Agree that all Italian desserts are associated with specific places. For example, tiramisu smells like an expensive restaurant, gelato is inextricably linked to a summer cafe, and panna cotta is a fan of a noisy party. Our delicacy today is fragrant with the scents of a country house and the warmth of my grandmother's hands. His name is Crostata, an Italian open pie based on shortcrust pastry and toppings. Her recipe in the republic arose so long ago that she is considered the eldest in her category of dishes. You will learn what crostat is and how to cook it at home from our article.
Who is the author - a nun or a mermaid?
The origin of crostata is associated with a very beautiful legend. It is said that the inhabitants of Napoli decided to thank Parthenop's siren for her sweet songs, bringing exquisite gifts: flour is a symbol of strength and wealth; cottage cheese - painstaking work; eggs - a renewal of life; wheat in milk is a symbiosis of two worlds; flower water - the bounty of nature; sugar and spices as an image of sweet singing. The mermaid laid gifts at the feet of the gods, who returned them in the form of a sweet cake.
Another and more realistic version claims that the nun invented the crostat in the ancient monastery of San Gregorio Armeno. A woman associated the cake with the resurrection of Jesus Christ. From here came the custom of baking and eating it on Good Friday.
Another episode in the life of Crostat is associated with the Bourbon family. Once the crew of the Marquis de Rubis, while traveling in Naples, fell into a hole, damaging the wheel. It was night, so the unfortunate had to ask for shelter in a family of farmers. They greeted the sudden guests with a sweet cake. The marquis was delighted with the dessert and took the recipe for the royal table.
“Cozy” baking not only conquered tastes, but also made the impossible. Everyone knew that Queen Maria Theresa of Austria, the wife of King Ferdinand II of Bourbon, never smiles. On the festive day of the Resurrection of Christ, a noble lady succumbed to her husband's entreaties and tasted sweet pastries. A smile blossomed on her face. The incident was also decorated with the joke of a witty ruler. He remarked: "My wife was given a smile from a crostat. Now I have to wait for the next Easter to see her laughing again!"
There are endless variations of both sweet and salty crostat. At the same time, the former act as desserts, while the latter can be served as a main course.
In sweet treats, fruit purees are most often used as fillings: apricot, cherry, peach, berry, plum, quince. Sometimes an empty base is first baked, which is then filled with custard topped with slices of fresh fruit - this version is called crostata di frutta.
One of the modern types of dessert is crostata alla nutella (a pie filled with the famous nut chocolate paste).
In central Italy, crostata di ricotta is especially popular. The filling for it is made from ricotta with sugar and lemon zest. Although a variant is possible, supplemented by cocoa and raisins.
Ingredients for salted crostat may include pre-cooked meat, fish, and vegetables. The recipe book Opera dell'arte del cucinare has a version of the pie with crab and shrimp meat.
There is no single recipe for making crostats. But out of all the diversity, we will single out the best options for you to work miracles right in your kitchen.
We will offer two versions of the base for the pie: classic and lean or vegetarian. The latter does not contain animal products such as eggs and butter.
Classic basics recipe
So, for a classic crostat we need:
- Wheat flour - 300 g;
- Sugar - 120 g;
- Butter - 150 g;
- Chicken egg - 1 pc.;
- Yolk - 1 pc.;
- Salt is a pinch.
The preparation of the base begins with sifting the flour and mixing it with salt and sugar. Cut the butter into small cubes and combine with the sugar-flour mass. Mix everything thoroughly until large crumbs are formed. Then we drive an egg and yolk into the center of the future test and mash until a compact texture is obtained. We form a ball, wrap it with cling film and send it to the refrigerator for half an hour.
We grease the round baking dish (diameter about 24 cm) with butter. We roll out the finished dough to a thickness of about 5 mm, carefully wrap it on a rolling pin and transfer it to a mold. We crush the base in capacity and roll it with a rolling pin along the edges of the walls to cut off the excess.
In order for the cake to be well baked, carefully, but often pierce the bottom of the base with a fork. We distribute the filling, the options for which we will present below. From the remnants of the dough we form strips about 1 cm wide and decorate the cake with a pattern in the form of a cell.
We bake a classic crostat in an oven preheated to 180 degrees for 30-35 minutes.
Lean or vegetarian base
Enjoy delicious Italian pie not only regular sweet tooth, but also vegetarians, as well as Christians, fasting. And, if it’s quite simple to determine the filling, then the basis recipe needs to be known for sure.
