Wednesday, November 16, 2011

CROSTATA DI MARMELLATA (JAM TART)

MAKE A WISH


The occasional tapping of wrench against iron, footsteps across the creaking, ancient parquet and the hum of distant voices are the only things to break the silence of a silent apartment. The sun – finally, the long-awaited sun – sneaks in, wary to make too much of a show or to commit beyond today, as I sit and begin my week. Good moods have returned in spades, lighting up my days in a way that no bright ray of sunshine can. Whistling, singing, smiles bursting across rosy-cheeked male faces have a way of cheering me up and pushing me joyously through the day. My own sluggish, lackadaisical mood is reinvigorated and I find myself inspired once again. Things seem to be looking up in Crazy Town, our tiny private island lost in a sea of mankind has burst into summery bloom even as autumn sets in outside my windows. We are, once again, on the right track.

Bad dreams disintegrate into dust, evaporating into the pale, watery light of dawn, fading into a steady, calm peace. Hope fills our days after weeks of worry and woe and we laugh out loud. Autumn, my favorite season, has settled in wrapped in a golden glow and smelling oddly, beautifully of Christmas. As the blogosphere is all abuzz with Thanksgiving, sweet potato casserole, pumpkin pies and roast goose, bright, rich, exotic, warming tagines, ossobuco, curries and stews clutter my brain and I dream of far-off lands and Italy. Although no Thanksgiving finds a place in our humble home and Christmas is one of those remnants of JP’s former life which sneaks across the threshold, inviting itself for a star appearance once only every several years, the holiday season excites me, stirring up childlike images of fairy dust, twinkling lights and snow gently falling out of inky black skies, lighting up a romantically icy world. And we begin counting the days to Hanukkah.


Autumn has me thinking of crostate. Chilly autumn mornings gathered around the old wooden table in Ettore’s kitchen in that large, rambling house nestled in the fields outside Villastanza, the frost gathering on the stalks of corn just beyond the window. Bundled up against the crispness of an early November day, the stimulating aroma of freshly brewed coffee fills the room while the boys spill a tumble of cakes and cookies across the wooden surface, each grabbing up one, two, three of their favorites. A rustic crostata is uncovered * ta da * and takes its pride of place in the center, elbowing aside plates and mugs, turning up its nose at all the packaged goodies who pale in comparison, amid the oohs and ahhhs of the men. A homey, comforting crostata, a buttery, crispy, delicate piecrust filled simply with our favorite marmellata, jam or jelly, hidden snugly under a lattice of more delicate crust. Slices greedily eaten and washed down with milk or caffé latte, nothing rich or heavy to weigh one down, just enough to fill tummies, a soothing, unpretentious treat to wake up to, a sweet kiss to start the day. Then dress the boys, wrap them up tightly in coats, mittens and wooly bonnets and scoot them off to school.


Yes, the humble crostata. Such an Italian treat! Simple, homey and rustic, ready in a flash, sweet and light. How many did I make, blending, rolling out dough, selecting a favorite jam, baking and serving to eager husband and children? Autumn may mean pumpkin and apple pies, cranberry muffins and sweet potato pancakes to others, but this season is inextricably intertwined with, bound to the beautiful crostata. My trip to Italy and a weekend with From Plate to Page brought the crostata back to me! It had been years since I baked one, too many years, yet a gift of marvelous, luscious homemade jams in an amazing, wild, creative combination of flavors was offered to us by Wendy of Sunchowder’s Emporia located in my home state of Florida, one of our generous, incredible sponsors. I ended up with a jar of Black Forest Jam, a stunning confection of blackberries, Callebaut chocolate and Chambord as well as a jar of Pumpkin Spice Butter. Ilva threw together some fabulous individual crostate during the weekend, which had me scratching my head in wonder at how I could have forgotten to bake this favorite goodie for so long. And as soon as we returned home, well, I did.


