A table, a chair, a bowl of fruit and a violin; what else does a man need to be happy? Albert Einstein
Fresh Fruit is edible art created by Mother Nature of course!..Maria Liberati
copyright 2017 Art of Living, PrimaMedia,Inc/Maria Liberati
Summer is almost here! Memorial Day has come and gone..today is a national Holiday in Italy-Festa Della Republica..and many more summer Holidays to celebrate. So bring on the fresh fruits..My favorite recipe to share summer’s fresh fruits is a Fruit Crostata ..this one has luscious Italian pastry cream in it. The trick to making this the sweetest dessert is to use local, seasonal fruits. So I know my readers come from all over the world, and wherever you are use fruits that are in season and locally grown. And if you have any leftovers (but there are rarely leftovers of this yummy concoction, remember to repurpose in some way as long as it is still fresh and kept refrigerated..food is too precious to waste!
Fruit Crostata (Fruit Torte)
Prep time: 30 min | Total time: 3 hour | Servings:12
For what is known as ‘Pasta Frolla’ or crust
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups butter
1 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
Zest of 1 organic lemon
For Italian cream
1 tsp vanilla flavoring
5/8 cup sugar
1 pint milk
4 egg yolks
2 tablespoons flour
1 fresh vanilla pod
250 ml (1/2 pint) whipping cream
Fruit to cover the crust : fresh strawberries, kiwi, figs, raspberries, or whatever fresh seasonal fruits you have.
For the crust or pasta frolla
Line an ovenproof pie dish with baking paper.
On a wooden work surface, mix together the flour, sugar and butter, cut into little pieces. Rub the butter into the flour and sugar, until it is completely worked in. Work lightly so that the butter does not melt.
Make a mound out of this mixture and make a well in the center. Add the eggs yolks and lemon zest and vanilla.
Work the ingredients together, first with a fork, then with your hands, until you have a smooth, soft pastry dough.
Wrap the pastry dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes,may require an hour more in warm weather.
Preheat the oven to 320°F.
Remove pastry from refrigerator, roll out to the size of the pie plate, cover with parchment or baking paper and place some dry beans on top to weigh it down and prevent from rising. Crust should be about 1/2 inch thick
Bake at 320°F for 15-20 minutes, until the crust is a golden hue. Remove the beans and baking paper and allow to cool.
For the Italian pastry cream topping:
Split open the vanilla pod and place in a saucepan with the milk. Bring to a boil slowly, and remove from heat at the start of boiling.
In a large bowl, vigorously beat the egg yolks with the sugar until light yellow in color and frothy.
Add the flour and beat well.
Add the milk gradually, (remove the vanilla pod, scraping the seeds back into the milk) beating constantly with a whisk.
Slowly reheat, stirring constantly only in one direction until thick. The custard will thicken even more once it cools. Allow to cool, cover with plastic wrap to avoid a skin forming.
Fold whipped cream into the cooled custard. Fill the cooled crust with this and decorate with fruit. Refrigerate. This is the ultimate desert for any picnic but be sure to keep cool because of the cream.
For more recipes get your copy of the Gourmand World Award Winning book The Basic Art of Italian Cooking:Holidays and Special Occasions-2nd edition