lunedì 16 gennaio 2012

TORTA DELLA NONNA - REVISED (Grandmother's cake)


Grandmother's cake is a "Closed" cruts-pie (crostata) filled with custard and pine nuts and topped with some more pine nuts.

For the dough:
3 cups of Italian 00 flour
1/3 cup sugar
3 extra large eggs
3 oz butter, diced and chilled
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 pinch salt

For the apples:
3 little apples, peeled and sliced
Juice of 1/2 orange
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp butter
1/4 cup raisins
2 tbsp pinenuts
2 tbsp amaretto liqueur

For the custard:
2 eggs
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp flour
2 cups milk

Arrange apple slices in a bowl with fresh orange juice, which will prevent apples from turning dark. Soak raisins in amaretto, diluted with same quantity of water.

Prepare the dough: in a bowl arrange all dry ingredients and mix them to combine evenly. Add butter and mix it roughly with flour mixture; form a well and put the eggs in it.
Mix all ingredients well but quickly in order not to warm up butter too much (which would result in a "hard" dough), you have to obtain a smooth "ball".
Wrap it in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes at least.

Prepare the custard: warm up the milk without letting it boil. In a saucepan, with heavy bottom, combine the sugar, the flour and the eggs, whisking to prevent lumps. On low-medium heat add the warm milk in a slow stream, always whisking and bring to boil, whisking continuously; it will take about 5-8 minutes (the warmer the milk, the quicker the cooking). Never stop stirring, otherwise your custard will stick to the bottom and burn, giving it an unpleasant taste.

Prepare the filling: place butter, apples (with the juice) and raisins in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and sautee for about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and add 2 tbsp of sugar, along with pinenuts.

Add sauteed apples to the custard and stir it to combine well.

Preheat oven to 375.

Grease and dust with flour a 9" tart pan (or line it with parchment paper).

Remove dough from refrigerator and roll it on a lightly floured surface until you obtain 2 discs about 1/4" thick, one slightly bigger than the other.

Place the bigger disk in the pan and punch the bottom with a fork in order to allow steam to escape.

Pour apple custard into the shell when it's still warm, then sprinkle with pine nuts. Cover with the smaller disk and press edges tightly. Make a couple of cuts on the "lid" to allow steam to escape.

Bake on central rack for about 30 minutes. The top should be golden.

Serve at room temperature (sprinkled with confectioners' sugar if you like it).

- If this pie goes to kids, soak raisins into water or orange juice.
- You can use apples or pears or peaches, whichever you prefer, always following the instructions given for apples.
- I usually use parchment paper but I slightly grease it: my cakes always sitck to it, I may be doing something wrong.
- If you pour warm or hot custard into the shell, it will not separate from it when you cut the pie.

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