As we inch into the holiday season, I thought it would be great to present a series of recipes all month that are quick and easy to make. I am kicking it off with this family recipe for a sour cherry crostata by food lover and entrepreneur, Michele Iadarola. Michele is the founder of Especially Puglia, an artisanal food company focused on showcasing the best of Puglia, Italy. The crostata is the ubiquitous Italian dessert, present on every dessert menu in Italy, and probably one of the first sweets Italians learn to make. It is nothing more than marmalade (or sometimes sweet spreads like Nutella) spread on pie crust and covered with a lattice! But as all good pie makers (and pie eaters) know, the secret is in the crust! That is what distinguishes one crostata from another. There is no limit to the possibilities for the filling. You can use high quality store-bought marmalade, or homemade. Let us know how you fill your crostata! —Kristina
Why Michele loves this recipe: This recipe is a recipe I cherish from my mother, a recipe that’s been in our family for a long time. My mother makes the crostata from scratch using local fruits for filling such as fig, apricot and sour cherry, the sour cherry being my favorite. What makes this recipe special, in addition to its heritage, is its simplicity. Growing up in Puglia, the southern heel of Italy, my sister and I enjoyed the crostata for breakfast together with a cup of tea or coffee. The treat is very versatile and scrumptious, so much so that you might find yourself always craving it — and really, you can eat it any time of the day!
– 3 fresh eggs
– 1 cup / 200g sugar
– 1 3/4 sticks / 200g butter
– 2 3/4 cups – 3 cups + 2 tablespoons / 350g-400g all purpose flour
– 1 tablespoon baking powder
– 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
– 2 teaspoons of sweet vermouth
– 1 cup / 250g marmalade of choice (sour cherry used here)
Whisk the eggs and sugar. Add the butter and mix well with a spatula until creamy. Add the flour and baking powder a little at time, mixing well. Finally, add the zest and vermouth. Once you have a smooth dough, set aside a quarter of it, and then roll the remainder to form the base of the crostata (either round or square, whatever you prefer). Place in an 11”/28cm pie pan or within a pastry ring on a baking sheet with edges.
Spread a generous amount of marmalade across the whole of the dough base.
Roll out the remaining dough and make strips to place across the top in a lattice pattern. Bake at 350°F/180°C for 20-25 minutes until the lattice is golden brown and the marmalade is slightly caramelized. Cut into slices and add a little ice cream, if you like.
About Michele: Based in New York City, Michele is the founder of Especially Puglia, an artisanal food company. Michele founded Especially Puglia to introduce the rich culinary traditions of his native Puglia to fellow food enthusiasts, through fresh, small-batch olive oil and preserved fruits and vegetables made in the traditions of Puglia. You can find Michele on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.