Tag Archives: Jam

Crostata con Confettura (Jam Pie)

6 Oct

…..The crostata is perhaps  the oldest Italian dessert.  A popular tradition traces the origin of this Italian pie to the ancient Romans. This is the first kind of baked dessert that, as little girl, I learned to make from my mother.  It evokes memories of many happy hours spent with her in the kitchen preparing delicious food. This Italian version of an American pie can be prepared by using different ingredients such as jam, fresh fruit, ricotta cheese, chocolate (kids love a Crostata di Nutella) and pudding. It can satisfy a wide variety of palates! In Italy, it is not only eaten as a dessert, but often for breakfast too, with a hot cup of espresso or capuccino, or with tea in the afternoon.

CROSTATA CON CONFETTURA (JAM PIE)
Preparation time: 1 h               Baking time: 40 min.           Servings: 6-8

INGREDIENTS
300 g flour (245 g (1 ½ cups) all-purpose flour and 55 g (⅓ cup) potato starch)
5 g (1 teaspoon) baking powder

100 g (½ cup) granulated sugar
pinch of salt
130 g (½ cup + 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter (at room temperature)
1 egg and 1 egg yolk
grated zest of half lemon
350 g (1 cup) jam (fig, plum, strawberry, raspberry, peach and etc..)

DIRECTIONS
Preheat the oven to 170°C (350 °F)
To make crostata you first need to prepare the “pasta frolla”:

  1. Cream the butter
  2. Combine all the ingredients, handling them as little as possible
  3. Wrap the dough (the pasta frolla) in wax paper and let it rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Once the dough has rested, on a lightly floured board roll (or gently pat the pastry dough in the pan) ⅔ of the pastry dough to 4 mm (a little less than ¼ in) thickness, to line the bottom and sides of 24 cm (10 in) springform pan. 

The edge should have a slightly thicker layer of pastry than the bottom, about 5 mm (¼ in).  Prick the pastry bottom with the tines of a fork (four or five times is sufficient), then spread with the jam on the pasta frolla.  Roll the remaining pastry on a lightly floured board (3 mm), then with a sharp knife or pastry cutter cut it in strips (5 mm) wide and make a lattice top on the layer of jam. There might be some leftover pastry.

Bake the crostata until golden, about 35 minutes. Unmold the pie as soon as it is ready and let it cool on a rack. If left in the pan it will turn irremediably soggy.  It is great freshly baked but it definitely improves after a day if kept in a closed container.

——

Note: Usually the crostata crust is quite hard.  I prefer a tender, fluffy crust.  My recipe calls for starch,  baking powder (a leavening agent) and creaming the butter; all contribute to making the dough lighter.  A note on the jam: select a jam that is relatively low in sugar, or prepare your own.   For example the crostata in the picture has fig jam on top (see the recipe in the fig jam post).  Jams that contain a higher percentage of sugar tend to be negatively affected by the baking temperatures, turning sticky and ruining the final result.  -Paola

Advertisements

Confettura di Fichi (Fig Jam)

6 Oct

…..la delizia per eccellenza.  Figs are an ancient fruit, first appearing in the earliest of historic accounts.  They are the symbol of abundance and fertility, and they were even used as a sweetener before the advent of refined sugars.  Figs are rich in calcium, potassium, iron, phosphorus and high in fiber.  They are one of the most delicious and versatile fruits found both in savory (for example with Prosciutto di Parma) and sweet recipes.  In summer I have a ritual of making confettura di fichi, fig jam, a versatile ingredient for sweets and desserts, a filling for a brioche (breakfast pastry) or a condiment for cheese (it is delicious with Pecorino).  The whole point of making jam is so that you can then use it to make something else … that is even more delicious!

CONFETTURA DI FICHI (FIG JAM)

Preparation Time: 50 min.

INGREDIENTS
1 kg  (about 2 ½  lbs) fresh figs
300 g (1 ½ cup) granulated sugar
juice of one lemon

DIRECTIONS

  1. Wash the figs in plain cold water
  2. Cut off the stems, peel and dice the figs
  3. In a large saucepan, combine the diced figs, sugar, and lemon juice.  Bring to a simmer over medium low heat, stirring constantly.  Cover and simmer over low heat for  40-45 min, stirring frequently.  Remove the cover and continue simmering, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens. When the mixture gets quite thick, begin to stir constantly to keep from scorching.  This recipe makes 640 g of jam.

Good jam should cook until the temperature reaches 220-222°F/104-105°C on a candy thermometer.  If you don’t have a candy thermometer, use this test: Place a small amount of jam on a spoon and pour back sideways into the pan.  At first it will be liquid, then later two separate drops will form on the spoon. The jam is ready to be removed from the heat when it falls off the spoon as a single drop.  You can preserve your jam using your preferred canning recipe (refer to my post on strawberry jam for my canning method).  -Paola

%d bloggers like this: