- Date: Friday, July 4, 2008 -- 7pm
- Location: Somerville, MA
- Kitchen: Matty's Apartment
- Fellow Chef: Matty
- Dining Companions: Alex, Mary Beth, Shaili, and a bunch of other partygoers...
- Recipe Rating: A-
My special gentleman and I had originally planned to be in Ohio over the Fourth of July weekend, but we were both so exhausted of traveling that we chose to stay home instead. So it wasn't until early in the day on the Fourth that we decided to go to a party at Alex's that evening. We wanted to bring something with us, so I flipped through The Book for a dessert recipe that would not require a trip to the grocery store. This one fit the bill (we had sour cherries in the freezer that we picked last summer), and seemed very appropriate for a Fourth of July barbecue. I think it was an eye-opening moment for Matty when he realized that it was possible to construct such an item exclusively from ingredients found in his apartment. When he and I started dating, his pantry was practically empty. There was a big bag of rice, some cans of beans, and an assortment of really old spices. For the first six months of so of our relationship I was hesitant to change this situation. In the early stages of a relationship you never know where it is going to go, and it seemed a shame to stock his pantry with things he would never use if we broke up. So I waited. Eventually, though, I started cooking (and now living) at his place, so he slowly acquired an impressively stocked pantry. Flour? 5 different kinds -- all purpose, wheat, cake, rye, and bread. Sugar? 5 kinds -- light brown, dark brown, granulated, powdered, and turbinado. 3 selections of salt, every grain imaginable, wasabi paste, tamarind, fermented black beans, etc, etc.... He's got it all. He also added some new kitchen equipment to his collection, and now cooking at his place is almost as easy as cooking at mine.
So we rummaged through the cupboards and freezer on Friday and came up with the ingredients to throw together this crostata. How was it? Amazing! On taste alone I would probably have given it an A, but the recipe was a bit of a pain in the ass, so I bumped it down to an A-. I keep looking at the picture though and thinking, "Mmmm... I could go for a slice of that right about now." It was really good. The crust was delicious -- it was a pasta frolla, which is more cookie-like than a typical pie crust, and also more of a pain to deal with. It doesn't typically roll out very easily, and that was true in this case as well. But it is very forgiving in that you can just smush it into the pan wherever you have holes or cracks and it comes out just fine. The filling was absolutely divine. Matty and I are both partial to sour cherries (and I am especially emotionally attached to these particular sour cherries because I picked them myself). The filling had just the right consistency and sweetness to complement the cherries. Delicious! The one annoying thing about it was that the cornstarch clumped when I added it (even though I had carefully mixed it with water first -- it just wasn't enough water for that amount of cornstarch) which meant that I had to pick little white globs of cornstarch out of the filling before I used it. Not super fun. but it was worth it because the result was not only delicious, but beautiful (the picture doesn't do it justice -- it was very pretty). The finishing touches called for in this recipe were very professional -- the egg wash and sugar dusting gave the lattice top a lovely brown sheen and a perfect sweet crunch. I thought this crostata was a winner, and several people at the party commented to me that they really enjoyed it.
Here is the recipe.