Thursday, 27 June 2013

Daring Bakers: Crostate

Phew, this summer has been boiling, hasn't it? Here in Ontario, this season took it's time arriving, giving us cool weather all through May and half of June. The second that summer officially hit, though, it was like someone kicked Mother Nature in the butt and suddenly it was 28 degrees (Celsius, mind) with a humidex of 36. Jesus. Bless air conditioning.

I've been a horrible foodie and neglecting my blog. I have no real excuse. But I promise to attempt to redeem myself and nurse my poor Phenomenom back to health this summer! We have a bunch of food festivals heading our way, so I should have plenty of inspiration.

Today, I come back to the online foodie world with a recipe from the Daring Bakers. Rachael from pizzarossa was our lovely June 2013 Daring Bakers’ host and she had us whipping up delicious pies in our kitchens! Cream pies, fruit pies, chocolate pies, even crack pies! There’s nothing like pie! :)

I chose fruit pie and went tropical with a mango jam filling. It's a little twist that worked amazingly. This pie is fruity, refreshing and perfect for a hot summer day (especially if you scoop on some coconut ice cream!). Try it out yourself- you can use any jam, nut paste or curd (ugh, I was tempted to go curd- a rhubarb curd would be awesome, don't you think?).

The recipe was adapted by our host Rachael from Carol Field's "The Italian Baker".

Italian Crostate with Mango Jam
Filling: You'll need about 2 cups of jam/curd/nut paste for this pie. Use more or less, depending on your own pie. You can make your own, demand a jar of your friend's homemade stuff or buy it. As long as you like how it tastes, go crazy! I used this recipe for mango jam from (I put in saffron and found it a bit overpowering, so next time I'll probably leave it out).

Italian Pie Pastry (Pasta Frolla)
•2/3 cup (160 ml) (150 gm) (5-1/3 oz) unsalted butter, room temperature
•1/3 cup (80 ml) (75 gm) (2-2/3 oz) sugar
•1 large egg, room temperature
•1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
•grated zest of 1 medium lemon
•1-2/3 cups (400 ml) (225 gm) (8 oz) all-purpose (plain) flour
•pinch salt

Note: This will make more than you need. Store leftover glaze in a jar in the fridge and reheat before using. It should keep indefinitely.
•1/4 cup (60 ml) (75 gm) (2-2/3 oz) apricot jam (or any jam, really. I used my mango jam)
•1-2 teaspoons (5-10 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice

1. Using a paddle attachment on a stand mixer or an electric hand mixer or whisk, cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, 2-5 minutes. The amount of time you cream the butter will affect the final dough - longer means lighter which in turn means a softer, more fragile dough which is less easy to work, but I prefer the texture of the cooked pastry this way because it's lighter too. If you want to do a more intricate lattice, I'd recommend a shorter creaming time so you have a firmer dough.
2. Add the egg, vanilla and lemon zest, one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition.
3. Add the flour and salt and mix until the dough comes together but remains soft, about 1 minute using a stand or electric mixer or a wooden spoon if mixing by hand. Don't over-mix.
4. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to one hour.
5. When getting ready to bake, rest dough at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
6. Lightly grease a shallow 9"/24cm metal pie dish.
7. On either a piece of parchment or a lightly floured surface, roll 2/3 of the dough (2/3 is about 12oz/340g) out to a circle to generously line the pie dish. You can use parchment with a circle traced on it so you can roll it as quickly as possible, before the dough gets too soft to handle, then use the parchment to transfer it to the dish.
8. Transfer the dough to the pie dish, press in gently and roll the edges to form a good surface for attaching the lattice later. Prick all over the bottom with a fork.
9. Refrigerate the dough-lined pie dish for 30 minutes to reduce shrinkage during baking.
10. Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4.
11. Line pastry with parchment and fill with dry beans or pie weights. Bake until set, around 15 minutes.
12. Remove the weights and parchment and allow to cool. If using a springform or loose based pie dish, remove the side of the pan.
13. Preheat oven to moderately hot 400°F/200°C/gas mark 6.
14. Roll the remaining dough to fit the pie dish and cut it into roughly half inch/1.5cm-wide strips (or cut it into shapes, like I did).
15. Spread the filling over the par-baked crust.
16. Arrange the strips of dough in a lattice over the filling (see links below for some how-to guides - you can do an intricate intertwined lattice or a very simple overlay one like I've done), trim as needed and lightly pinch the ends onto the rolled edge of the bottom crust.
17. Place pie dish on a baking sheet and place in center of oven. Bake until lattice is golden, around 20 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the glaze.

1. Heat the jam and water in a small saucepan over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Alternatively, you can heat it on medium-high in a bowl in the microwave for about 2 minutes, stirring halfway.
2. Strain through a fine mesh sieve if it's chunky.
3. While glaze and pie are both still warm, brush over lattice crust.
4. Allow pie to cool completely before serving.