I have a lot of trouble with pastry crusts -- mine always come out tasty but unattractive. I'm not able to roll them out properly to fit in the pan, and I can never do the criss-crossing top so that it looks pretty. This tart was no exception.
The recipe for the pastry dough is pretty basic; combine flour, cake flour, salt, sugar and room-temperature butter, and then create a well in the dry ingredients for a mixed egg and lemon zest. Stir all of these together and shape the dough into a ball to be refrigerated for at least an hour. No problem.
When the dough has been properly chilled, use about 2/3 of it to roll out a 10 inch circle. The book says this is easiest done between two pieces of wax paper.
Problem #1: I couldn't find my rolling pin. I have no clue what clever place I decided to store it in, but it is definitely not in my kitchen. I had to use my mortar instead.
Problem #2: I could only get my circle to about 8 or 9 inches before it started looking pretty ragged and see-through in places.
Problem #3: When I tried to peel the circle off the wax paper, the whole thing fell apart.
So annoying. Normally I would have added more flour, but the recipe didn't call for that. In the end, I just kind of smooshed pieces into the bottom of my buttered spring form pan in a highly unattractive manner. I had to steal a little dough from the last third to be able to have some dough on the sides of the pan.
Next, pour high-quality jam onto the crust.
Finally, roll and cut the rest of the dough into strips with which to criss cross the top of the tart. Fail. There was nowhere near enough, and my dough kept falling apart. I was able to make two strips and then ran out of dough. I thought about making another batch of crust, but my oven was already pre-heated and I was annoyed by the whole process. Luckily, I had a store-bought pie crust in my freezer, so I quickly defrosted it, cut out some strips, and finished assembling my tart. Once the top was patterned with dough, I brushed it with a beaten egg, and put the tart in the oven for the 20 minutes that the recipe called for.
And then I checked on it and put it in for another 15. It may have been that my store-bought dough just took a lot longer than homemade, I have no idea. The tart still didn't look pretty.
Even though it wasn't all that nice looking, this tart tasted pretty good. Next time I'd use less jam and serve with vanilla ice cream. I think the creaminess of that would really compliment the tart.
cake flour -- $2.92
eggs -- $1.00 (just used 2)
jam -- $3.99
lemon -- $.50 (I only needed the zest)
Total Cost of Crostata di Marmellata: $8.41