Crostata & Mini Tarts with Custard Cream and Wild Plum Jam
 
Makes a big -inch crostata or 8 - inch crostatine
Ingredients
FOR THE DOUGH
  • 200g stone-milled flour (I used Italian 1 type)
  • 20g rice flour
  • 30g almond flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 egg + 1 yolk
  • 80g butter, softened
  • 4 tablespoons rum, or other flavorful alcohol you like (the actual alcohol will evaporate with the heat. you can sub the alcohol with any milk if you prefer)
  • Scraped seeds from half a vanilla bean, or 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Zest from ½ a lemon
  • Pinch salt
FOR THE CUSTARD
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 100g zucchero
  • 40g potato or rice starch
  • 400 ml whole milk (plant milk, especially almond, works equally well)
  • Half a vanilla bean
  • Zest from ½ lemon, peeled in one long stripe
ASSEMBLY
  • Plum jam (preferably wild plum, but if you can't find it, sub any fruit jam you like)
  • 1 egg yolk, to brush the top
  • Almond slivers
  • Powdered sugar to finish
Instructions
MAKE THE DOUGH
  1. Just combine all ingredients together and knead until combined, either with a stand mixer or by hand. The dough should be quite limp and slightly sticky. If it seems too dry, add a tablespoon or two more liquid and combine. Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for 20 - 30 minutes.
MAKE THE CUSTARD
  1. To make the custard, warm the milk until slightly smoking.
  2. Add the egg yolks, sugar and starch to a pot and whisk well, vigorously, until you obtain a smooth mixture. Scrape the vanilla bean seeds and add them to the mixture, then throw in the bean and lemon peel as well (scrape off the white part if it's on the peel). Add the warm milk little by little, whisking constantly.
  3. Turn on the burner to medium heat under the pot. Whisk constantly while the custard cooks, and always keep an eye on it. Once it gets close to boiling, It will go from liquid to solid in just a few seconds, at which point you will have to whisk faster. Once it has thickened to a pourable consistency, turn off the burner and keep whisking for another minute. Let cool, and remove the lemon peel and vanilla bean. You can sprinkle some caster sugar on top to avoid the thin film forming. Store in the fridge until ready to use.
ASSEMBLE & bake
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F˚ / 180 C˚.
  2. At this point, you have two options: bake the shells and add the custard and jam later, or bake the cream and jam as well. Baking all the ingredients together is what we always did in my family, and cooking the custard a second time makes the crostata last a little longer (though I have yet to see a crostata lasting longer than a day and a half).
  3. For the 1st option: Roll out the dough between two pieces baking sheet, slightly dusted with flour, to about ⅛ inch / 4 mm thickness. Line the tart pan (or the small ones if making crostatine with the rolled out dough.
  4. Line the shells with baking paper and add some beans or baking beans to avoid it growing too much, and bake until golden, about 15 minutes. When cool, fill with a layer of jam, one of custard, and another spoonful of jam, spreading it evenly. top with almond slivers and fresh fruit slices if you wish.
  5. For the 2nd option: reserve ⅓ dough for the decorations. Line the tart pan(s) just as above, but, instead of baking alone, fill with a layer of jam, one of custard, one of jam, and spread evenly. Decorate the top with leftover dough strips, or cut off shapes like leaves and flowers, and decorate as you prefer. I love making lattices and adding almond slicers all round the edge of the tarts!
  6. Brush the top/exposed dough with the egg yolk.
  7. Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes, or until brown gold on top and cooked through. If the dough looks too pale, leave it a few minutes more. This largely depends from your oven.
  8. When ready, let cool before slicing. Keep the crostata refrigerated.
Recipe by Hortus Natural Cooking by Valentina Solfrini at http://hortuscuisine.com/blog/2017/07/19/crostata-mini-tarts-custard-cream-wild-plum-jam/