How many wishes have I wished in my life? Birthday candles blown out in one giant breath? Starlight, star bright, the first star I see tonight? Or standing atop that mountain in Italy outside of Bergamo on San Lorenzo, the night of the falling stars, le stelle candenti, quick quick grab at the first shooting star and make a wish! How many wishes come true? I have my Prince Charming… friendships deep and true have been granted…. two sons grown tall, healthy, handsome, smart and kind. But all of those wishes made over glowing lights and falling stars, coins picked up from sidewalks and eyelashes or fluffy dandelion blooms blown into the wind…well, not many. Yet, I was recently visited by The Fairy Hobmother, a surprise visit generously bestowing joy and granting wishes. He offered me an Amazon gift card and this holiday season will be that much sweeter, that much more brilliant because of his visit!

So I offer you a slice of crostata and a chance to make a wish in turn. Simply leave a comment here on this post, wishing a wish, and you too may receive a visit from The Fairy Hobmother!


A special thanks to our generous From Plate to Page sponsors:


Sunchowder’s Emporia whose stunningly delicious jams went into my crostata (order online or find a list of shops who sell the jams);
Taste of Home whose apron is worn proudly as I bake;
Zwilling J.A. Henckels (JP LOVES the knife)!

And The Fairy Hobmother from Appliances Online for the wish come true!

JAMIE’S CROSTATA

Pasta Frolla (Sweet Pastry Dough):

1 ¼ cups (175 g) flour
¼ tsp baking powder
Large pinch of salt
¼ cup + 1 Tbs (65 g) sugar
8 ½ Tbs (4 ½ oz/ 125 g) butter
1 large egg yolk + 3 – 5 tsp ice water

Place the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.

Cube the butter and toss the cubes in the dry ingredients to coat. Using the tips of your fingers and thumb, rub the butter and flour together quickly until all of the butter is blended in and there are no more lumps. Add the egg yolk and 3 teaspoons cold water and, using a fork, blend vigorously until all of the flour/sugar/butter mixture is moistened and starts to pull together into a dough. Add another teaspoon or two of ice water if needed.

Scrape the dough out onto a floured work surface and, using the heel of one hand, smear the dough inch by inch away from you in short, hard, quick movements; this will completely blend the butter in. Scrape up the smeared dough and, working very quickly, gently knead into a smooth, homogeneous ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 to 20 minutes if the dough is too sticky to easily roll.

Prepare the Crostata:

You will need 10 or 12 (more or less, depending on how thick you would like the jam layer) tablespoons jam, jelly or fruit butter total (can be divided into 2 or 4 flavors).

On a lightly floured surface (kept floured), roll out ¾ of the dough to fit a 9-inch (23 cm) pie plate. Gently press into place and trim off excess dough, adding this to the remaining dough. Spoon the jam or jelly into the crust and spread evenly over the bottom.


Roll out the remaining dough and slice (using a knife, pizza or pastry cutter) into ½ to 1-inch strips. Lay over the top of the jam layer as you like, evenly spacing the strips. Press the edges of the lattice strips to the edges of the dough to seal around the sides. Trim. Place the prepared crostata in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).

Bake the crostata for 20 to 25 minutes until puffy and the lattice crust as well as the bottom of the tart are a deep golden color.


Cool. Serve. Eat.

45 comments:

WiseMóna said...

Wow - I love the jam tart Jamie. One of the first things I learned how to bake home economics was shortbread biscuits with jam centers. I think I might still have the recipe somewhere! Lucky you winning something very useful, especially with the holiday season looming so close. Hope all is well. Unseasonably warm here which makes me worry in a calm-before-the-storm kinda way xx

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Humble maybe, but refined in its simplicity and surely fit for a king/queen! That crostata is really beautiful.

Rays of sunshine have made this beginning of the week shine with hope. Last week was so dull...

Cheers,

Rosa

Ilva Beretta said...

Costate rock Jamie!

bunkycooks said...

