<Updated on October 7th 2012 with new mouthwatering pictures!!>
This is my FAVORITE cake! Hands down, this is not comparable to anything else to me, it is just pure love!
A crostata is an italian baked dessert, similar to a pie. The pie dough is usually Pasta Frolla and there are many different kinds of fillings, I will post more crostata recipes in the future.
I like walnuts a lot and I believe they are a fantastic ingredient for winter cakes, I tend to chop them down and add them here and there. Where there is chocolate, there should be walnuts too ;) here there is no chocolate just a blissfully soft filling, with a crunchy top and a sweet crust. Mmm fantastic! Did I convince you?
- pasta frolla (1 dose as explained here)
- 1 1/4 cup walnuts (150 gr)
- scant 4 tbs butter (50 gr)
- 1 egg (yolk and white separated)
- scant 1 cup heavy whipping cream (200 ml)
- 2/3 cup sugar (150 gr)
- powdered sugar
Prepare the pasta frolla dough and while it rests in the fridge prepare the filling as follows.
Chop the walnuts.
Melt the butter.
Separate the egg, and beat the egg white with an electric mixer until stiff, firm peaks will form (picture 1). I usually add a small pinch of salt when whipping egg whites.
In a bowl mix the walnuts, melted butter, egg yolk, cream and sugar until well combined (picture 2).
Add the whipped egg white and incorporate stirring softly with a circular movement from the bottom upward (picture 3). You want to keep as much air in the mixture as possible, be gentle.
Take out the chilled dough from the fridge, and turn on the oven at 365°F (180ºC).
It’s best to use a pie pan, for this crostata you need a large one, 11″ (28cm), one with loose bottom will make your life easier, you just need to butter it, and roll your pasta frolla dough large enough to cover the bottom and sides. If you don’t own such a pan (marvelous device!) you could use a spring pan. Prepare a circle of parchment paper large enough to cover the bottom of your pan and the sides. Roll the dough on the parchment paper until you cover it. Line the pan with the dough. In pictures 4 and 5 you can see the cake made in a spring form pan, not as pretty as the cake in the other pictures, is it? A little trick, if you are using a pie pan you won’t use parchment paper so rolling the dough may be a sticky matter. My suggestion is to roll the dough on the plastic wrap you used to keep the dough in the fridge, when the dough is large enough, grab dough and wrap all together, and turn upside down on the pie pan. The plastic will now be facing you and you can easily peel it off.
Prick the bottom of the tart crust with a fork and pour the filling (picture 4).
Bake for 40 minutes.
Let cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.