It’s been a while without posting anything (in the last weeks we’ve been in Amalfi coast, Naples and Sicily, and we didn’t really want to use internet 🙂 ), so I think it’s time to do some new posts 🙂
This is one of the most typical cakes eaten for breakfast in the Italian families, and I guess it’s not needed to say that it’s one of my favorites 🙂
To do this cake is not too complicated, as usual the quality of the ingredients will make the difference, so a good flour will give a better taste than an average flour, a good butter will be better than a less good butter (and again, margarine is forbidden, there is also a technical reason why, we’ll see later), and also a not treated lemon is to prefer.
There are some different recipes of Italian pasta frolla, but the easiest to remember, and probably the most traditional is this one: choose a quantity of flour, then 50% of that weight in butter and 50% in sugar, and 1 yolk for about each 100g of flour…easy to remember, as I said 🙂
A good crostata must be friable/crumbly (and this perfect result can be reached only by using animal fat, so with margarine for example you will have a gummy/plastic texture, not really pleasant), then according to your taste you can have a more crunchy crostata if you increase the sugar and reduce the butter. Or if you want it more crumbly, use more butter than sugar.
(And personally, in a good crostata I like to notice the butter taste in it!)
And good “pasta frolla” (the base) must be worked fast and not too much, and if it’s perfectly made it shouldn’t attach to your hands when it’s ready.
Let’s see the process now 🙂
INGREDIENTS (for a 28cm cake):
- 270g flour
- 140g butter
- 130g sugar (someone prefers powder sugar, you can try, also cane sugar in powder)
- 3 yolks (but keep the egg whites)
- the zest of 1 lemon (not treated)
- a pinch of salt
- 1 jar of jam (the one you prefer)
- First of all let’s prepare the pasta frolla: put in one bowl the flour (which you must previously sift two times), the sugar, the butter cut into small pieces (the butter must be cold), the yolks, the lemon skin and the salt, and start mixing all together energetically. The pasta frolla is ready when you have a nice round and homogeneous ball 🙂 this process should be made as fast as possible, the butter inside must not get too much warm.
- Then take the pasta, flatten it a bit, just to have about a square shape, put it in a plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge for at least 1 hour, better 2.
- Now that the pasta frolla is more stable, put some flour on your working table (but take care, too much flour will remain on the surface of your crostata, giving a matt/grey color) and roll the pasta frolla using a rolling pin at a thickness of about 3/4mm.
- Now roll the pasta frolla on the rolling pin, and put it into a crostata pan (before spread some butter on the bottom of the cake pan), paying attention not to break it.
- Fit nicely the pasta frolla in the cake pan, and cut the exceeding pasta frolla: we will use it to make some stripes to decorate the top of the cake after we have spread the jam.
- Now, with a fork, pierce all the surface of the pasta frolla, in this way while baking it will not rise and it will not break the bottom of the cake.
- Spread your favorite jam on all the surface with a table spoon (my favorite is fig jam, in this case I used the last jam that my wife’s cousin made and brought from Vancouver, made with wild blueberry, which was also very good 🙂 and in the photos below a cherry jam with pine nuts), and decorate with the exceeding pasta frolla.
- Now with a brush spread some egg white on the surfacing pasta frolla, and put in the oven at 170-175 °C, fan-assisted mode, for about 30 minutes. It’s ready when it gets a nice color, hazelnut/gold…but have always a look on it while baking, every oven is different.
- Once it’s ready, let it cool down, and then eat it 😀 you can also add some powder sugar on the surface.
PS: is perfect with an Earl Grey tea 🙂
Flour: “Farina Biologica di Grani Teneri Antichi” from Azienda Agricola Floriddia (first photos), and “Farina Sette Effe Bio” (a mix of wheat, durum, rye, farro, maize, rice and buckwheat flours) from Mulino Marino (last photos), probably my favorite for crostata.
Butter: Kerrygold for the first cake, a handcraft Italian mountain butter for the second.
Eggs: from free range hens, by a local farmer