(inspired by Maura from the Palazzo Leopoldo, Radda in Chianti)
makes one 9½” tart
(You can use good quality apricot and/or cherry preserves, but if fresh fruit is available, make your own.)
Twenty Minute Apricot/Sour Cherry Jam
9 fresh apricots (a little more than 1 lb.) rinsed, halved, pitted and cut into eighths ( a generous 4 cups of fruit)
6 oz. sour cherries, rinsed, pits removed ( 1 cup of fruit)
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar (you might want an additional tablespoon)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Place the pitted/sliced apricots and cherries in a medium heavy bottomed pan. Add the orange juice and sugar. Cook over medium heat for twenty minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until thick and jammy. Remove from the heat, stir in the butter and let cool. (You can speed this along by pouring the jam into a bowl and setting that bowl over ice.) When the jam has cooled, taste it to see if you want to add an additional tablespoon of sugar. I like it on the tart side because the crostata gets dusted with powdered sugar at the end. Make sure the jam is completely cool before spreading it in the tart shell.
Egg Wash (set aside until ready to bake the tart)
Beat together one egg with 1 tablespoon heavy cream or milk
4⅓ cups flour
⅔ cup sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon orange zest
2½ sticks (10 oz.) cold, unsalted butter cut into cubes
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks and vanilla extract. Set aside.
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, place the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and orange zest. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the cubed, cold butter and pulse just until the butter is incorporated and the mixture is crumbly. Do not over mix. Empty the flour/butter mixture into a large bowl. Add the eggs/egg yolks/vanilla to the dry mixture, tossing together with a fork just until combined. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper. Gently knead the dough just until it comes together; it will be crumbly. Divide it in half, shaping it in two discs. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour before rolling out. (It is easier to roll out if after it has chilled, you remove it from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for about half an hour.)
Remove both discs of dough from the refrigerator and let them come to room temperature. Butter and flour a 9 or 9½” fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Roll out one disc of dough on a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper into a circle about 12" in diameter and about 1/8" thick. Place the dough into the tart pan, gently easing the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Take the excess from the outer edge and fold it in, creating a slightly thicker rim. Use your rolling pin to roll across the top of the pan removing the excess scraps. Refrigerate the tart pan. Roll out the second disc of dough into a circle about 10” in diameter and ⅛” thick. Use a fluted pastry wheel to cut strips of dough, either ½” or 1” wide. (I like to combine both.) Leave the strips on the parchment paper, set these on a baking pan, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. (You will have extra dough left over- you can wrap it in plastic and freeze it or use it to make a mini crostata or jam filled cookies.)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Remove the tart pan and the lattice strips from the refrigerator. Set the tart pan on a parchment lined baking pan. Spread the cooled jam in the tart shell; it will not fill it to the top. Create a lattice top using the strips of dough; they do not need to be woven. Carefully brush the strips with the egg wash taking care not to get egg wash on the jam. Bake on the bottom rack of the oven at 375 degrees for 35 minutes then lower the heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes. The tart is ready when the pastry is golden and the jam bubbles around the edges and in the middle. Set aside to cool on a rack. Remove the sides of the tart pan and dust the tart with powdered sugar. Serve with cappuccino and dream of Tuscany.
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