Alessandra's Crostata

Alessandra’s Crostate

Crostata No. 1 (from Ellie via Alessandra)

Makes two 8-or 9-inch tarts or crostate

  • 1 1/2 sticks of butter, (12 Tablespoons) at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 egg yolk (save egg white)
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup to 1/4 cup sherry
  • a few teaspoons of ice water, if necessary
  • fruit preserves, warmed to spreading consistency

or for one crostata:

  • 1 stick butter (8 tablespoons)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolk, (save egg white)
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/8 cup sherry
  • a few teaspoons of ice water, if necessary
  • fruit preserves, warmed to spreading consistency

Place flour and sugar into food processor and pulse for a few seconds. Add the butter in small pieces and pulse again, until it resembles coarse sand. Add the egg(s) to the food processor, pulsing until the mixture starts to form a ball. Add a little ice water, a teaspoon at a time, if necessary. If you don’t have a food processor, mix by hand with pastry cutter or spoon.

Divide the dough into 3/4 for the bottom and 1/4 for the strips. Roll the bottom onto a floured surface and fit it into a buttered tart pan, letting any excess hang over the edge.
Fill the crust with jam. Roll the remaining 1/4 of the dough on a floured surface and cut into strips. Place them lattice-fashion over the jam, attach them to the dough along the rim, then trim the edges of the crostata. Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 25 to 30 minutes until the dough is golden brown. I place the crostata on a cookie sheet that has been preheated in the oven to 425 degrees, then lower it immediately to 375 degrees. It helps ensure the bottom crust is cooked thoroughly. Eleanor likes to bake the empty shell for a few minutes at 375 degrees, then add the preserves and top it with the strips. Try it either way and see what works for you. The results depend not only on the recipe but also the type and size pan you use. Eleanor uses an 8-inch pan, but I use a 9-inch tart pan and it works fine too.

Crostata No. 2 (from Cristina via Alessandra)

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 stick and 3 Tablespoons melted, but slightly cooled butter
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 shot glass of grappa, liqueur, wine or other alcohol
  • fruit preserves, warmed to spreading consistency

Prepare the dough similar to above recipe, but if you want to make a decorative border like Cristina’s, do not divide the dough into two parts. Make one round disk and roll out between two sheets of waxed paper. Place over a pie plate that has a “lip” on it. then take a butterknife and make cuts all along the rim. Take every other “flap” and flip it in toward the jam. Cristina also used two different kinds of preserves to create the “sun” effect.

February 2011 199

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