To celebrate as it should be any kind of party, a cake is a must. Then, when I think of my mother I think of a very specific cake: LA CROSTATA. A typical Italian cake, unknown abroad, quick and easy to praparare and of course delicious. The base of this cake is made with the so called “pasta frolla”, a set of sugar, eggs, butter and flour, thus, it is very funny also for the children to help their mothers in preparing this cake kneading and mixing all the ingredients with their hands! Then, you can stuff it with many diferent things following your personal taste: chocolate, fruit, jam, custard, etc.
The smell of this cake coming from the oven is something that remember me, probably more than anything else, my home and my family so, despite the fact that today I am in Brussels, far away from all of them, I decide to prepare the crostata anyway. Follow me for discovering the secrets of this amazing italian recipe..
I decided to do a very particular and a bit more elaborated version: chocolate creme and caramelized pears. I saw this recipe on a web site (http://www.donnamoderna.com/cucina/scuola-cucina/crostata-pere-cioccolato/foto-1#title ) and I decided I should try it.
For the pastry:
For the filling:
250 g dark chocolate
100 g of butter
1 egg yolk
120 g of sugar
2 glasses of white wine abundant
1 vanilla pod
1 cinnamon stick
a few drops of lemon juice
2 medium-sized pears not too ripe
Place the flour in a bowl, put in the middle sugar, diced butter, 2 eggs, grated rind of a lemon and a teaspoon of baking powder. Mix the ingredients quickly working the dough with your fingertips to form a firm and elastic dough and with it form a ball. Wrap the dough ball of pastry in a plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for at least half an hour. Then roll out the pastry just removed from the fridge with a rolling pin to a thickness of about 4 mm. Lining the pan with parchment paper wet and squeezed over which you will put the dough. Teases out the dough with a fork, cover it with parchment paper or aluminum and fill it with dried beans or with any wheel so that the dough will not growth. Cook it in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for about 20 minutes, then let it cool.
Meanwhile, peel the pears, cut them into wedges, remove the core and spray them with the lemon juice. Bring to the boil the wine with the vanilla pod engraved along its length, the cinnamon and 40 g of sugar. Immerse the slices of pear and cook them for about 5 minutes. After that, drips off the pears and cut them into slices. Meanwhile cook the liquid over low heat for other 10 minutes, until it becomes syrupy, then turn of the fire, immerse again the pears into the syrup and leave them there till they become cold.
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler with shredded butter. Meanwhile, mounts, always in a double boiler, eggs and egg yolk with the remaining sugar (80 g), until frothy, like eggnog. Then, remove it from the heat and incorporates the melted chocolate, stirring constantly with a whisk.
When the pastry is cold and you have removed the aluminum or waxed paper with the legumes fill it with the chocolate cream and the slices of pear, making them slightly into the chocolate cream.
Finally, bake the cake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for about 20-30 minutes, until the cream is thick. Remove from the oven and when it is cold brush it with the where you previously have cooked the pears.
The day after it is even better!!