Gotta love that Fairy Hobmother! Gift cards from Amazon are perfect, especially this time of year! :)

I will have to order some of Sunchowder's jams and give them a try. I am sure they were delightful in your crostata. As always, your baking is beautiful.

Carolyn said...

Humble crostate? I think not! Yours is gorgeous.

Lisa said...

Simplicity is usually the tastiest. Jam crostatas are heaven to me - like linzer tarts and jam thumbprints, it's all about simplicity in consisting of just dough and jam - yet it's perfection every single time. Yours look wonderful. Congrats on all your goodies, success, love, health and happiness, not necessarily in that order!


Oh, and the Fairy Hobmother - I've encountered her numerous times the past year and made many, many wishes. Nothing yet - BUT, at least my sister is now cancer free, nothing can top that - and that was my biggest wish :)

Lana @ Never Enough Thyme said...

What a beautiful crostata. Love your creativity in using several kinds of jam. Brilliant.

Barbara | Creative Culinary said...

This is gorgeous and I love seeing my friend Wendy's equally gorgeous jam in your photo. Love when I see how we are so connected globally through blogging.

Kate at Serendipity said...

I love the bicolor crostata! What a wonderful idea. I'm going to steal it!

Fuji Mama said...

I'm wishing for a slice of this tart! I guess I'll have to make myself some. :)

My wish is to replace my chef's knife which has been laid to rest after inexplicably breaking in two while cutting through goat cheese. How something like that happens? I have no idea, since I hand wash all of my knives. RIP Chefs Knife.

Georgie said...

WOW, its beautiful and looks incredible tasty.

Sarah, Maison Cupcake said...

Looks super! Far better than the dinky little ones we used to eat.

Sunchowder said...

Oh dear Jamie, what a humble and delightful looking tart! I cannot thank you enough for the opportunity to be a sponsor for the workshop, and you are such a doll to write this up in your glowing words. I am so excited by this and love the photos. I look forward to seeing you again soon :)

Robin said...

There is a sense of elegance and loving precision in this crostata.

You may think it humble, but for me it would be a major baking accomplishment to end up with such a beauty.

So happy you had a wish come true, may many others come your way Jamie!

Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] said...

That tart looks amazing Jamie. Love the clean cuts. I wish my unequipped student home kitchen magically gets everything I need to bake whatever I want.

Liz the Chef said...

Gorgeous post. I finally met Wendy of Sunchowder Emporia over the weekend at IFBC. We were eating her incredible jams of out the jars, using apple slices or anything that resembled a utensil - fingers count!

Heather @ girlichef.com said...

This crostata is just beautiful. I love the duo of jams and your lattice is so perfectly done! I wish I had a new JA Henckels knife in my hand... ;)

Cake Duchess said...

Your crostata looks divina! I bet Wendy's jams are amazing. I need to visit her and sample all of them:) Save me a slice of your gorgeous crostata, per favore;)

Priscilla - She's Cookin' said...

I am loving the Sunchowder's jams you used in your beautiful bi-color crostata! I am wishing for an upgraded set of pots and pans - any recommendations?

Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen said...

What a beautiful crostata, I always gravitate towards jam tarts.

Barbara Bakes said...

How fun to do two flavors in one pie. It's a beautiful tart! Now I want to eat this for breakfast in Italy.

Priya said...

Beautifully done, i dont bother to grab a slice from this irresistible jam tart..

Nancy said...

I've always thought of crostata's for dessert - but I am all in favor of them for breakfast especially if filled with those luscious jams!!!
As for wishes, it would be for more time - to cook, to bake and to share it all with friends!

Rose said...

Oh I made my first one last week!

http://lespetitsplatsderose.blogspot.com/2011/11/la-crostata.html

But it looks not so good as yours :(

Félicitations !

katiez said...

I've been drooling over these photos for days.... If you want to pop this in the post for me, it would be sincerely appreciated. What?!? It's GONE???? Sigh....

browniegirlblog said...

