Friday evening has sort of become our baking day. It is a way for me and the kids to start celebrating the week end waiting for papa bear to get home. And to make something a bit special for our weekend breakfast.
Did you know that Italy is one of the very few countries in the world where they only eat sweet foods for breakfast? Nothing savory, not even a soft boiled egg. Forget bacon, sausages, beans, dim sum, cheeses, smoked fish or what have you. Here it is all about brioches, cake, cookies, cereal, yogurt, bread and jam.
We are quite international that way, switching pretty easily from bread and nutella to smoked salmon or bacon and eggs. But most of the time we have a sweet breakfast when at home.
So even if, like me, you are still learning and words like baking bread and pie crust send a shiver up your spine, go ahead and try. If it goes wrong, just try again. That is the worst that can happen. But I promise you that if it works out it, you will feel unbelievably rewarded. Lack of time is not an excuse, the quicker you work the dough, the better the result, so being quick is a must.
* While looking up how to say pasta frolla this morning I found out it is none other than a variaton of the notorious short crust pastry (oh, all the stories of using the right fat, the important role cold plays in a perfect crust, the warnings of how tricky and far from simple baking a pie really is). If I had known this beforehand, I think I never would have attempted it, such is my fear of baking my own pie crust. So hey, ignorance is bliss!
140gr unsalted butter
1 egg yolk
a pinch of salt
a small/medium-sized jar of good quality jam (homemade or store bought)
Egg and butter are best when used at room temperature. Put all you ingredients on a flat surface (some suggest working in the butter with the flour and salt first and then adding in the egg yolk), cutting the butter into small pieces, and start mixing lightly with your fingers and making sure not to overwork the dough. As soon as the ingredients have blended together, place the dough in the fridge to cool, covered in saran wrap. When it has cooled, sprinkle some flour on a flat surface and on the dough and roll it out into a circle. Grease a baking dish (I used an approx. 20cm/8 inch glass pie dish) and place the dough over it by rolling it onto your rolling pin so it won't break and then gently unrolling it, pressing it down to fit the mold. Cut off the extra dough and fold over the sides to crimp the crust. Cover the base with jam (as much as you like, but don't hold back) and then roll out the remaining dough, cutting it into approx. 1 cm (half inch) thick strips. Weave it over the top. If you prefer, you can use cookie cutters and cut out shapes to decorate the top instead. Place the crostata in a preheated oven (180-200°C) for approx. 40 minutes or until the crust turns golden brown all over.