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Easter Crostata-ganza

April 13, 2009


Originally uploaded by alfagee

I hate to bake almost as much as I love to cook. So heaven only knows why I decided I absolutely had to make an elaborate dessert I’d never made before from a recipe that wasn’t terribly explicit. And then bring it to Mr. Alfa’s family gathering. But I did…and I lived to tell the tale.

The original recipe for Strawberry Crostata comes from the Los Angeles Times. The picture was what grabbed me. But, as I read through the recipe, it just seemed to be missing something….like flavor. So I tweaked the cream and the crust — I included those changes in the version posted below. I can’t promise I won’t tweak it some more next time I make the crostata.

You read that right: The crostata turned out beautiful — almost as pretty as the picture from the LA Times. And everyone ate it heartily, with no leftovers.

Revised Strawberry-Mascarpone Crostata

This one looks like a lot of work, but it’s not at all difficult. If you’re looking for a practically foolproof dessert that’ll wow your audience, give it a try.

1 1/4 cups flour

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon grated orange zest

Dash vanilla extract

10 tablespoons cold butter

1 1/2 cups imported Italian mascarpone cheese

1/4 cup granulated sugar

Dash vanilla extract

2 tbsps Cointreau (can sub Grand Marnier or some other orange liqueur; I used Mandarine Napolean)

About 3-4 pints ripe strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced (Two notes here: 1)Do not be tempted to use an egg slicer, no matter how strong the pull of getting done quickly. You’ll never get the strawberries out of the freaking thing. 2) Buy more strawberries than you think you need; you really want to use only the prettiest ones in this dish.)

1/4 cup red currant jelly ( I subbed a raspberry, strawberry and black currant preserve mix)

2 tablespoons Cointreau (same as for above)

1. Combine the flour, sugar, salt, orange zest and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Cut the butter into half-inch thick slices and add to the bowl. Using the tips of your fingers or a pastry blender, work the ingredients together until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add a scant tablespoon or two of cold water and toss until the mixture just clings together. Gather into a ball. Wrap tightly in plastic film and chill 30 minutes.

2. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch springform pan. Press out evenly across the bottom and about 1 inch up the side. Make sure to really thin out the seam where the side and bottom meet; it wants to be thick in here. Prick the entire crust all over with a fork. Freeze 30 minutes. Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

3. Bake the crust until it is set and lightly browned, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool completely.

4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whire whisk, beat together the mascarpone, 1/4 cup sugar, 2 tbsps of the liqueur of your choice, and the vanilla. Whisk until sugar is fully incorporated and mascarpone starts to look fluffy.

5. Spread the mascarpone evenly over the cooled crust. Arrange the strawberries decoratively over the top in overlapping rows.

6. Combine the jelly and liqueur in a small saucepan and heat, stirring, until the jelly dissolves. Lightly brush over the strawberries to glaze. Chill 1 hour before cutting.

Each serving: 470 calories; 6 grams protein; 36 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 35 grams fat; 20 grams saturated fat; 92 mg. cholesterol; 98 mg. sodium.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Deborah permalink
    April 13, 2009 11:17 am

    This sounds and looks really delicious. How much flour is used? It’s not listed in the ingredients . . .

  2. alfagee permalink*
    April 13, 2009 11:29 am

    Oops….I missed that line in my copy-paste. Thanks for catching that.

    It’s 1 1/4 cups of flour. I added it back into the recipe.

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