Emergency Crostata

December 20, 2009

There was a foot and a half of snow in the city, but up here on the mountain the storm went right around us, and people kept showing up all day. I just kept cooking.

I began by putting a ham in the oven, letting it cook very slowly while I made applesauce from the last of the Knobbed Russets – they do make the most wonderful sauce.  A luxuriously cheesy Gratin Dauphinoise was as much cream as potatoes; the secret is to slice the potatoes, cook them in cream on top of the stove, and then dump them into a casserole and bake it  the oven.  It’s the most forgiving dish I know. I pureed watercress, and took the leaves off Brussels Sprouts and quickly sauteed them in butter, adding a few toasted pinenuts at the end. 

It was all delicious, but the piece de resistence turned out to be the Cranberry Crostata.  It’s a recipe of Gina’s, but I’ve made it so often now that I’ve ended up making it my own. I generally double the crust recipe and put half in the freeze; you never know when you’ll need an emergency crostata.
Here’s my recipe:

11/2 sticks butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
2/4 cup toasted almonds, ground
grated rind of one lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla
drop of almond extract
pinch of salt
2 cups flour

Beat the butter with the sugar in a stand mixer until light.  Add egg, then remaining ingredients.
Form into two disks, wrap in wax paper and chill for 30 minutes (or more).

1 package raw cranberries
juice of one orange
1/2 cup apricot preserves
1/2 cup sugar

Cook cranberries, juice, jam and sugar at high heat, stirring, for about 5 minutes.  Cool.

Roll out one disk of dough into a 12 inch circle. Don’t worry too much about this step; it will tear, and you can just press it into a 9″ springform pan, bringing the sides up about 1/2 an inch.  Put cranberry filling into crust.  Roll out remaining disk and cut into 8-12 strips, forming a lattice over the crust. Again, they will be soft, but don’t worry.  You can patch them together.

Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 45 minutes, until golden. 

Cool on a rack, removing the sides of the springform pan.
(I like it even better on the second day. )

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