- Wheat flour - 400 g;
- Vegetable oil - 70 ml;
- Sugar - 80 g;
- Cold water - 140-150 ml;
- Baking powder - 1 tsp;
- Salt - a pinch;
- Zest of one lemon.
On the working surface we combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and lemon zest. Add oil and knead thoroughly, gradually introducing cold water. The dough is compact, but soft and resilient. The formed ball is wrapped with a film and sent to the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Further, the process of cooking lean crostata does not differ from the classic version.
Having chosen the recipe for the basics, you need to decide on the filling. There are a lot of them for dessert. If you prefer simplicity and conciseness, then you can stop at any fruit, berry puree or jam. For fans of culinary experiments, we will describe the most extravagant and popular versions.
With strawberries and custard
Italian crostat with strawberries must be cooked in tandem with custard. For him we need:
- Egg yolks - 4 pcs.;
- Flour - 40 g;
- Sugar - 100 g;
- Milk - 400 ml;
- Vanilla pod.
This amount of cream will take about 500 g of fresh strawberries.
We do the filling when the dough is suitable in the refrigerator. Beat the yolks with sugar. Add flour, stir and simmer with vanilla bean for about 5 minutes. We remove the spice and gradually pour the milk, without removing the pan from the heat. We continue the process until the cream thickens. In order not to form lumps, the mass must be constantly stirred with a whisk.
The cooled cream is distributed on a raw basis in a container and baked at 180 degrees 30 minutes. While the cake is being prepared, we wash the strawberries and cut them into plates about 5 mm thick.
On a baked crostat, spread the strawberries in a circle (not horizontally, but slightly inserting the base of the plate into the cream). The result is a semblance of a blossoming flower.
In order to keep the pastries longer, you can cover it with a thin layer of gelatin. Simply prepare the gelatin solution, following the instructions on the packaging, and spread it on the surface of the berries with a silicone brush. It is important that strawberry crostat should be stored in the refrigerator.
At first glance, a simple crostat with cherries in its preparation requires a lot of patience. The filling contains the following components:
- Fresh cherry - 1 kg;
- Cherry Jam - 350 g;
- Sugar - 100 g;
- Zest of one lemon.
At the beginning we prepare cherries: wash, cut in half and remove the stone. Mix the berries with sugar in a pan with a thick bottom and cook until the liquid is almost completely removed (about half an hour).
First, lay the jam on the base, and then prepared cherries and sprinkle with lemon peel. We bake such a treat for 40-45 minutes or until the edges become golden brown.
Store crostat with cherry at room temperature, covered with a lid or foil, not more than 3-4 days.
Lemon crostat is considered the most perfect lemon pie. Not too sour and not too sweet, while the creamy, velvety taste is gently wrapped in a citrus veil. For the filling, not just lemons with sugar or jam are used, but a special cream is prepared. It includes the ingredients:
- Water - 250 g;
- Sugar - 160 g;
- Lemon juice - 50 g;
- Potato starch - 50 g;
- Butter - 50 g;
- Zest of one lemon.
In the case of lemon crostat, we bake the base first, putting parchment and a press of peas or rice groats on it.
While the dough is baking, prepare the cream. Combine sugar with starch and zest. Gradually introduce water, mix thoroughly. We put the pan on low heat and cook for 5 minutes until a jelly-like state. Turn off the heat and introduce lemon juice, and then chopped butter.
On a slightly cooled basis, distribute the warm cream and smooth the surface with a knife. Eat cold lemon crostat. Why pre-placed in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
The described fillings can be adjusted to your liking. For example, replace strawberries with apples, cherries with any berries, lemons give way to other citrus fruits. Lovers of dairy products are better suited for crostat with cottage cheese, for which the latter is mixed with sugar and egg yolks. In general, the recipe for the filling of an Italian dessert is unlimited scope for your imagination.
The calorie content of baking directly depends on the chosen filling. On average, it ranges from 350 to 450 kcal per 100 products. Suppose a crostat with fruit jam holds about 420 kcal, which are composed of:
- Protein 0.9 g;
- Fat 16.5 g;
- Carbohydrates 71.7 g.
As you can see, the main energy load falls on carbohydrates. Therefore, people with diabetes and being overweight should refrain from eating treats.
To reduce calories in your meal, reduce sugar and use low-fat dairy products. But the best choice would be to limit the portion and engage in mobile work. For example, arrange an hour-long bike ride.
That's all about the cake with a taste of country life. You can surprise your loved ones with a new crostat for a very long time. Do not be afraid of experiments, live without borders, and remember: "You won’t spoil the crostat with the filling!"