(My) Grandma’s pie

It’s been a long time since the last post, but also it’s been a long time since I last cooked anything… I can only say that looking for a house is a full-time job!
But then tomorrow is Augut 27th, my name-day, and I come from a Southern family, and for us name-days are celebrated as birth-days, if not even more!
So I made a cake for myself. Even better, I made for myself the cake my mother would have made me, as she did with uncountable name-days and birthdays in the past, and even to celebrate any other occasion that could imply making a cake, not only for me but for all the resmaining family memebers.
Yes, we like it that much.

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My mother says that this recipe comes from my grandma, but I cannot recall not one single time that my granny made this cake.
Still, I have to trust my mom, ’cause she knew my granny long before I did; and besides, I learnt long ago that when my mom says something, the best answer is “yes, mom”… at the very least, it saves you lots of time.
So here is grandma’s pie… at least, my grandma’s!

I checked the books of Italy’s regional cuisine from Puglia and from Salento in particular, but I was not able to find anything really like the family’s recipe.

ALMOND AND JAM CROSTATA

Ingredients:

Dough:
1/2 lb flour
1 cup sugar
2 sticks butter
2 eggs

Filling:
1 6-oz jar quince jam
3 cups almonds (peeled or unpeeled)
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbsp Grand Marnier or Cointreau
caster sugar

Instructions
Put together the pasta frolla: in a bowl, mix flour and sugar, then add the cubed of soft butter and work the mixture with the tip of your finger until a coarse meal forms. Add the eggs and mix quickly until a dough forms and is easily detached from the bowl.
Press into a 6-in disk, wrap and put it into the fridge for half an hour minimum.
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Meanwhile, prepare the filling: coarsely grind the almonds. Beat two eggs with the sugar and add this mixture to the almonds. Add the Grand Marnier.

If you are particularly concerned about that eggy smell and taste in baking, you may want to add some grated lemon or orange zest to the almond mixture, or else 1/8 tsp of ground cinnamon or vanilla extract.

The almond and eggs mix shall neither be too runny, nor too thick: in one case add more almonds (or regular flour, a small amount at a time), in the other case add milk.

Take the dough from the fridge and roll it into a 1/4 in deep disk, then line a 9-in pie mold.
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Using a fork, puncture the dough on the bottom of the mold, then spread the jam (without obsessing on how even the spread is).
I used quince jam because it’s my family’s vote by acclamation, but I think that any jam in the lightly coloured range would be ok: pears, peaches, apricots. The jam must not be tangy, so nothing citrusy.

Spread the almond mixture over the jam, this time using a spatula, because it’s important that the surface is as even as possible.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 F for 45 minutes or until the dough is nicely browned and the filling has turned into a crust.

To improve the looks of the cake, let cool then powder with some caster sugar.
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