HI there! After a rather long hiatus from adding any new entries to my blog (I have had lots of story ideas but my inspirational juices were simply not flowing), I have decided to start again with a recipe. Start easy and then progress onto more challenging stories I say…
I have chosen a rather simple baking recipe because throughout my childhood it was one of my favorite desserts. It is also quite easy to make, though as with all baking recipes, it can be tricky.
There are many interpretations of “crostata”, it has been adulterated into many versions which can go from the sublime to the ridiculous. Mine sticks to the original concept with only a few minor twists.
“Crostata” in Italian just means crust – in this case a thin short bread crust filled with jam, layered with sliced figs and laced with ribbons of the same crust of which the base is made.
Here are the ingredients: (I am using grams as the unit of weight because that is how my friend Simona, the queen of crostata, originally gave me the recipe).
I have made a couple of small changes to the original recipe mixing all purpose and whole wheat flours (though you can use only regular flour if you like) and adding a dash of almond extract just because I love the flavor of almond on almost anything.
200 grams of All-Purpose Flour
100 grams Whole Wheat Flour
150 grams of sugar
150 grams of butter softened
2 Whole eggs plus one yolk
A medium jar of fig jam
6-8 fresh figs sliced into medium rounds
A dash of almond extract.
In a stand mixer work the flour and the butter until well incorporated, then add the sugar, a dash of almond extract and then the eggs one at a time letting them integrate into the mixture. Once mixed (don’t over mix) empty onto your working surface and knead into a smooth ball – wrap in plastic and stick in the fridge for at least 30-minutes.
Pre heat your oven to 360 degrees. There is no need for convection heat for this particular cake. Butter a 10-inch square or round baking pan, sides and all.
Take your ball of dough and cut two thirds, putting the remaining one third to the side.
Roll the larger piece out and then fit it into your pan making sure you cover the bottom of the pan well, as well as ½ inch on the side so that you have a nice “bed” for your jam. Then spread the jam making sure it covers the dough, avoid going up the sides. Just make sure the surface of the pan is well distributed. It does not have to be too thick,
Line the slices of figs across the pan to cover the area you have covered with jam. You can use any pattern you like. I just line them up in rows.
Take the remaining dough and taking a few pieces at a time make the lacing by rolling the pieces between your hands and then on your work surface with your fingers until you get different length pieces to create the lacing you like. I do it diagonally as shown in the picture above.
Once you’re happy with the final look, stick in the oven for 30-35 minutes until brown. At this point turn on your broiler, place the pan 3-4 inches from the broiler and broil for 2-3 minutes. KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE CAKE… you don’t want it to burn just gently caramelize. Use your eyes and your nose….
Remove from the oven, let cool in the pan and then serve/slice with a dollop of ice cream or a dab of whipped cream or just by itself.
Welcome to my childhood.