Menu May 2020

Menu May 2020

Dessert: La Crostata all’Olio d’oliva della nonna Amelia (1)

(= Grandma Amelia’s Jam Tart with Olive Oil)

Recommended wine: Zanzarato I.G.T.

La Crostata all’Olio d’oliva della nonna Amelia (1) Ingredients for an approximately 28-30 cm diameter tart tin: 500 g white flour (plus 3-4 tablespoons for rolling out the pastry dough) 250 g sugar 5 eggs, at room temperature (1 of which to brush the pastry with) 100 ml extra virgin olive oil 40 ml Vin Santo 1 untreated lemon ¾ sachet baking powder (sufficient for 500g of flour) 400 g strawberry jam 1 tsp milk 3-4 tbsp icing sugar (optional) 1 handful shelled walnuts (optional)

In a bowl, mix the flour with 4 of the eggs (lightly beaten), olive oil, sugar, baking powder, grated zest of the lemon and Vin Santo. Transfer the dough onto the work surface, setting aside a third of it to decorate the tart. Shape the remaining two thirds into a ball. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin, use a little flour to prevent it from sticking. Transfer it into a well-greased tart tin (28-30 cm in diameter). To make sure the bottom of the tin is covered, finish spreading out the pastry with your hands. Alternatively, the dough can be rolled out, in the same way, on a sheet of greaseproof paper, and then put into the tin together with the paper. Cover the pastry with an even layer of jam (in this neck of the woods, besides strawberry, the biggest “hits” are fig and blackberry, or you could fill half of the tart with one type and the other half with another). If you like you can also add a few chopped walnuts to the jam. Now roll out the dough that you set aside. Cut it into thin strips, rolling them with your hands, and use them to create a sort of wide-mesh lattice on top of the tart. Place a last strip all the way round the outer edge, as a decorative finishing touch; press down here and there around the edge of the tart with your finger, to seal in the jam. Brush the strips of “lattice” and the edge of the tart with the remaining egg, lightly beaten with a teaspoon of milk. Put the tin in a preheated oven, at 160 °C, and bake for approximately 50 minutes. When ready, the pastry should be a nice biscuit colour. If, after 15-20 minutes it appears to be browning too much, quickly cover it with a sheet of kitchen foil. The tart should be served cold, dusted, if you wish, with icing sugar.

NB: Usually the pastry for jam tarts is made using butter (or margarine). In the past, in Tuscan homes, particularly in the country, butter was relatively unknown and, in any case, considered to be too costly and too “heavy”. Olive oil was, at that time, rather as it is today, the out-and-out star of every dish, both savoury and sweet. Its use in a jam tart gives a very pleasant result. The shortcrust pastry, prepared with olive oil, has the taste of cakes of days gone by and a more intense and genuine flavour, but it is still just as crumbly and light (also thanks to the baking powder, an addition of recent times). And what’s more, it’s easier to digest and healthier too!

 (1) Amelia was Giuliana Lo Franco’s paternal grandmother; she “inherited” this jam tart recipe from her.