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  • Posted February 21, 2013 by

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    Crustata is an Italian tart; some describe it as part pie, part cake. Made with ricotta cheese, and (often) jam, crustata is an easy, not-too-sweet dessert. Chef Joe Calabro’s version features the classic ricotta and eggs, but also lemon and orange zest (finely grated peel) and golden raisins.


    Once the filling is in the tart pastry and the lattice top is in place, brush an egg wash over it. This gives the finished crustata a golden appearance, as well as a tender flakiness. To make an egg wash, begin by breaking an egg into a bowl. If desired, add just a little bit of milk or water to thin the egg slightly. Whisk the egg. Use a pastry brush to apply the wash over the pastry before placing it in the oven. Get more home cooking recipes here.


    Sweet Dough:
    1 cup milk
    8 cups sifted all-purpose flour
    1 1/4 cups cold water
    2 (0.6 ounce) cakes compressed fresh yeast
    2 teaspoons salt
    1/2 cup white sugar
    Crustata Flan Filling:
    ½ cup Whole Wheat
    1/4 lbs. Butter
    2 cups Milk
    6 Eggs
    1 ½ Cups Sugar
    1 ½ cups Ricotta
    Zest from 1 Lemon
    Zest from 1 Orange
    4 tablespoons shortening
    2 eggs
    2 tablespoons melted shortening


    Sweet Dough:3 Scald milk in a medium saucepan. Add cold water to scalded milk. Remove 1/4 cup liquid; mix yeast into liquid when cooled to lukewarm. To liquid in saucepan, add salt, sugar, shortening, and eggs. Add dissolved yeast to saucepan. Mix well.


    Sift and measure the flour into a large bowl. Make a well in the flour, and pour the liquids into the well. Stir with a large wooden spoon until liquid disappears.


    With one hand, mix dough in bowl using swinging rotary motion. Gradually form dough into smooth ball, then knead in bowl for 2 minutes. Brush top with melted shortening. Cover, and allow dough to rise at room temperature for 2 hours. Do not set bowl on radiator or in hot place. Keep away from draughts. Allow dough to rise until doubled in bulk.


    Punch down dough. Use dough for any sweet bread recipe.


    Crustata Flan Filling:Roll the sweet dough, when it’s at room temperature, on a floured surface. Roll it flat, and then lay it into a flan pan, pressing the dough into the sides.


    To make the filling, mix wheat, butter and milk together in a pan, and cook it for a bit, then cool it to room temperature. Put the wheat mixture into a large bowl. Add eggs, and whisk them in. Then add sugar, and whisk again. Add Ricotta cheese to the filling mixture. Add lemon zest and orange zest.


    Pour mixture into the flan shell, and cut strips of sweet dough, to create a lattice over the top of the flan. Brush an egg wash over the top of the pastry, and place into the over at 325 degrees F for 30 minutes.

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