These days, at work, we have formed a sort of “baking club”. We bring each other pies, cookies and, what I like the most, baking goods typical of the countries we come from.
I love to try new food and I love even more to try new sweet goods! The stranger the better. In the end, though, there are some products that we more or less make the same way. Take bread, or flatbread (we have pitas, piadinas, tortillas, naan, you name it).
Shortcrust falls into this category. In Italy, we call a tart made with shortcrust (and whatever you want to put on) “Crostata”. “Crostatina” is the little tartlet. Every kid in Italy remembers their nana’s crostata, usually with apricot jam (at least in my village).
In Sale there was a woman who owned a corner shop, but no one went there to buy cans of tuna. We all went there for her magnificent crostatas. God bless you, Ruvrona (I can’t even remember her name, since we all called her with her nickname, coming from who knows where).
If you want to prepare a crostata the Ruvrona would envy, then, follow the recipe (thank you Giallo Zafferano):
Pastra frolla (shortcrust pastry)
2 cold eggs
500 g of flour
250 g of unsalted butter
200 g of icing sugar
Optional: zest of a lemon (not too fond of lemon zest here, so I usually don’t use it).
Jam: 450 g of your favourite jam
A 24 cm pie dish
In order to prepare a nice shortcrust, it’s imperative that we don’t heat the butter up too much. A nice and easy method to avoid this and to make the process quicker is to put the flour (it’s not necessary to put the whole of it, half is enough) in a food processor, together with the butter, cut in dices. If the food processor has the “Pulse” function, this is the moment to use it. If not, just turn it on for 4 seconds at a time, thus avoiding the butter to become too warm. We aim to get fine crumbs of butter and flour. If we do not have a food processor, we simply use the so-called “rubbing method”, breaking the butter between our fingers until we obtain the same fine crumbs.
Once done, we can add in the sugar, make a little well in the centre and add in the eggs. We start bringing the dough together with a wooden spoon and we finish on the counter surface. We only want to bring it together; we don’t need to develop any gluten. As soon as the dough is uniform and smooth, we wrap it in cling film and to the fridge it goes 🙂
We can keep the pastafrolla in the fridge for a maximum of two weeks. We can freeze it for way more, up to two months. If we want to bake straight away, we can leave it resting for however much we like (I would say a minimum of an hour) and when we are ready we can roll it.
To be honest I do not measure it and, personally, I like to feel the base so I don’t like it too thin, so do as you prefer.
We lay our dough on the plate and we trim it around the edge. We fill it with our favourite jam (I just love blueberries and blackcurrant, and soon enough I will be trying out rhubarb, apple and cinnamon in crostatine) and with the leftovers of the pastafrolla, we can prepare a little lattice for the top of the tart.
In the oven it goes, temperature 170 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes. We want it a nice golden brown colour.
Congratulations! You have just prepared your first crostata! 🙂