Friday, March 23, 2007

Fig & amaretti tart

One of the first things I had adjusted after came to America is desert's serving portion. 8" tube pan which is a standard in Hongkong is now nowhere to use, here calls for 10". And slicing 10 big apples for a pie make me start to think of growing an apple tree in yard. Everytime when I'm about to cut a cake/pie, am always requested to move that knife to eastward more... But for this crostata (Italian-style tart), the taste is supposed to be very intense, very sweet; just a little wedge plus an espresso are already very satisfing. The crust is exactly the same that I tasted in Rome: a cross between flaky pastry and shortbread. I added a few pinches of cinnamon and cardamom in the dough... the magic powders to make me happy during a big snow day (few days ago)... but you can just skip them and the tart is still wonderful.

Recipe (Dough recipe adapted from the book In Nonna's Kitchen by Carol Field)

yield: 1 x 6-inch tart and 6 - 8 small individual tarts


For pastry dough:

  • 2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 stick plus 3 Tbps (5 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature, small cubed
  • 1 egg plus 1 yolk, whisked
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or a few pinches of ground cinnamon and cardamom

For filling:

  • fig preserve
  • 1/4 cup pine nut
  • 15 (or more) small amaretti, crumbled
  1. To make the pastry dough: In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Add butter cubes, cut it into the flour mixture with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse corn meal. Stir in eggs and vanilla/spices. Knead it briefly, flatten it into a dish, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour but no longer than 1 day. Please don't be tempted to add extra water even the dough may look dry, after the kneading the dough will come together, unless it's just impossible, maybe just add 2 tsps of water.
  2. To make the filling: Scoop the fig preserve (by eyeball, mine estimated 10 oz/ 260 g) in a bowl, stir in nuts, add more or less ameretti crumble according to the consistency.
  3. Shaping: Let the dough stand at room temperature for half an hour. Knead briefly if necessary. Divide dough to a few portions, roll them to 1/4 cm-thick, line the tart pan(s), fill with fig filling. Use the left-over to decorate the top.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400F. Bake for 25-30 minutes for the big tart, less time for the smaller ones.

My notes:

  1. The height of tart pan shouldn't be taller than 1 inch. For the big one, should be with a removable bottom.
  2. The dough will slightly expand during baking, please avoid detailed decorations.



Piggy said...

The tart looks delicious! Love the leaf designs on the tart too!

Brilynn said...

Gattina that's beautiful! Your posts are always such an inspiration!

Passionate Eater said...

Give me an "American sized" (not Hong Kong sized) wedge of that decorative pie!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Your tarts are works of art!! So beautiful!
I'm with you on the American portions, way too much!!!

Patricia Scarpin said...

The tars are so beautifully decorated, Gattina!
I think the fig filling is delicious!

Callipygia said...

Are you sure just a thin wedge? Please move mine eastward...

Meeta K. Wolff said...

Now that is one good looking tart Gattina! Love the use of Fig preserve here! As always a pleasure to drool over your recipe!

Peabody said...

Those are beautiful!!!! Tasty too I am sure.

Anonymous said...

What a great tart! I love these are calling my name....loudly.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely gorgeous - I can't believe you have the patience to make everything so beautiful! The little pastry tops of your tarts are just darling :)

J said...

You are a food artist!! I've never progressed beyong consuming figs as such or in a milkshake, and see what you do....! I'm drooling!:)

Orchidea said...

Very nice recipe... I like a lot!

Lis said...

And yet another winner! Sounds so good.. but looks even better - that last photo of the wedge.. *swoon*

Unknown said...

I always loved your tarts, my pal. And this is no exception. :p

Freya said...

Just stunning (as always!!).

Anonymous said...

I wish I could reach into the ether and pull out a slice of that right have with my morning coffee. Oh how perfect that could be...

Gattina Cheung said...

Piggy, thanks for dropping by :D You have such a beautiful blog!

Brilynn oh thanks sweetie!

Passionate eater, then I'll give you the whole pie :D You're so sweet, thank you!

