Plum and ricotta crostata

Recipe
Plum and ricotta crostata is pictured on blue and white striped cloth. It sits on a wooden paddle cuttle board.

“I spent a few years living in Italy in my twenties and during this time I fell for crostata in all its forms,” writes Sophie Hansen. “I loved how whenever there was a dinner party or gathering, my friends would stop on the way at a pasticceria to buy a beautifully wrapped crostata to give to the host. It’s just the thing to take to a celebration of any kind. Delicious on the day and also excellent as breakfast the day after, or perhaps your host might like to take some to work for morning tea and share around? Either way, crostata keeps nicely for a few days and makes a lovely gift.”

Serves 8-10

WHAT YOU NEED

1 cup (320 g) plum jam or other jam of your choice (apricot and blackberry are my favourites; quince is amazing, too)
¼ cup (55 g) caster (superfine) sugar.

For the pastry
1 2/3 cups (250 g) plain (all purpose) flour
100 g (3 ½ oz) icing (confectioners’) sugar
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt
½ cup (125 g) cold butter, cubed
1 egg
1 egg yolk

For the ricotta filling
1 cup (230 g) fresh ricotta
¼ cup (30 g) icing (confectioners’) sugar
1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped
3 eggs

WHAT TO DO

To make the pastry
Combine the flour, sugar, lemon zest, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Tip onto a work surface and add the butter, rubbing it into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse sand (with a few small pebbles).
Add the egg and yolk and, using a light hand, bring the mixture together until you have a smooth dough (it’s okay if there are some streaks of butter).
Form into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
For the filling
Whisk together all the ingredients until well combined.
Place the jam in a small saucepan and gently heat, then set aside.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
To roll out the crostata
First cut away about one-third of the pastry and roll out the remaining two-thirds until you have a large disc about 4 mm (3/16 inch) thick.
Gently transfer the pastry into a 22 cm (8 ½ inch) fluted, loose-bottomed tart tin (or a springform cake tin will be fine, too, in which case you will want to trim the edges of your pastry first so they are relatively even).
Trim any excess pastry, leaving a 1 cm (½ inch) border and fold this down into the edge of the tin to ‘reinforce’ the crostata’s side. Spoon the ricotta mixture onto the base of the pastry and top with dollops of jam.
Roll out the remaining pastry and cut into about 10 strips.
Arrange five of these across the top of the tart and then spin it around and crisscross the remaining five strips in a lattice pattern on the other side, weaving the strips over and under each other.
Trim any excess pastry, sprinkle with the caster sugar and bake for 35 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.
Serve warm or chilled (if you’re serving it chilled, you’ll find it slices much more cleanly).


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