Roman holidays & crostata di cioccolata e ciliegie (chocolate and cherry tart)
|June 20, 2011||Posted by ameliaps under chocolate, dessert, Italia, italy, jam|
I arrived in Italia a few days ago. June is the perfect time of year to visit “la citta’ eterna” (the eternal city). The air is still cool and all my friends are still in town, while tourists have not invaded the city quite yet. Below are some photographs of my Roman holiday (just few words, because the images speak by themselves) and a sweet recipe. I hope you immerse yourselves in the experience…
My mother asked me what I wanted to find upon arrival… I did not have to flinch: crostata di cioccolata e ciliegie (chocolate and cherry tart). It is my Madeleine… Sometimes she makes it with cherry marmellata, other times with amarene al sole (sun dried sour cherries), depending on what’s on hand. Romans make this crostata with marmellata di visciole (morello-cherry jam). I kept coming back after my rounds of Roma in the afternoon, craving a slice of this heavenly tart. It has a thin, crispy crust made of pasta frolla (sweet shortcrust pastry dough) and a ganache-like filling, which is dark chocolate melted with milk and enriched by a few tablespoons of cherry jam. A perfect bitter-sweet contrast. It beats gelato any day for me!
Day #1 – Roamed around the meanders of the historical center in Rome, in a jet lag fog, enjoying one of each caffe’ macchiato, ristretto, doppio, and lungo along the walk… After walking across Piazza Navona, we entered the pantheon: I felt like that pigeon on the cupola flying in circles, attracted by the light coming in from the majestic oculus. Once in Campo de’ Fiori I ate a juicy peach (these small flat, uber-perfumed peaches are called “tabbacchiere”, because they remind us of tobacco boxes), tasting summer on my chin…
Day #2 – We headed for the Vatican and reached for the sky in the Sistine chapel, touched by Michelangelo’s hand. Then, we threw a coin in the Trevi fountain to wish we’ll be back in Rome soon, and walked for kilometers under climbing-vine covered walls, flowering terraces, and charming palazzo. We stopped to listen to a jazz player on the church stairs for a while, gelato in hand. In the evening, after dinner with mamma and papa’, Todd and I went out for a Negroni in piazza del figo… I love that people are out eating late, even at 1am at night, and that bookstores, bars, gelaterie, vinerie and other places to hang out are still open, together with a number of street vendors and saltimbanks.
Day #3 – After hitting the classic spots for 2 days we reveled in the rive droit (Trastevere), a charming less travelled route, including the oasis that is the Orto Botanico, a magical “secret garden”, filled with palms, rare plants, green houses, trees perfect for climbing, renaissance fountains and staircases, rose trellises, and other wondrous natural things . In the evening, Todd and I had a real Roman holidays night, on the scooter across the city, off for aperitivo at the MAXXI (museum of modern art of the XX1st century), with my brother and a few friends, among the gorgeous crowd.
Ciao for now!
Until next time, enjoy this exquisite tart…
|Crostata di cioccolata e ciliegie (chocolate and cherry tart)||
- Pasta frolla dolce (sweet shortcrust pastry dough):
- 200 gr. (2 cups) flour (all purpose or 00)
- 100 gr. (3/4 cup) of confectioners’ (powder) sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder (this is a secret: it makes it light and airy)
- 100 gr. (7 Tbsp.) butter, cold, cubed
- 1 egg
- 180 gr. (6 oz., 1 cup) cioccolato fondente (bittersweet or is it semi-sweet chocolate), shaved
- 1dl. (about 1/3 cup or 3 fl. oz.) whole milk
- 3 tablespoons marmellata di amarene o ciliegie (cherry jam)
- Create a mound of flour, sugar, salt and baking powder on a work surface. Make a small well in the center and add the cubed pieces of butter. Working very quickly, rub the butter and dry ingredients together with your fingers until the butter has broken into tiny crumbles. Make a small well in the center of the mixture and add the egg. Combine with your hands, working quickly. Do not knead the dough too long. Place the dough on a sheet of plastic wrap, flatten gently into two balls, wrap to cover, place in refrigerator and for 30 minutes.
- In a small pan, on medium low heat, melt the chocolate with the milk. Once it is almost melted, remove from stove, stir well, and add the cherry jam. Set aside to cool. To finish the tart: Preheat oven to 375F. Remove the dough from refrigerator, unwrap and place on a flat work surface lightly floured. Roll out with a rolling pin until thin, transfer to a lightly greased tart tin, gently press the dough against the sides, trim off excess dough with your fingers. Add the cooled filling to the bottom. Roll out the other dough round and make some long strips to arrange over filling in lattice form. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden (this will vary a lot oven by oven…watch it carefully: you do not want to overbake it!!!). Remove from oven and let rest until set and ready to serve. It is delicious lukewarm just baked or the next day cold from the fridge.