Prep Time: 1 hour | Cook Time: 40 minutes
This Italian tart, courtesy of Amelia Pane Schaffner, a native Italian and wonderful cook, who blogs at zTastyLife. Like all true crostatas, it has a tender crust made of pasta frolla dolce (sweet shortcrust pastry), but her secret ingredient is baking powder, which makes the dough light and airy. A ganache-like filling is enriched with a few tablespoons of cherry jam. Eat the crostata for dessert the day you bake it or chilled the next day for breakfast, the way Amelia does.
photo courtesy of zTastylife.com
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
7 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
7 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons cherry jam
To make the pastry: in a bowl, mix the flour, powdered sugar, salt and baking powder with a fork. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the butter. Working quickly, rub the butter and dry ingredients together with your fingers until the butter is broken into tiny crumbles (or cut in butter with a pastry knife). Again, make a well in the center of the mixture and add the eggs. Stir together with the fork, working quickly, then scrape out onto a floured surface and knead gently to form a ball; do not knead dough too long or it will be tough.* Divide dough into two balls, one slightly bigger than the other, and flatten each slightly. Wrap each ball with plastic and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, to make the filling: in a small pan over medium-low heat, melt the chocolate with the milk, stirring with a rubber spatula until smooth. Stir in the cherry jam and set aside until cool.
To finish the crostata, preheat an oven to 350°F. Remove the dough from the refrigerator, unwrap it and place the larger ball on a lightly floured surface. Roll with a pin until slightly larger than an 11-inch tart pan, then lay the dough over the pan and gently press it into the bottom and sides; push the excess dough off the edges with your fingers. Spread the chocolate-cherry filling over the bottom. Roll out the smaller ball of dough and with a knife or pastry wheel, cut it into strips to arrange over filling in lattice form (you may have leftover dough, which can be re-rolled, sprinkled with sugar and baked as cookies). Place crostata on middle rack of the oven and bake until crust is golden brown, about 40 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool until set, then slice into thin wedges to serve.
*note: you can make the dough in a food processor by pulsing the butter into the dry ingredients until crumbly, then adding the eggs through the feed tube with the motor running until dough starts to clump; do not let it form a ball. Instead, remove from the processor and proceed with the kneading and shaping of the dough as indicated above.