Monday, 27 June 2011
La Mia Crostata di Pesche... fiori rosa... (Dangerously delicious Italian Peach Lattice Pie)
It looks like those beautiful squashed up, sweet, exotic looking peaches (or donut peaches) "pesche tabacchiera" or "saturnine" are everywhere this Summer! As I just cannot resist anything that is slightly different from the ordinary, I bought a few of those peaches: the fragrance of the fruit is unbelievable and it matches the scent of the peach blossom which used to often adorn our living room, in Italy. I love blossom, in Spring and I still remember, in Summer, walking past a greengrocer's near our house, in the city and smelling the honey sweetness of the peaches.
Blossom, in Italy
The pulp of these peaches, added to Prosecco are the main ingredient of a cocktail called Bellini, which was invented at Harry's Bar, in Venice ( I will get my husband to make me a Bellini-he knows how!)
Il Sig. Franco "Armani", my brother-in-law, is casually shopping at a
local greengrocer's, in Modugno, Italy
Anyway! The fruits I bought were so beautiful, you just wanted to eat them. I also bought some ordinary round peaches, but they didn't have the sunny, exotic look of my little squashed peaches, so similar to the "white peaches" so beautiful and sweet, you get in Bari.
My squashed Pesche Tabacchiera
Anyway... I drove my peaches home and all the time I kept smelling the fragrance: almost as good as a perfume! The heat and the sun kind of "amplified" if you can use this term, the aroma. "To dream or not to dream?" Wake up and drive, Anna!
When I got home, I decided I would make a crostata using my peaches. Wow! It was a good idea! Thinking about it, I should have made Bellini. My crostata was sweet, delicate and a bit naughty. Delicious with yogurt!
Crostata di Pesche
Italian Tabacchiera Peach Pie
Makes 6 -7 portions
For the peach filling:
6 squashed peaches
(ordinary peaches OK!)
100 ml water
For the pastry:
400 g ( 14 oz) plain- all purpose flour
150 g (5 oz) sugar
150g (5 oz) g butter
2 egg yolks
A couple of hours before I start making my crostata, I took the butter out of the fridge as it needed to soften. Two hours later... in a large mixing bowl, I put my flour, followed by the butter, cut into small pieces. I mixed till my mixture resembled fine breadcrumbs.
At this point I added the egg yolks, mixed a little bit and, finally, I added a small teaspoon of baking powder to make my pastry slightly spongy. If the mixture is too stiff, add a small amount of cold water. If it's a bit "wet" add flour. You should get a firm "dough" which needs to be wrapped and refrigerated for half an hour.
While my pastry was resting, I prepared my peaches, by cutting them in half horizontally, then I twisted each of them, to get rid of the stone in the middle. I then placed some sugar (I used natural cane sugar) in a large pan, with the water and the peach halves. I cooked this until all the liquid evaporated and I was left with peaches in pink caramel... very nice! The skin peeled off, so I just had the sweet, juicy flesh for my crostata filling. Easy!
When the pastry came out of the fridge, I rolled most of it to fit my buttered and floured pie dish (25 cm diameter) I brushed some apricot jam over the base and then arranged my peaches in a round pattern, to fill my crostata base.
I decided that my crostata should look rustic and traditional, so I cut some thin pastry strips and made a lattice pattern over the peaches. I dusted with cane sugar and baked in a hot oven (200 C-400 F-Gas 6) for a good 30-40 minutes. My house soon began to smell like one of JLO's Summer fragrances: sweet, peachy, velvety... I knew it would be a good one!
My crostata was ready when the pastry looked golden and scrumptious. I also checked the "bottom"... no burnt bits! The base of my crostata was cooked and I knew I would have to freeze most of it just to make sure I didn't eat too much of it!
I served my crostata with plain fat free yogurt,
peaches and wonderful strawberries
picked from my garden!
I could eat the pictures!