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This vegan custard pie is a delicious pie made of shortcrust pastry filled with custard cream and topped with almonds or pine nuts. It's an Italian recipe that's traditionally called torta della nonna (grand mother's pie).
This one is certainly one of the most loved and known Italian recipes and it is easy to understand why: if made with love, great ingredients and a little patience this grandmother's pie is an authentic culinary experience.
Before you get into the kitchen to prepare this custard pie, you should read the blogpost carefully. The recipe is actually quite simple, but there are some details to keep in mind.
To make this delicious vegan custard pie you'll need the following ingredients:
- full-fat coconut milk
- plant-based milk (soy, almond or oat milk)
- turmeric or saffron powder
- vanilla powder
- all-purpose flour
- baking powder
- vegetable oil (coconut or olive oil)
- almond flakes or pine nuts
In this recipe we use coconut milk to make the custard. This is because it's a high fat milk which makes the custard super creamy and delicious.
In case you don't like the flavor of coconut milk you can replace it with any vegetable milk you like. Just be sure to use a high-fat, unsweetened plant-based milk.
Turmeric vs saffron
To give color to the custard we add a pinch of tumeric or saffron. I personally prefer to use saffron because it makes the cream golden. Turmeric also works but gives a slightly less radiant color.
That said, with saffron you have to be careful not to add too much because it has a pungent flavor and you don't want the cream to taste like saffron, whereas turmeric has a neutral flavor and you don't run that risk.
Also, saffron is way more expensive than turmeric is.
That said, I'll leave it up to you to decide which one to use.
Vanilla is what gives that unforgettable flavor to custard. For this reason, I recommend using top quality vanilla and not omitting it for any reason.
Almond flakes or pine nuts?
The traditional recipe calls for pine nuts but they are not always easy to find and can be extremely expensive. That's why I like to use almond flakes instead.
Step 1: make the vegan shortcrust pastry
To make the custard pie we start by preparing the shortcrust pastry. We place flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a bowl and mix. Next we add in water and coconut oil and knead briefly until we get a dough (it doesn't have to be perfectly smooth). The we wrap it in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Remember: the more you knead the dough the more the gluten develops and makes the pastry tough! We want our shortcrust pastry to be soft and crumbly so don't over-knead it!
Step 2: make the vegan custard
Once the dough is resting in the fridge we start making the vegan custard.
To make it we place coconut milk, plant-based milk, cornstarch, sugar, salt, vanilla and turmeric/saffron in a food-processor or blender and process until smooth.
Then we pour the mixture in a saucepan and simmer over low heat until the cream is thick and glossy. Next we pour the cream into a bowl and allow it to cool completely. To speed this process up we can set it over an ice bath.
Step 3: assemble the pie
Once the dough has rested and the custard is room tempered we can start assembling the custard pie.
We start by taking the pastry out of the fridge and dividing it into 2 pieces. One being slightly larger than the other. On a lightly floured surface, we roll out the larger piece into a 3 mm-thick circle that is large enough to line the bottom and sides of the pie tin.
Next we transfer the dough onto the pie tin (which we have lined with baking paper) and we press it with our fingertips so that it sticks to the bottom and the sides of the tin.
Then we fill the pie shell with custard and smooth it out. Next we roll out the second pastry so that's large enough to cover the top of the pie. We top the custard with it, trim the excess pastry around the edges, et voilá our Torta della Nonna is ready to be baked!
Step 4: Allow the pie to rest in the fridge overnight
To get the best result, I highly recommend letting the custard pie rest in the refrigerator overnight. In this way the cream will have had enough time to set properly.
I recommend that you remove it from the refrigerator 15 minutes before serving. Before cutting it, top it with powdered sugar and serve it with a cup of coffee (or two)!
How to store
You can store the pie in the fridge for up to 4-5 days. Just place it in an air-tight container and store in the lowest and coolest part of your fridge. If the powdered sugar dissolves due to the moisture in the fridge just dust some more on top before serving.
How to make ahead
You can make shortcrust pastry and custard ahead but I recommend you bake the pie the day before you want to serve it.
To do so make the shortcrust pastry and custard up to 2 days ahead and store them in the fridge. The day before you want to serve the pie roll out the pastry, fill it with custard, top it with the nuts, bake it and allow it to rest in the fridge overnight.
Can I freeze the custard pie?
I do not recommend freezing this vegan custard pie because it changes the consistency and texture of the custard.
Other desserts you might like
- Vegan chocolate cheesecake with Oreo crust
- Vegan Biscoff Cheesecake
- Vegan cheesecake with cookie crust
- Vegan pumpkin cheesecake with coconut whipped cream
If you try this recipe….
If you try this vegan custard pie, let me know! You can leave a comment, rate the recipe and don't forget to tag a photo with #vegaliciously or #carlocao on Instagram or Tiktok!
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