Torta della nonna—in English grandma’s custard pie—is a popular Italian dessert made with a soft shortcrust pastry shell, a sweet custard filling, and toasted pine nuts.

Here, we make a delicious egg-free and dairy-free torta della nonna filled with a scrumptious vegan custard.

Our recipe is still 100% Italian, and every bite is as delicious as the original one.

Torta della nonna Pieces Cut Vertical

Dietary Note: this recipe is suitable for a vegetarian and vegan diet.

Tips for making the best torta della nonna

Torta Della Nonna Serving
  • Use only the yellow part of the lemon. Avoid adding the white spongy part to the custard because it’s bitter.
  • Replace eggs with apple cider vinegar and cornstarch. The vinegar will make the dough lighter, and the cornstarch will help the dough stick together.
  • Cook the dough on a baking rack. In the oven, put your pie on a baking rack rather than on a baking tray because the baking tray might become too hot, and the bottom of the pie will overcook.
  • Let cool completely before serving. The custard needs to cool down before it will hold its shape.
torta della nonna sliced on a plate


This Torta della Nonna is best kept in the fridge for up to two days and in the freezer for up to two months.

You can also prepare the cake dough in advance, freeze it for up to three months, and defrost it when needed.


If you like this torta della nonna, you might also like these three variations that can be made with the same dough:

Torta della nonna without top

Torta della nonna open w. plates

The first one is a vegan torta della nonna without the top layer.

We like this version, too, as it has less dough and a higher vegan custard-to-dough ratio (and we love custard).

Make it as described above, just with half the dough measurements because you don’t need the top layer. The custard and cooking time are the same.

Italian fruit tart with custard


This beautiful and delicious fruit tart with lemon custard is a classic Italian pastry recipe everyone loves.

The result is a vegan fruit tart with vegan custard that is egg-free, dairy-free, and made with whole grain flour and plenty of fresh seasonal fruit.

Check out our fruit tart recipe.

Crostata with jam

Crostata slice on a white plate

In an Italian home, there’s always a slice of crostata. You can make it with your favorite jam, and it is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.

Check out our easy crostata recipe.

More Italian desserts

torta della nonna

Torta della nonna

By: Nico Pallotta
5 from 8 votes
Torta della nonna—in English grandma’s custard pie—is a popular Italian dessert made with a soft shortcrust pastry shell, a sweet custard filling, and toasted pine nuts.
Here, we make a delicious egg-free and dairy-free torta della nonna filled with a scrumptious vegan custard.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Resting Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings: 12 people
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Italian


  • Rolling pin
  • Pie dish 28 cm / 11 inches


For the custard

  • 3 cups non-dairy milk we use soy milk
  • cups corn starch
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ lemon the peel

For the cake

  • cups non-dairy milk plus 2 tbsp extra to brush over the cake
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup olive oil or another vegetable oil
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 3⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • cup corn starch
  • teaspoon baking powder

For the topping

  • 3 tablespoons pinenuts
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar


For the custard

  • In a pot, off the heat, add 3 cups non-dairy milk, ⅔ cups corn starch, ½ cup sugar, ¼ teaspoon turmeric, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and the peel of ½ lemon.
    Whisk until they are all well combined.
    Crema pasticcera step 1
  • On low heat, bring the custard to a gentle simmer while you keep whisking until the custard thickens.
    pastry cream
  • Set aside, and let cool down at room temperature, stirring occasionally to prevent lumps.
    Crema pasticcera step 4

For the cake

  • To a large bowl, add ⅔ cups non-dairy milk, ¾ cup sugar, ½ cup olive oil, 1 pinch salt, and 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar.
    Whisk until well combined.
    Torta della nonna Step 1
  • Add 3⅓ cup all-purpose flour, ⅓ cup corn starch, 1½ teaspoon baking powder and stir with a spatula until a dough forms.
    Torta della nonna Step-2
  • Transfer the dough onto a worktop and knead with your hands for about 1 minute.
    The dough should be smooth and the ingredients well incorporated, but don't overknead it.
    Let the dough ball rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
    Torta della nonna Step-3
  • Preheat the oven at 355°F or 180°C.
    Prepare a pie dish, grease it with oil, then sprinkle it with flour. Set aside.
    Take ¾ of the dough ball, put it in between 2 sheets of parchment paper, and flatten it down into a disc ⅕ inch or 0.4 cm thick.
    Torta della nonna Step-5
  • Now remove the top sheet of parchment paper, and flip the dough disc into the pie dish.
    Remove the parchment paper.
    With your fingers, apply gentle pressure to the dough to fit it into the pie dish.
    Torta della nonna Step-6
  • Trim the dough around the edges of the pie dish.
    With a fork, make some holes on the base of the dough and also on the sides.
    Torta della nonna Step-7
  • Fill up the pie dish with the custard and spread it evenly.
    Torta della nonna Step-8
  • Now make the top of the cake.
    Take the trimmings of the dough and put it together with the leftover ¼ dough ball.
    Flatten it in between two sheets of parchemnt and make a disc like before.
    Torta della nonna Step-9
  • Remove one side of baking parchemtn paper, then use the disc to cover the pie dish.
    Trim the edges, then with your fingers, push the edges down into the pie dish, so that the top disc sticks together with the bottom disc, closing off the custard into a shell.
    Torta della nonna Step-10
  • Brush the top of the pie with plant milk.
    Then add 3 tablespoons pinenuts on top.
    With a fork make some holes into the top dough disc.
    Then cook in the oven for 45 minutes at 355°F or 180°C.
    Torta della nonna Step-11
  • Take out of the oven, let cool down, then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons powdered sugar to make the top completely white.
    Torta della nonna Step-12


Nutrition information is an estimate for 1 slice of torta della nonna out of 12 slices.


Calories: 363kcal, Carbohydrates: 60g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 8g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Potassium: 112mg, Dietary Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 23g, Vitamin A: 2IU, Vitamin B6: 0.02mg, Vitamin C: 2mg, Vitamin E: 2mg, Vitamin K: 7µg, Calcium: 121mg, Folate: 65µg, Iron: 2mg, Manganese: 0.5mg, Magnesium: 15mg, Zinc: 0.4mg
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If you liked this torta della nonna recipe, you might also like:

Nico and Louise in the kitchen

Hi! We are Nico & Louise

Welcome to The Plant-Based School, a food blog with easy, tasty, and wholesome recipes.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Made this last night (practice run). Turned out beautifully. The second (final) one is in the oven right now!

    1. Hi Selena,
      That’s fantastic – sounds great with a double portion custard pie, I hope you’ll manage to finish them 🙂
      Enjoy, and happy weekend.

  2. I just found your YT Channel and made the vegan Piadina with the Stracchino but added turmeric into the dough and filled it with Stracchino, potato, spinach, mushrooms and garlic! So yummy! I’ve got this one in the oven now and know it will be delicious..Thanks for all the wonderful recipes! I can’t wait to try more and I’m sharing them with friends too!

    1. Thank you soo much for your nice comment Starlyt and for sharing our recipes with your friends 🙂 We are so happy you like our recipes. Hope the Torta della Nonna will be a success 🙏❤️🥳

  3. 5 stars
    Amazing! Rather easy and so delicious. Definitely making this again! I baked this at altitude (7500ft) and should probably have baked it for 50-55mins. Can’t wait to try more of your recipes. Grazie da Colorado!

    1. Thank you so much for your message and for the info Nicole! Happy you liked it 🙂 Love Colorado, been there once and the views were incredible! 🙂