Monday, August 5, 2013

Fresh Fig and Pistachio Crostata

Happy 101 blog day!! This is officially the 101st blog entry that I have written, and whew it has been fun! I have learned a lot by trial, error, and researching food as I blog. I'm a nerd. To celebrate I am going to buy a new pair of thick rimmed glasses with a matching pocket protector, AND bake with fresh figs! It's a good day.
try out the 'fish eye' setting on your camera. super fun!

I am always wanting to expand my knowledge of food. I can't get enough. I try to get out and do things like socialize or jump on trampolines (funny story), but I always just end up in deep thought about food. Yeah, I'm a real thriller at parties. Unless I'm doing the cooking. I've decided to cook all of the food for my wedding reception. The idea worries most people, but I'm really excited about the whole thing. Good food + good people = wonderfulness. I can't stop thinking about what to cook! Figs have been on my mind a lot. Tonight it's just me and some fresh figs, working it out into something delicious. Hopefully my husband will walk through the kitchen, lured by the aroma of fresh figs roasting in a tender pistachio filling, and we can drink wine while we wait impatiently perched at the oven door, for our tart to finish baking. Yeah, that's my dream date night. I warned you about my nerd power.
power to the fig!

In thinking about parties, people, nerds, and figs I decided to make a crostata. Crostata is Italian for 'free formed pie', meaning no pie pan is needed. No, you're a free formed pie! I know that fresh figs baked in a pistachio filling, all tucked into a cornmeal crust will be divine. So I went to it. This recipe is easiest if attacked in steps. Step one; make the crust, roll it out, and chill it in the icebox. Yes, I said icebox. Step two, make the pistachio filling and slice the figs. Step three, assemble, bake, and wait impatiently at the oven door. If you turn the oven light on and off a few times, I'm convinced it makes the baking go quicker. Wine at step three is optional. This crostata is impressing the heck out of my house guest (and my husband, who did meet me at the oven door with wine), and it made it to the dessert list for reception time.
roll out the dough. spread on the pistachio filling......

top with sliced figs......

fold the edges of the dough over the filling (with a lazy Labrador waiting on stand-by), and bake. 
Fresh Fig and Pistachio Crostata

For the dough:
1 cup all purpose- flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbls buttermilk, or Greek yogurt

For the filling:
1/2 cup pistachios
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
4 Tbls butter
2 tsp all purpose- flour
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped from the pod
1 pound fresh figs, stemmed and sliced
1 Tbl fresh lemon juice

1. Make the dough: In a food processor, pulse the flour, cornmeal, sugar, and salt to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few pea shaped bits of butter remaining. Pour in the buttermilk, and pulse until the dough comes together. Do not over mix. On a large surface, place two sheets of plastic wrap side by side. Place the dough in the center. Cover with two more sheets of plastic wrap. Roll the dough into a circle, about 1/8 inch thick. Place the whole lot, plastic wrap and dough, in the icebox to chill and keep cool.

Make the filling: In the food processor, combine pistachios and sugar and process until finely ground. Add the egg, butter, flour, and vanilla bean and pulse until smooth. Set aside. In a separate bowl combine the sliced figs and the lemon juice.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the rolled dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet, removing the plastic. Spread the pistachio filling over the dough, leaving a 2- inch border around the edges of the dough. Place the figs on top of the filling, and fold the dough border over the filling, pleating when necessary.  Press down gently to seal.

Bake until the crust is golden brown, about 45 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before cutting. Serve warm or at room temp. Belly up!!!
the finished crostata.

celebrated with a local brew! happy 101!!