Tanna, we'll share a dessert at restaurant :) :)

Patricia, I love it too, esp after a day it tasted even better!

Calli, hehee... :D

Meeta, thank you! I just love any down-home and simple pie :D

Peabody, it sure is esp for those with sweet tooth.

Chris, fig is way over-prices here, sad!

Ellie, it really just took me 30 seconds to cut and paste that leaf and flower. Maybe because my kitchen is fairy cold, it helped.

jyothsna, oh boy, I'm imagining the great flavor of your milkshake! It sure a great idea!

Sabrina, thank for your compliment!

Lis, that wedge the tip was gone before photo-taking, I just couldn't wait :D

Angie, too bad you're so busy, I miss your pastry...

Thanks Freya sweetie!

Windwhisper, we seem to have similar taste :D This pie definitely for coffee lover!

Anh said...

Gattina, I was given In Nona's Kitchen lately as a present and it reminded me of you. :D Your tart looks beautiful! Love it.

Helene said...

This is gorgeous. I love your use of blue in the pictures. That's one thing I love about America: oversized dessert.

Anonymous said...

The filling for this tart sounds amazing and I love how you designed the top crust for the first one. Gorgeous!

Ari (Baking and Books)

Anonymous said...

That tart looks beautiful! And it sounds so luscious too! I can imagine how just how wonderfully intense it is...with some espresso, how perfect :)

Melting Wok said...

feeling nostalgic when I looked at your 1st pix. reminded me so much of my mom's pineapple tarts :P hehe, and the last one, american's pecan pie, then when I scroll down the ingredients, I see, love them even more, thx !! :)

FH said...

Oh man!! Gattina,you are making me drool.Where do you find all these goodies and recipes lady?!;D

Mishmash ! said...

Gattina dear...this is one of the blogs I visit regularly to enjoy the food photography, food styling and innovations in the kitchen..and u have not disappointed me this time too..look at that floral design on ur tart!! U have magic on ur hands,dear :)


Warda said...

My grandmother used to make us this kind of tart and when we were kids we used to call it "windows tart". It looks delicious

LittleHands said...

Wow! *Speechless* The tart is so beautifully decorated! *Thunderous Clap* :-)

Bong Mom said...

Everytime I come to your blog and stare and drool and stare and.. you get the routine :)

Katie said...

That's a beautiful tart. I have two fig trees...maybe this summer.
I prefer your portion with the espresso!

Gattina Cheung said...

Anh, this book is an outlet of mine... whenver I want to travel but can't, just read the grandmas' stories, feel so good! :) :)

Helene, I love blue :D Yes, the dessert here very "home-feel", and we have a big home :D

Ari, thanks for your sweet words. The deco really didn't take me a minute :)

Joey, thank you. I like food that evolving around coffee drinking :D

Melting wok, thanks! You can call it latticed tart, many western tarts use this deco, as easy :D

Asha, thanks sweetie! The tart's dough recipe has listed. Many variation just evolves from a basic. I used to make a lot of pies :D as my husband used to eat it for breakfast.

Oh my dear Shn, seeing your encouragement is one of my greatest joy! The design looks elaborated but really easy, if I can do it, sure you can :D

Rose, oh I love windown this name! Sound like your grandma's a wonderful baker!

Jolene!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! looooooooooooooong time no "see" ;p

Sandeepa, you're so kind! So as your blog, I'm always stunned by your great post and great recipes :D

Katie, yes, I remember that! I'm so envious you know!

Edith said...

G, in Singapore, I always see dried fig but never chanced upon any fresh ones. If you happened to have a pix, can show me?

Gattina Cheung said...

for photo, see here here
The skin sometimes green. Taste is nice and light, but not that "floating-cloud-9" exciting. (to me).

Sher, :) :)... I'll bring it over if someday I go to the west coast.

Anonymous said...

This tart is amazing, Gattina! A must-try!

Linda said...

gattina - how did you ever get those beautiful designs on your mini pies!?! good lord woman you are talented!