Climbing the steep windy path you finally reach the end of your laborious journey atop a plateau. You are greeted by a wondrous view of a lush valley below with sage color olive groves, old villa’s with red rooftops, and stunning fields of poppies dancing in the breeze. This breathtaking view is complemented by hazy oranges, yellows and pinks of the setting sun. As this Tuscan scene sweeps you to another place, I am sure this pie will do the same. Oh by the way, reread the first line………
Although this crust is heavenly delicious, you can expect to put in a lot of elbow grease to get it that way. The crust is a pile of crumbs after you add all the ingredients together. The recipe recommends that you knead the dough for 10 mins. I thought to myself “you’ve got to be kidding?” As I started working the dough, after a few minutes with little success, I was certain I left out an ingredient. I went back and read the recipe again, nope, then kept kneading for a few minutes. At this point I had a ball the size of a golf ball…..the rest of the dough laid in crummy heap on the counter. I reread the recipe for the second time hoping I had overlooked something, nope. At about six minutes of constant kneading my ball of dough was now the size of a tennis ball but there was still 1 cup of crumbs on the pastry towel. Feeling defeated and weaken in the arms I read the recipe for the third time, nope I still hadn’t left out anything. I continued to knead and used my small ball to pick up the crumbs and slowly but surely the crumbs became a dough ball. It took about 12 mins.
Although, I was not looking forward to making this crust again, I made this recipe a few days later, because it was so delicious. After I had mixed all the ingredients together and had a crummy mess again I decided to do some investigating. Thirty minutes of reading brought me to the conclusion that if I added 2 TBSP of ice cold water to the dough it would not change the flavor but make it easier to work with. It was exactly the magic I needed!
The dough taste like a buttery shortbread cookie. It is a little thicker than a pie crust giving the filling the extra support that it needs to be eaten without a fork…..almost like finger food. The Nutella filling is rich, yet simple. The reason I like this recipe so much is you can also make it from the jam in your cupboard. In addition the filling doesn’t need anything added to it. So once you get past making the crust, you’ve got yourself a truly surprisingly delicious pie.
ITALIAN CROSTATA PIE
The Romans favored honey based desserts and used fruits quite liberally to sweeten their dishes. Most of the desserts of Italy have been handed down from the Roman era.
The Middle East influence on the Italian crostata was the ricotta based dessert that came via the Jews who settled in Italy. Each part of Italy favors a different type of crostata. The Southern part of Italy favors the ricotta based sweets while the Italians to the North favor the creamy and fruity confections that originated in Rome.
Ingredients COOK TIME: 350°
- 2 cups flour 30-35 mins.
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 egg and 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 cup butter softened
- 3/4 cup jam
Mix all dry ingredients together
- Add slightly beat egg and egg yolk.
- Add softened butter cut into pieces.
- Mix together.
~ Now it’s time to work your crumbly dough.
~ With a slightly floured surface, a little elbow grease, work your dough until you have a soft dough ball, should take about 10 mins.
~ I know some of you are wondering what “working your dough means”. It means playing with it like you would play-dough until all the ingredients are mixed together and stay together.
~ Wrap your dough ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. (you can also refrigerate up to 24 hours before use).
~ After removing dough from fridge knead until it softens up, on your lightly floured surface.
~ Roll dough out to 1/8″ thickness and round in shape (you”ll have extra dough for lattice work).
~ Transfer to an ungreased 8-9 inch pie pan. I transfer dough by rolling it over my rolling pin and unrolling into pie pan. (look for video under tips and tricks).
~ Trim any extra dough. I use scissors for this and let the dough hang over the pan about 2 inches for making your crust later.
~ Fill the pastry shell with the jam or Nutella.
~ With the extra dough make strips to create a lattice finish.