Rhubarb and Almond Crostate
There was some homemade rhubarb jam in the fridge and I thought I'd better do something constructive with it besides slathering it all over toast every morning. These little gems are a cross between a crostata and a cookie. I cheated too. I used some packaged pie crust that was in the freezer. Quelle horreur! But oh, that rhubarb jam was divine. And the almond filling on top has cardamom, cinnamon and nutmeg in it. Really, as Ina would say, how bad could that be?
I like the pick-up and walk away aspect of this dessert (kids will too), but also, you could serve it on a plate for dessert with a dollop of whipped cream (or even ice cream) on top. Lisa from Lisa is Cooking made them with a strawberry and fig jam, without the almond topping. Crostate are common in the bakeries of Italy.
You can use any jam (homemade is certainly best) and you don't need to make the almond topping if you don't want to, but I like that little "hat" on top and it adds more layers of flavor. You can cut the pastry circles any size you want; I made them large cookie size.
Rhubarb and Almond Crostate
Adapted from The Mozza Cookbook by Nancy Silverton
For the crust:
Use your favorite pie crust recipe and add some orange and lemon zest to it (or cheat and use packaged) OR you can find the original recipe in her cookbook (also online) and make it from scratch.
For the jam layer:
8 heaping tablespoons homemade jam
For the almond filling:
¾ cup almond meal/flour
2 extra-large egg whites (save yolks for another use)
½ cup powdered sugar
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Make the crust.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.
Use a plate about 6-inches in diameter as a stencil and cut out four rounds. (I cut them smaller) Save the scraps for the lattice. Place four on each prepared baking sheet. Chill the scraps.
Roll the edges of each round inward forming a 1/2-inch rim. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of jam into the center of each round, then smooth the jam right up to the edge of the rim. Repat with all the rounds. Refrigerate.
To prepare the almond filling, in a medium bowl stir together the almond meal, egg whites, powdered sugar, cardamom, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Spoon 1 teaspoon of almond filling onto the middle of each tart and spread it out slightly, leaving the marmalade visible around the edges of the tarts. (You may not use all of the almond filling.)
Remove the scraps from the refrigerator. Then pinch off a piece and roll it out with your fingertips to create a long, thin noodle like strand about 1/4-inch in diameter. To get it nice and even, I rolled it on parchment paper, stretching while rolling.
Lay three strands evenly spaced across each jam-topped dough round. Then lay three more at an angle, creating a diamond-shaped lattice on each jam-topped dough round. Trim the strands with your fingertips, pinching them into place to stick.
Cover the baking sheets with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to one day.
To bake: Adjust the oven racks so that one is on the top third and the other is on the bottom third of the oven. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Remove the baking sheets from the refrigerator, take off the plastic wrap and bake about 25-30 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through, until golden. Remove the sheets to cool on a rack to room temperature.