Monday, July 6, 2009

Fig Raspberry Crostata

I mentioned this crostata before, it is amazing, beautiful, and tasty. The filling has figs and raspberries, an unlikely combination that works perfectly. I have many memories related with figs, which grow almost wild in Italy. My first and not too fond memory of figs was of the smell of rotting fruit fallen from a huge, ancient looking tree. This tree grew in the back of a fort, left over after WWI, located in a tiny island in the Venetian lagoon, called Isola di Crevan. We used to sail to the island to join our friends whose relatives owned this tiny paradise, and spent amazing weekends, hiding, jumping off the dock, eating cherries from the trees.

Like I mentioned before, there is a short time where you can find the first figs a tree produces in the spring, to be followed in the fall by a second more bountiful crop. I was able to find organic figs that were not too expensive so I had the perfect excuse to make this.

The recipe comes from Baking with Julia, and the contributing baker is Leslie Mackie. If you don't know this book, it is a trove of recipes, most very rustic and delicious. Maybe I should start a Baking with Julia challenge. Like...I have the time.

The crust has almonds in it and is delicious. I changed the recipe a little because the original recipe had too much butter and the crust was impossible to work with. The following recipe is plenty buttery but less sticky. The dough is still very soft and in fact can be pressed directly into the tart mold, but to cut the lattice strips I advise you to roll the dough and freeze it before cutting it. The other thing I did was to skip the sesame seeds in the crust, somehow I thought they were an over kill. The filling is almost the same with slightly less sugar.

The tart tasted even better with the lemon verbena ice cream I made the other day.

Almond Tart Dough
9" lattice tart

2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup unbleached almonds
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
Zest of one lemon
6 oz cold butter, cut in 1/2" cubes

Whisk the eggs together with the vanilla extract. Process the almonds with a tablespoon of sugar until they are finely chopped. Add the remaining sugar, flour, salt, and zest and mix just to combine. Add the butter and mix until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add the egg mixture and mix only until the dough is uniformly moistened, 15 seconds. Fully blend the ingredients by hand mixing gently a couple of times. Divide the dough in two unequal pieces (the smaller will be used for the lattice top). Press the bigger piece into the tart mold and freeze. After the rest of the dough has chilled for an hour, roll it in between two pieces of parchment paper until 1/8" thick. Freeze until ready to use.

Fig Raspberry Filling

12 oz. Figs, quartered
12 oz. Raspberries
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon butter

Put half of the fruit in a heavy bottom sauce pan and cook with the rest of the ingredients until bubbly. Turn the heat off and add the rest of the fruit. Chill completely before adding it to the tart.

To assemble the tart:
Add the filling to the frozen tart. Cut the frozen rolled dough in 1/2" strips, and use them to make the lattice top. Sprinkle with crystal sugar and bake at 350F until bubbly, rotating once.


Sophie said...

Lovely: I bet it tasted fabulous! MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM,....8)!!

Ilva said...

Lovely, Laura! and the figs are ripening over here, had a bunch the other day....

Jill said...

That filling looks delicious! I will have to try the tart dough--I like the changes you made to it.

Rose at The Bite Me Kitchen said...

I love your adaptations. I, too, often find that the crusts are over-buttery and use unnecessary amounts of sugar. It's those tiny tweaks that bring food back to what it should be - delicious, full of real flavor, and appealing to the senses. Beautiful crostatas!

Simona said...

Lucky you, to be able to find figs that were not too expensive. I miss figs a lot. I used to eat them all the time in the summer, and also to pick them whenever I could. I wish I could grow a fig tree here. Anyway, interesting combination: figs and raspberries.

Lien said...

Ah this looks so wonderful. I love figs, they're so expensive and sometimes hard to get here in autumn (let alone spring). Love that crust, must get me one that gives such a nice edge sometimes.
I planted a figtree last year (not as much warmth and sun here as they would get in ITaly), it has 1 fig now, maybe next year 2?

Pupina said...

What a lovely crostata, I like it!


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