Posts Tagged ‘Apricot’
So, I made this over a week ago. That seems a little weird to me, to be writing about and talking about something that is already long gone and enjoyed (well enjoyed, mind you!). Although I usually don’t blog in anything close to “real time,” I think I have been especially aware of the time lag lately since everything seems to be going by SO QUICKLY. We’re down to a less than 3 weeks (!) until I graduate. That’s three weeks to find a way to eat all the food in my pantry, to handle both my best friend’s and my own birthday, to do all those things I’ve wanted to do in this city with these friends over the past 3 years that I haven’t got a chance to, to finish that thing called a thesis that has been consuming me wildly, to, you know, figure out what I’m going to do with my life after I graduate (something that strangely enough hasn’t been consuming me wildly, but should be).
It’s all a little surreal to me. I could try to gauge my feelings about everything but I’m pretty sure I have neither the time nor the audacity to try and figure that all out at the moment. I have a good knack of blocking pesky or bothersome things out of my consciousness anyway. Some part of my brain, for my sake, hides feelings and decisions that I don’t want to deal with away where I can’t reach them. They stay there, until someone or something else makes the decision for me or it all compounds into one big terrible mess that I can’t ignore. I can’t tell if this “skill” of mine is good or bad yet (you tell me).
Anyway, a critical part of this whole scheme of mine is that I don’t have time to do everything I want or need to, but I do have time to muddle away making treats of some form…obviously. Because treats are necessary. Anyway, so about a week ago a friend of mine and I wanted to make some treat resonant of tea time; something buttery, cakey and a little crumbly, sweet. Although I’ve had this recipe bookmarked for the better part of a year, the fact that I had an almost-full jar of apricot jam in my fridge (along with the very important fact that I have only the aforementioned scant 3 weeks (3 weeks!) to use it up), this recipe seemed like destiny.
So we made the dough, briefly chilled it, squished it all into a pan and spread nearly the full jar of jam on top. I suppose that on this particular day, we were feeling rather aesthetically inclined, seeing as we went all out and decided to do a pretty lattice top. You’ll be happy to know that despite how we pretty much botched it up, squished it all around, and made it look rather messy, when it emerged from the oven it was a real beauty. We ate slices of it warm, but I think it is best at room temperature.
When I ate a slice of it for breakfast, it reminded me of when Waylon and I were in Florence, where we shared a twin bed at a hostel. Even though the shower didn’t work, the breakfast at that hostel was the best—they had teas and toast and jams and an apricot crostata, with a lattice top just like this one. I can’t really remember what it tasted like, but I think this one was just as good if not better. The pastry is crumbly, buttery, and soft, and it has a really nice texture from the addition of some cornmeal (the idea of which came from David Lebovtiz). It’s basically like a cookie-pastry crust that’s all wrapped around a thin layer of sticky sweet jam.
Regarding the jam, I think any would really do. With that being said, I honestly also think a quick homemade jam would be best here—that way you could control the amount of sugar and balance out the sweet pastry with a more tart jam (kind of like that of the rhubarb-raspberry sort in another crostata I made, just about forever ago). I do however find a lot of appeal in the idea of making this sort of dessert as a spur-of-the-moment thing by being resourceful and using up what you have on hand. So if you have an almost-full jar of apricot jam in the fridge that needs to be used in a few weeks, I’d say that trumps all.
One Year Ago: Rhubarb-Grapefruit Marmalade (hey! that woulda worked well here) and Caramelized Cauliflower Pasta with Parmesan, Pine Nuts, and Lemon
You can make the dough ahead of time and store it in the fridge, but when you take it out to press into the pan, you’ll probably have to wait a bit for the dough to soften and become flexible. Also, feel free to substitute any sort of jam you’d like here.
1 1/2 cups (190 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling dough
1/2 cup (70 grams) cornmeal or polenta
scant 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
9 (110 grams) tablespoons unsalted butter, at room tempurature
1/2 (100 grams) cup sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
14 ounces (450 grams) apricot jam
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
In a large bowl, or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar until well-combined, about 1 minute. Mix in the egg and egg yolk until combined. Add in the flour mixture and continue to mix at medium speed until the mixture begins to get all clumpy.
By hand, separate the dough into two balls, with one part roughly twice as big as the other (as in, separate the dough into two parts of 1/3 and 2/3). Wrap the two balls in plastic wrap and place the in fridge for about 30 minutes, just to firm up.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the dough from the fridge. Starting with the larger section, press the dough evenly into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Fill the crust with the jam, spread in an even layer. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the remaining 1/3 dough until it’s about 1/4-inch thick. Cut into narrow strips and place them in a lattice pattern, if you’d like, on the crostata. I personally think it’s prettier and more personal if you don’t make it look too perfect.
Bake in the preheated oven until the pastry is golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. (Side note: in researching this recipe I found this bit hidden in the instructions of a recipe from an Italian cook: “Do not let it overbake or the pasta frolla will become hard as stone and the jam will become as sticky as glue.” So yeah, keep that in mind.) Let cool at least a little bit before serving; it’s best served at room temperature.