Citrus-Infused Gluten Free Custard Pie

Inspired by an Italian classic dessert - Torta Della Nonna or "Grandma's Pie" is similar to a custard pie but with a twist. It's a close pie filled with lemon and orange zest-infused custard vanilla cream and topped with pine nuts.
whole gluten free custard pie della nonna

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You’ve heard about custard pie, but have you heard about Torta Della Nonna? It’s an Italian custard pie with lemon and pine nuts! Got it? Let’s make a gluten free custard pie ala torta della nonna!

a slice of gluten free torta della nonna

So what’s the difference? In a regular custard tart, the filling is vanilla pastry cream, while Torta della Nonna, or Grandma’s Pie, uses custard cream infused with lemon zest.

Torta della Nonna is a closed pie with two layers of shortcrust pastry filled with custard in the middle. Of course, the pine nuts on the crust make it look different from other pies and tarts.

a slice of gluten free custard pie

Orange-Lemon Infused Gluten Free Custard Pie Filling

I love mixing flavors. Adding orange and lemon zest together makes the custard filling taste better. The citrus flavor also goes well with the creamy vanilla pastry cream.

There are two ways to infuse the zest into the custard: one is to add the zest while cooking the custard, and the other is to add the zest to the cooked vanilla custard. I chose the latter because the filling will be cooked again, thus making the citrus hint more intense.

whole gluten free custard pie

Components of Gluten Free Torta Della Nonna

Since the custard pie filling contains lemon zest, the refreshing flavor of lemon only intensifies when zest is also added to the shortcrust pastry dough.

I didn’t have to create a separate gluten free shortcrust pastry recipe for this custard pie. I used the gluten free Pate Sucree recipe and added lemon zest to it. 

Ingredients List And Substitutes

  • Gluten free flour blend – a fragile dough like the gluten free pate sucree needs a good flour like Schar or Caputo gluten free bread flour to make a good crust.
  • Vegan Butter—For the sake of the recipe being soy, nut, and gluten free, Violife Vegan Butter is the clear choice. Most vegan butter is gluten-free, so other brands should work fine if nuts and soya are not a concern.
  • Oat milk – among plant milk varieties, a good oat barista milk works well in cooking. 
custard filling

SUBSTITUTION TABLE

Original IngredientsSubstitute With
Schar Gluten Free Bread FlourKing Arthur GF Bread Flour* or Caputo GF Flour*
Oddly Good Oat MilkAlpro Soy Milk or rice milk, barista
*Contains wheat

Step By Step Process

STEP 1 – Making The Pie Crust
  • Mix all dry ingredients, place them on a work surface or large bowl, then make a well in the center.
  • Add in the vegan butter cubes, lemon zest, and eggs. Mix everything with your fingers until the dough resembles coarse crumbs.
  • Slightly knead until the dough holds together. Shape the dough into a ball, then wrap it with cling film and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  • To avoid getting messy with your hands, use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment to do the same process.
STEP 2 – Cooking the Custard Filling
  • Combine 1/3 of warm (not hot) oat milk, egg yolks, sugar, vanilla, and cornstarch in a bowl. Stir the mixture thoroughly until the cornstarch is fully dissolved.
  • Pour the custard mixture into the remaining warm milk and cook over low-medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk, until it thickens. Remove from heat, then add the cold vegan butter cube.
  • Transfer the custard to a mixing bowl, add the lemon and orange zest, and cover with cling wrap. Chill in the fridge.
STEP 3 – Preparing the Crust Dough and Baking
  • Roll the cold dough between two sheets of baking paper to a thickness of 3-4 cm (1/4 inch). Use dough measuring strips for an even thickness.
  • Carefully lift the dough to a pie dish or tart ring using a rolling pin. Press the dough well on the sides, then prick the bottom with a fork. Trim the edges. Let the dough rest in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  • Pour the cold lemon custard custard on the prepared pie dough.
  • Roll out the leftover shortcrust pastry dough and place it on top. Then, use your fingers to crimp the corners to seal the pie. Brush with egg wash and spread the pine nuts evenly on top. 
  • Bake in a preheated oven for 320° F (160° C) for 55 minutes. Adjust the temperature to 355° F (180° C), then bake for another 8 to 10 minutes. 
  • Let the pie cool completely before sprinkling powdered sugar. It’s ready to cut and serve.
whole gluten free custard pie della nonna

Citrus-Infused Gluten Free Custard Pie Dessert

By Bakefree
An Italian-inspired gluten free custard pie with filled with zesty vanilla pastry cream and topped with pine nuts.
Note: Use the unit converter if needed. This recipe is measured by weight (metric) for accuracy.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Waiting Time 1 hour
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Servings 10 portions

Ingredients
 
 

Shortcrust Pastry

Custard Cream

  • 500 g oat milk barista gluten-free
  • 120 g egg yolks
  • 90 g sugar
  • 50 g cornstarch
  • 1 vanilla pod or 1/2 tsp vanilla powder or 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 50 g vegan butter, Miyokos is preferred soft
  • zest of 2 lemons and 1 orange
  • 60 g pine nuts

Instructions
 

Shortcrust Pastry

  • Mix all dry ingredients, place them on a work surface or large bowl, then make a well in the center.
  • Add the vegan butter cubes, lemon zest, and eggs. Mix with your fingers until the dough looks like coarse crumbs.
  • Slightly knead the dough until it holds together, wrap it with cling film, shape it into a ball, and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  • Use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment to avoid getting your hands messy.

Custard Cream

  • Warm the oat milk in a saucepan. In a bowl, combine 1/3 of warm (not hot) oat milk, egg yolks, sugar, vanilla, and cornstarch. Stir the mixture thoroughly until the cornstarch is fully dissolved.
  • Mix the custard mixture into the remaining warm milk. Cook over low-medium heat while constantly whisking until it thickens.
  • Take the custard cream off the heat. Strain it to remove lumps.
  • Add the zest and cold vegan butter. Set aside in the fridge to chill.

Baking The Pie

  • Roll the cold dough between two sheets of baking paper to a thickness of 3-4 cm (1/4 inch). Use dough measuring strips for an even thickness.
  • Lift the dough to a pie dish or tart ring using a rolling pin. Press the dough well on the sides, then prick the bottom with a fork. Trim the edges. Let the dough rest in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  • Pour the cold lemon custard on the prepared pie dough.
  • Roll out the leftover shortcrust pastry dough and place it on top. Then, use your fingers to crimp the corners to seal the pie. Brush with egg wash, spread the pine nuts evenly on top and finally poke some holes on the pie crust using a fork.
  • Bake in a preheated oven for 320° F (160° C) for 55 minutes. Adjust the temperature to 355° F (180° C), then bake for another 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Let the pie cool completely before sprinkling powdered sugar. It’s ready to cut and serve.

Notes

  • Freeze the shortcrust pastry dough by wrapping it in cling film and in a zip-lock bag. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before using.
  • You can store the custard pie in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Keyword gluten free custard pie, gluten free torta della nonna
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

2 thoughts on “Citrus-Infused Gluten Free Custard Pie”

  1. ItalianFoodie03

    I tried this recipe this weekend and I was amazed by the result! The taste is simply classic and well-balanced between the sweet custard, the hint of lemon and the savory pine nuts. All my friends were impressed and even my nonna gave said it was better than her version. Thank you so much!

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gluten and dairy free pastry chef

Hello! I bake insanely delicious gluten-free, dairy-free, low-sugar, vegan and nut-free sweets and savory. My neighbors and friends are the tasters.

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