Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Apricot Crostata

I've been scouring the Internet for an "apricot crostate" recipe for some time. My local Italian restaurant used to serve one. It has since changed ownership so the dessert menu is different. I miss the apricot crostate. They only made it once a week; they claimed it was a lot of work for the pastry chef to make. Okay. It's a rustic tart with apricot jam and fruits. How hard can it be? Well. Considering there aren't a lot of recipes out there called apricot crostate, maybe it is hard? So widen my search. Crostata, tart, tartlet, pie. I find a few recipes but none like the one I had at the restaurant. I did find some good looking photos with recipes in Italian, but since I don't speak or read Italian I was a bit nervous to just translate the recipe into English using Google. But tell me doesn't this sound lovely: Crostata con Marmellata di Albicocche? File under "Dolce." Of course. Translated, it means Apricot Jam Tart. The Italian sounds so much fancier. Anyway, search and search. I combined parts of a lot of different recipes to settle on this recipe. My daughter announced, "Mom. This is the best thing you've ever made." Okay then. I hope your response is that strong.

Apricot Crostata
1-1/2 c. flour plus extra for rolling
1/2 c. cornmeal
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
9 T. butter* at room temperature
1/2 c. sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
14 oz. apricot jam
1 large nectarine sliced thin 

Whisk together flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder. 

In a stand mixer beat together butter and sugar. Mix in egg and egg yolk. Add flour mixture. Blend until smooth. 

Separate dough into 1/3 and 2/3 balls. Wrap in plastic and chill 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour the bottom and sides of your springform pan**. Take the 2/3 ball and using flour, roll out to a circle a little bigger than your pan. Lift into the pan and press in place and up the sides a bit. If the dough breaks, don't worry, just press it back together. Cover the crust with the apricot jam. Arrange the sliced nectarines on the top. For a lattice, roll out the 1/3 ball of dough, cut into strips and arrange on the top of the nectarines as best you can. This crust is a little crumbly and hard to handle but it's forgiving and tastes great. Don't worry too much about how it looks, it's supposed to be rustic. Bake until just golden, about 25-30 minutes. Enjoy with ice cream for dessert or coffee for breakfast.

*Dairy-free: substitute Smart Balance Butter Spread for butter.
**Pan: I use an 11" springform pan. I avoid the nonstick kind because they get too hot and over-brown your crust. No one likes over-brown crust. No one. So this is the one I use. Hand wash and dry well or it will get rusty. Take care of it and it will make awesome baked things for a really long time.