It took me some time to fall in love with crostate. I had my loves at first sight, my temporary flirts and my long term relationships as it happens to everyone, especially to those who have a sweet tooth and who could never say no to a dessert. I had a summer love with ice cream affogato in a steaming black coffee, a teenage crush on red berries cheesecake and childish romances with sponge roll filled with cream or chocolate.
Growing up, especially during the first months of life of this blog, I swore eternal love to muffins and cupcakes. Even that period of my life had to come to an end, leaving as only memory a wooden box full of colourful paper cups. Perhaps my most enduring love story is the one with pound cake, a relationship I do not grow tired of, which surprises and amuses me, a safe haven to return to after the most audacious experiments.
The crostata had to struggle and use all its charm to creep into my heart. Now it has a special place and no other dessert could never steal it.
The crostata is a dessert that requires a Sunday morning, a marble table around which you can sit down to enjoy an espresso, hours spent taking care of parallel projects, light chats from one end of the room to the other. Sunday is a day of rest, you are supposed to live it off line as much as you can, disconnected from a virtual world in which you are perfectly at ease for the whole week but that suddenly becomes tight when you have the chance to look the other person in the eyes.
The perfect crostata calls for a Sunday morning and a special connection with the ingredients. You will easily forget your lifestyle choices of the week and take out of the fridge a whole stick of butter with a with a subtle pleasure to make it soften slowly, foretasting the unmistakable smell that will remain on your hands for the whole afternoon.
To make the crostata search for jams into the pantry, and browse through the lined up jars until you find the one that suits you better. If you can’t wait to live the gentle spring, go without hesitation for one of those precious few jars of strawberry jam, lightly scented with vanilla. If summer is for you the queen of all the seasons, open a jar of yellow peaches jam, sweet as honey, or even better one of those dark, traditional ones and opt for blackberry jam.
At the end of the winter, though, a large space of my pantry is occupied by lemon or bitter orange marmalade jars. They are there to bring into the summer season the memory of the smell of citrus mixed with the burnt aroma of the fireplace but also to preserve all their flavour to make tarts and cakes. They also live for the simple pleasures, to be appreciated at breakfast, to be spread generously on a slice of warm toasted bread with a sliver of butter that melts soon.
It is easy to make a crostata, it doesn’t require special tools or any kind of skills. But it’s fun to deliberately complicate it: watch lost in your thoughts the cookie cutters and ask for advice on how to decorate it, ask for the help of a second pair of hands to gently lift the pastry and cut it into the cake tin. It will be a general feeling or vague idea, but I think this crostata made by four hands is the best I’ve done so far…
- 125 g of raw cane sugar
- 175 g butter at room temperature
- 2 egg yolks
- 150 g of plain flour
- 125 g of whole wheat flour
- 1 pinch of salt
- Grated zest of 1 organic lemon
- 2 jars of lemon marmalade (250 g each)
- Rub the butter with the raw cane sugar with the tip of your fingers.
- Mix in the beaten yolks. Sift plain flour and whole wheat flour with a pinch of salt, then rub them in with the grated lemon zest.
- Knead into a ball, flatten it a little bit, wrap in cling film and let it rest in the fridge for a few hours, or overnight.
- Heat the oven to 180°C.
- Remove the pastry from the fridge, halve the ball and knead it, then roll it out on a floured surface with a rolling pin.
- Roll out the pastry on the bottom of a 15 cm round cake tin.
- Spread the lemon marmalade on the bottom of the crostata and use the left pastry to decorate the crostata it.
- Bake the crostata for 25 - 30 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool before serving.