Saturday, January 31, 2009
Elizabeth's December Pie - Apricot Jam Crostata
(Picture from Sunset Magazine. I don't drink coffee.)
Apricot Jam Crostata (Crostata di Marmellata)
Source: Sunset's Fresh Ways with Italian Cooking
Event: Santo Stefano
I've been making this recipe since my mission 14 years ago. I had jam crostatas like this many, many times on my mission (I never had a free-form crostata in Italy. Maybe that's a Southern Italian thing?) The recipe is super easy. I made it for years with just a bowl, a mixing spoon, a couple of knives, and a fork, so a food processor isn't necessary.
This particular crostata was made for Santo Stefano, which is the day after Christmas in Italy (Wikipedia says that St. Stephen's Day is to honor Christianity's first martyr, but no one I talked to in Italy knew who he was. For Italians, most holidays are just another excuse to eat, so it's all good).
I usually make a huge, multi-course meal for friends on Santo Stefano, but this year I couldn't do it. I'm barely keeping my head above water, and I just couldn't do something that elaborate. So Jeff and I took some friends out to dinner at an Italian restaurant instead. It was super fun, and there was no clean up! To honor the cooking aspect of the holiday, though, I still wanted to make something, so I made this very Italian dessert, Apricot Jam Crostata.
Sunset cookbook's note: "Ask an Italian to name the dessert remembered most fondly from childhood, and the answer will probably be crostata. But you can enjoy this jam-filled tart even if you didn't grow up in Rome or Florence -- It's easy to make right at home."
Apricot Jam Crostata
2 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 jar (18 oz) good-quality apricot jam (I think this is too much. I'd say 14 oz max. It spills over the sides otherwise, and looks ugly)
1/4 cup water (Again, I say a little less)
In a food processor, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add butter and whirl until fine crumbs form. Add egg and egg yolk; whirl until evenly moistened. If mixture is too dry, mix in cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until clumps of dough hold together when squeezed. Gather dough into a ball.
Cut off about a fourth of the dough, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate. Press remaining dough over bottom and up sides of a 10- or 11-inch tart pan with a removable rim.
Mix jam and the water; spread evenly in crust.
Place reserved dough on a lightly floured board. With your fingers, roll dough into a 6-inch-long log. Cut log in half crosswise. Cut one piece in half crosswise; cut other piece into quarters crosswise. With your fingers, roll the 2 larger pieces into thin 8-inch-long ropes. Crisscross the ropes on top of the jam to form an X in the center of the tart.
Roll remaining 4 pieces of dough into 4-inch-long ropes; crisscross on jam to form 2 small X shapes, one on each side of the big X.
Bake tart in a 350 degree oven until crust is barely golden, about 30 minutes. Let cool in pan on a rack for at least 30 minutes before serving (otherwise, jam will run). Remove pan rim and cut tart into wedges to serve. Makes 8 servings.