Now you may think that nothing is going to beat a full English breakfast, but hear me out for just a second, and try a slice of crostata.
I’m much more of a sweet than savoury person for breakfast, and this fits well with the Italian lifestyle where cake for breakfast is a common occurrence *heaven!*. My usual Italian breakfast consists of:
- Coffee – obviously!
- a glass of milk
What’s your favourite decadent breakfast treat?
If you fancy breakfast on the go, then stop at a bar on your way out. Note that now is the only time of day that a cappuccino is acceptable! Treat yourself to a nutella or cream filled cornetto. Yum!
But for the days when you feel like a domestic Italian goddess, whip up a crostata and impress the whole apartment block with the beautiful sweet baked goods scent emanating from your kitchen:
Start off with the standard pasta frolla:
- About 2 cups flour
- About 1/2 cup sugar
- About 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 egg and 1 yolk
- pinch of salt
- cold water
Approximate measures in this recipe because I don’t have a set of kitchen scales in Italy! It’s doing my head in, but the only ones I’ve seen in the shops here are super expensive, and the stubborn Yorkshire girl in me refuses to pay that, so I’m waiting to bring some over from UK next time.
Mix the flour and sugar and pinch of salt, then in the center add the butter cut into little pieces, the egg and yolk and mix well with your hands.
A blender or the Italian kitchen staple the Bimby would work here and save a lot of effort, I, of course, don’t have one yet so had to rely on good old fashioned hand kneeding, which I’d forgotten how much arm strength it requires…I have zero so this was fairly painful for me!
Knead until it’s smooth.
If it’s super crumbly and refusing to come together then add some of the water, bit by bit.
Once the dough is nice and smooth, make it into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and leave in the fridge for 30 mins or so.
Butter your tin and preheat your oven to a medium heat.
Sorry guys, approximate measures here again as my oven has two settings, hot or not so hot. I set it to not so hot which I assume is a medium temperature.
Roll the dough out.
I’m not the world’s best pastry maker and I fought like a bitch with this pastry! At first it was too crumbly, then I didn’t think I could get it thin enough. Luckily, the crostata is very forgiving! Add a drop of milk/water/oil/any bloody thing to get the stuff to be a bit smoother and roll out better!
Set the dough over your pan and work in the corners, cut the extra pieces around the edge off and spread the jam on the dough.
Any jam will do, if you’re feeling fancy make your own chunky jam, that works best, with nice big pieces of fruit in. My favourite is apricot, but I wouldn’t turn down a crostata in any flavour! Try not to use the sugar free ones, they’re a bit too thin and don’t cook very well and tend to get too watery, ruining the pastry base.
With the extra pieces of dough, reroll and cut into half an inch strips and lay them over the jam in a cross-hatch pattern. I then rolled over the edges to create a crust and brushed the pastry with the left over egg white plus some milk before putting it in the oven.