I think I already said that Crostata is probably my favorite cake, and this is a crostata with a plus 🙂
It’s a recipe typical of the city of Rome, and more precisely of the Jewish ghetto, and even more precisely it seems (it is said) it has been first created by the very old Jewish pastry shop called “Boccione”, that still makes it nowadays.
The fruit used in this recipe is the visciole, which is slightly acid but quite sweet and it is one of the 3 types of Prunus cerasus existing in Italy (the other two are amarena, of light red color and more acid, and the marasca, smaller and more bitter and acid). I think in English it is called Morello cherry.
In the past there were a lot of these fruits by the markets, nowadays much less, unfortunately most of people prefer the cherries so they have a smaller market now compared to the past. But luckily you can still find, and also here in Hungary I manage to find them, probably it’s easier to find them in the markets here nowadays. Otherwise I have some relatives of my wife that use to give us.
The recipe of that shop is “secret”, I never tried it but from the photos I can see their pasta frolla (the dough) is different than usual, a bit lighter, maybe with less butter and sugar. But I like the normal frolla, and many other people too, so I used that recipe 🙂 they also fill it with more ricotta, but for me it’s enough like this too, I think it’s well balanced.
Let’s see the recipe now!
INGREDIENTS (28 cm):
For the dough:
- 450 g flour (personally I use 2/3 spelt/einkorn flour and 1/3 whole spelt flour)
- 230 g cold butter
- 220 g sugar
- 4 yolks
- the zest of 1 lemon, not treated
- a teaspoon of salt
For the ricotta cream:
- 500 g fresh ricotta (better sheep ricotta) *
- 150 g powdered sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons of anise liqueur (Sambuca originally, but for example Ouzo works well too)
For the sour/morello cherries:
- 800 g sour cherries (unpitted)
- 60-70 g sugar
*since I’m in Hungary I used the local Orda, which is very similar to ricotta.
- 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 dough must not be worked for long time.
- 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 1-2 hours, better 4-5 hours.
- Meanwhile prepare the visciole: wash them, remove the pits and then cook them at medium heat with the sugar for about 20 minutes, until their water is gone and they are thicker (they are more juicy than cherries).
- While the sour cherries are cooking prepare also the ricotta cream: add the ricotta in a bowl, add also the powdered sugar and the anise liqueur, and mix with a hand whisk until you have a nice smooth cream. Then switch off the heat under the sour cherries and let them cool down a bit.
- 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 flatten 2/3 of 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 with the remaining 1/3 of the dough.
- 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.
- First spread the visciole/sour cherries “jam” on the bottom, and then spread the ricotta cream over it.
- Now flatten the remaining dough at a thickness of 2-3 mm and place it carefully on the top, to cover the whole cake. Don’t place it too tight but leave it “comfortable”, so when in the oven the filling will rise it will not break the top. Make also some holes with a fork, as in the photos. If extra dough remains you can do biscuits.
- Bake at 160/170 °C, fan-assisted mode, for about 40-45 minutes.
- When it’s ready let it cool down, and then serve it 🙂
PS: if some dough remains you can for example bake some biscuits with it 🙂 I usually do 5-6 pieces that I bake next to the cake.
Flour: Organic Spelt and Whole Spelt flours from Pasztòi Malom. Organic stone ground einkorn flour and whole spelt flour from Mulino Marino in the last photo.