I made this wonderful grape crostata after an amazing dinner of Chilean Sea Bass tagine, which I must post forthwith, washed down with a bottle of New Zealand wine - Oyster Bay, Sauvignon Blanc which quite simply was superb.
Superb because this wine is heavy with the scent of grapefruit on first sip and is by far one of the finest of New Zealand wines - already quite renowned for their Sauvignon Blancs.
The evening, alight with Brazilian Bossa Nova music of Rosa Passos was only improved by the presence of our dearest friend. She has known us ever since we were students and so our friendship, like the wine has refined and deepened with age and time.
We love roasted grapes so we are partial to this crostata from the get go. But what is lovely about it is the simplicity and the unassuming ease with which it comes together. Very much like old friendships.
The flaky crust which is my pie crust staple, nestles those two ingredients - grapes and marmalade ever so simply. And the chilled ricotta cream, infused with orange zest picks up where the marmalade left off.
So much did we enjoy this rustic Sicilian fare, that I decided to teach it my upcoming cooking class.
Needless to say it is worthy of your time and some loving effort.
Rustic Grape & Marmalade Crostata from Sicily
Pasta frolla: short crust pastry
1-1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 stick (115 gms) cold butter, unsalted
1/8 tsp salt
1-1/2 tbs to 2 tbs ice cold water
2 tbs sugar
2 lbs red seedless & sweet grapes, on the vine
½ cup sweet orange marmalade
1 cup Ricotta
2 tbs heavy cream
2 tbs sugar
Zest of 1 orange
Pre-heat the oven to 400 deg F.
In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, add all-purpose flour, cold butter (from refrigerator) cut into 8 slabs, sugar & egg.
Knead for 25 seconds till a ball has formed. If in 25 seconds the mix is still crumbly. Add 1-1/2 tbsp. chilled water and knead again for 25 seconds till a dough ball has formed.
Flatten dough ball between palms, wrap it in cling wrap and FREEZE for 10-15 minutes till it is cold (this will make it easier to roll out) Discard the cling wrap and sprinkle a clean work surface liberally with ¼ cup flour.
Begin to roll out the pastry to a 12-inch circle slightly thinner than 1/4" thickness. Using a rolling pin, apply light pressure while rolling outwards from the center of the dough. Every once in a while you may need to gently lift under the dough with your fingers to make sure it is not sticking. Also, turn the pastry a quarter turn every once in a while so it is rolling out uniformly.
As the edges fray, pinch with finger and continue rolling.
Lift the pastry off the bottom and wrap around the rolling pin. Pull a large 11 x 17 sheet of parchment paper as close to the pastry sheet and unroll the pastry over it as best you can.
Spread the marmalade all over the pastry base leaving a 1-1/2” edge on all sides
Spread the grapes all over the base, piling if needed towards the center. Fold the sides on the pastry towards the center (over the grapes). Sprinkle the grapes with brown sugar and dot the center with the butter.
Pinch or fold the pastry sides together so the pastry has now formed a circle.
Using a pastry brush dab some heavy cream or milk all over the top edge of the pastry.
Bake in the hot over for approx 25 minutes till the pastry edge is golden brown. Allow to cool for about 20 minutes.
Cut into wedges and serve warm with dollops of chilled ricotta cream.