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Crostata (Italian Baked Dessert Tart)

Crostata (Italian Baked Dessert Tart)
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Yield: 1 8-inch tart

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal (preferably stone-ground)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons cold milk, cream, or water
  • 1 heaping cup preserves (your favorite flavor)
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds
  • confectioners’ sugar

Instructions:

In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, sugar, cornmeal, and salt. Pulse to combine. Add butter, tossing with a wooden spoon to coat butter cubes in flour mixture; then pulse several times until mixture resembles coarse oatmeal. Add egg yolk and 2 tablespoons milk, cream, or water; pulse until dough begins to come together in a ball. (Add an extra tablespoon of liquid if you need it to bring the dough together.)

Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead briefly; then shape it into a disk about 5 inches across. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour, or overnight.

Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out dough into a shape about 1/2 inch wider than the 8-inch tart pan you’re using. Fold dough loosely in half (so that it doesn’t sag) and transfer it to the pan; line the pan with it, being careful not to stretch the dough. Trim any excess dough from the rim of the pan, leaving a blunt, neat edge. Gather the trimmings into a ball (about the size of a table-tennis ball).

Wrap the tart and the small ball of dough in plastic and refrigerate 1 hour, or up to 2 days.

When you’re ready to bake, heat oven to 375°. Remove tart pan from refrigerator and spread fruit preserves evenly over crust. Grate chilled pastry ball over preserves; then sprinkle almonds on top. Bake on a rack in the center of the oven until pastry is golden, filling is bubbly, and almonds are toasted, about 40 to 50 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. When tart is completely cool, dust with confectioners’ sugar. Serve at room temperature.
Updated Tuesday, February 24th, 2009
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