Showing posts with label Italian. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Italian. Show all posts

Friday, November 27, 2015

Dark Chocolate Orange Crostata #FridayPieDay

A traditional combination, especially around the Christmas holidays, orange marmalade and dark chocolate melt together to create a rich dessert tart that is perfect for a dinner party or a special family feast. I recommend serving it sliced thinly with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream or unsweetened whipped cream. 

All these years as an expat, I’ve missed Thanksgiving at home with extended family, but especially in the early years, it was all good. We didn’t have aunts and uncles, grandparents and cousins around, but we had each other. Creating our own traditions together, celebrating as a small nuclear family, bonded us perhaps more tightly than we would have been in different circumstances. Indeed, moving to new countries without friends or even familiar faces, we had only each other to rely on for entertainment or comfort. At least until friends were made. Making a home out of each new house in each new place was how I made sure my girls felt safe but the truth is, that's also what kept me sane.

We’ve only lived in one foreign country where Thanksgiving was a school holiday for our girls and that’s just because in Singapore they attended the Singapore American School. We hardly knew what to do with ourselves! We were used to celebrating our own Thanksgiving on the Saturday after the actual holiday and suddenly Thursday was open. Well, for the girls anyway. It was still a normal work day for their father. Ah, well.

This year we’ve decided to do something completely different. Our girls are celebrating Thanksgiving with friends and family in the States, but as you read this, my husband and I are probably soaking up the sun and sea view in the Seychelles. It’s just a few hours’ flight from Dubai and since we can’t have a family Thanksgiving, we might as well make the best of it! Meanwhile, I leave you with this lovely crostata, which is just a fancy Italian way of saying tart.

This recipe is adapted from one on Real Simple.

For the dough:
2 1/3 cups or 290g flour, plus extra for rolling out dough
1/2 cup or 100g sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup or 170g unsalted butter
2 large egg yolks
Ice water – 4 tablespoons to start then maybe 2 more

For the filling:
3 1/2 oz or 100g dark chocolate
1 1/2 cups or 450g orange marmalade

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Cut the cold butter into cubes and add them to the flour. Use a pastry blender to cut the butter into the flour until you have crumbles.

Add the egg yolks and 4 tablespoon of cold water. Mix it up lightly with a fork.

Add one or two more tablespoons of cold water, mixing again until the dough just comes together. (I did take photos of these steps for you but they were blurry. Perhaps due to excess flour on the camera. Poor Canon. Unfortunately my furry helper is useless at taking photos for me.)

Form the dough into a disk. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.

Meanwhile preheat your oven to 375°F or 190°C and line a cookie sheet with baking parchment or a silicone liner.

Chop the chocolate into small pieces.

Roll 2/3 of the dough out into a circle of about 14 in or 36cm on the parchment paper or silicone mat.

Spoon the marmalade in the middle. Sprinkle chocolate over the top. There will be some chocolate crumbs and dust left on the cutting board. Set it aside to save these for sprinkling over the finished crostata.

Roll the remaining dough out to the same thickness as the bottom crust and slice it into strips.

Place them in a crisscross pattern over the marmalade/chocolate.

Carefully fold the sides up and over the crisscross and up to the marmalade, patting the folds down gently to seal.

Bake until lightly golden, about 40-45 minutes. Remove the crostata from the oven.

Use the blade of a knife to scrape up the crumbs of chocolate from the cutting board and sprinkle these over the warm crostata.

Allow the crostata to cool completely on a wire rack before attempting to move or cut it. You will see that it's still a bit jiggly until it's cold and the chocolate has set once more.

Once cool, cut in slices and serve. This goes really well with vanilla ice cream or unsweetened whipped cream.


This dark chocolate orange crostata is my contribution to this month's Friday Pie Day, the brilliant creation of Heather from All Roads Lead to the Kitchen. (Formerly girlichef.)

I am pleased to join her on the last Friday of each month for pie and crust recipes, techniques, tools of the trade, and other inspiration.

This month Heather has baked a cranberry apple crumb pie! Wouldn't that be perfect for Christmas too? Do go over and have a look.

For more information and recipes, please check out her #FridayPieDay page!


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Muffuletta Grilled Cheese #FoodieExtravaganza

Olive salad, mozzarella, salami, mortadella, ham and provolone, grilled in between two well buttered slices of a crusty loaf make a non-traditional muffuletta that, frankly, (Please don’t come at me with spears, New Orleans folks) is better than the original.

This month my Foodie Extravaganza group is celebrating grilled cheese sandwiches in all their glorious forms, sweet and savory. I am not a huge fan of sandwiches in general, but grilled cheese is one of the rare exceptions to that rule for me. As are muffulettas. It seemed like the perfect time to do a mashup and create a muffuletta grilled cheese sandwich. Seriously, as much as I enjoy a traditional muffuletta on a big circle of yeasty bread, using the filling on crusty artisanal bread and toasting the whole thing on a hot griddle till the cheeses are warm and melty, well, I like it sooooo much more. See if you don’t agree.

Ingredients for each sandwich
2 slices crusty bread
1-2 teaspoons butter, softened
2 very heaping tablespoons olive salad spread (You can easily make your own or buy it online.* )
A few slices each: mozzarella, salami, mortadella, ham and provolone cheese

Butter your bread liberally - this is no time to be shy - and lay the slices butter side down on your griddle. Top each with a healthy scoop of olive salad and spread it around to cover.

Add the mozzarella to one slice.

Followed by the salami, the mortadella and the ham.

Finish by adding the provolone.

Close the sandwich and start cooking over a low fire. It’s going to take a while to heat through and melt the cheese so we don’t want the bread to toast too fast.

Cover the griddle with a heavy lid that presses down on the sandwich. This helps hold in the heat and make sure that all parts of the bread are being toasted.

After a few minutes, remove the lid and wipe the condensation dry with a paper towel. Check the bottom of the sandwich. If it’s slightly golden, turn the sandwich over carefully and put the heavy lid back on.

Cook the other side for a few more minutes, checking it and drying off the lid occasionally. You will probably turn it a couple of more times until it’s toasted a lovely golden brown and the cheeses start melting out. Cook it for another minute or so on each side, uncovered.

Melty cheeses? Check!


Are you a fan of grilled cheese? Come check out all the fabulous recipes we have for you this month! Many thanks to our host for the Grilled Cheese Foodie Extravaganza , Lauren at From Gate to Plate.

Foodie Extravaganza is where we celebrate obscure food holidays or cook and bake together with the same ingredient or theme each month. This month we celebrate National Grilled Cheese Month by serving up sandwiches.

Posting day is always the first Wednesday of each month. If you are a blogger and would like to participate in the next Foodie Extravaganza, just go to our Facebook page to join. We would love to have you!

Follow our Foodie Extravaganza Pinterest board for past events and more deliciousness!

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