That is one beautiful tart! I have never tried the weaving thing before! So many wishes Jamie! Gosh I wish I could have a slimline dishwasher. I could retire the aged two legged male one that I currently have hehehe...beautifully written and photographed post. Love it. I may just have to try my hand at one of these! Hugs to you, Colleen xxx

LadyRaven said...

That looks amazing and definitely another option for home made hannuka jam treat

Gabi said...

That Crostata is so beautiful- as your work always is!

I wish the wish I always wish:

"Health, Wealth and Happiness; Peace, Prosperity and Protection;
Joy, Understanding and Comfort! to all those of good heart" and that means to you too! <3

Thanks for the lovely post.

Kelly @ EvilShenanigans said...

That is so pretty! Thanks for the links to the ingredients, too! I know what is next on my shopping list!

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

Just when I thought your photos couldn't get any better Jamie, voila, they did. Lots of beautiful eye candy to enjoy along with a wonderful tart this morning.

I've found that even though people don't celebrate certain holidays, they always enjoy sharing the food associated with it. Very heartwarming moment in our crazy world today where it seems everyone is mad at someone about something. Maybe all diplomatic negotiations should take part at the dinner table.
Sam

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Crostata is one of my favourite tarts-I just love the sweet pastry. it's the perfect match to your sweet words!

Deeba PAB said...

My sweet Jmaie...so glad the sun is shining, and you are singing out LOUD! I love it so much, as much as this gorgeous crostata. Those pictures are stunning, the shots leaping off the page {...sadly only virtual}. How I wish I were there to share a slice of that beautiful tart. Hope you have weeks of good weather sistah! Live it up! xoxo

Soma said...

When I read through your posts, often times I wish to sit with a cuppa and read it by myself like I would do my favorite book. Such is your power of words; sensual and evocative. I just made apple cranberry jam and I want to make this now. I have never made a lattice pie before.

angela@spinachtiger said...

Jaime,this is is my kind of dessert. I'm Italian and like the cuisine, I've not much of sweet tooth, but I like a little something. This is also a show stopper for looks.

Barbara said...

I shall add this to my to do list. Might make it with fruit mince though.

I miss the time when my boys were young.

Nancy Baggett said...

What a wonderful post--lovely writing, appetizing pics (the tart crust looks perfect), and recipe that I can tell will be delectable. Keep up the good work.

Kiran @ KiranTarun.com said...

I am a huge jam tart lover - anything that remotely resembles jam, has my undying attention :D This is one drool-worthy crostata!

Nuts about food said...

I love crostata now as much as I disliked it growing up. Nobody ever baked it at home and the store bought, dry, boring ones with sticky, flavorless jam were just terrible. Now that I discovered homemade ones with lovely fruity jams I adore a buttery, crumbly crostata. Such a simple, satisfying treat or breakfast. There is not much to wish for right now because a big wish of mine came true today. I just found out I will be seeing my beloved sister and her children in a few weeks, and my autumn has become spring too. My heart is filled with joy.

Rachel Louisa. said...

This post made me so nostalgic - I grew up in Italy and now I need some crostata in my life! Delicious.

Anne.S.T. said...

Cake and jam = two good things in one. I can never get enough jam and would like a piece of that cake. The blog post reminds me one of my favorite childhood books "Bread and Jam for Frances"

Anh said...

Humble? I dont this this tart is anything humble Jamie! It looks GLORIOUS!

Jeanne @ CookSister! said...

Mmmmm, crostata! Too gorgeous Jamie - and aren't those Sunchowder jams a treat??

Meeta K. Wolff said...

I love flaky pastry and also love the fact we both post crostata recipes in the same week. Recipes like this are cherished because they are made quickly and often. No big fuss in the kitchen. Sunchowder jams are priceless for this!

Elizabeth said...

This looks SO good!

Mairi@Toast said...

Oh that crostata looks wonderful, summer has disappeared momentarily so it is a grey Sunday in Auckland....the upside is that it would be perfect for a slice of this crostata :)

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