some have a top crust, others do not.  But it is fairly common for the cake
to be flavored with lemon and to have pine nuts on the top and sometimes in the filling as well. 
This dessert is much better a day or two after it's baked.  It is served cold with a dusting of
confectioners' sugar.
Ingredients:

Pasta Frolla (Tart Crust):
1-1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Filling:
2 cups ricotta cheese
3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Grated zest of 1 lemon

Topping:
1/2 cup pine nuts
Confectioners' sugar for dusting
Directions:

To make the crust:
Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a food
processor.  Pulse a few times to combine.  Add the butter; pulse until the
mixture begins to look like cornmeal.  Add the egg and extract.  Pulse just
until the mixture begins to come together.  Gather the dough into a ball and
flatten into a disk.  Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

To make the filling:
In a bowl, whisk together all of the filling ingredients until well combined.
Set aside.

To assemble the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter an 8 or 9-inch fluted-edge tart pan with a removable bottom.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a circle about 10-12 inches in
diameter.  Don't be concerned if the dough rips or cracks; it repairs very
easily.  Place the dough in the tart pan; gently press to cover the bottom and
sides.  Use your thumb to remove excess dough around the edge of the tart
pan.

Pour the filling evenly into the crust; smooth the top.  Sprinkle the pine nuts
over the filling.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, just until the center is firm and
doesn't wiggle when you shake the pan.  Remove from the oven and allow to
rest for 15-20 minutes.  Remove the edge ring of the tart pan and cool the tart
completely; refrigerate until serving.  To serve, dust the top of the cake with
confectioners' sugar and cut into wedges.
Torta della Nonna - Grandma's Cake
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A traditional tart pan with short fluted sides and a removable bottom makes unmolding easy.  But have you ever wound up wtih the still-hot ring looped around your arm? Try resting the pan on an over-tuned bowl; the rim will slip down away from the crust.  Then use a metal cake server to loosen the tart from the bottom and lift it onto a serving plate.
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