Sunday, May 1, 2016

Strawberry Apple Stracciatella Pie

I refuse to wait for you, Spring. Fine. You can rain all you want and barely push 12 degrees C. Go ahead.

My strawberries are coming from USA and Mexico and I just don't care. I can't stand it any longer and I want my berries now! But I promise when June finally comes around and Spring weather finally sticks, then I'll be all up in those farmlands picking more berries than my soon-to-be stained fingers can handle. 

For now, my imported strawberries find their way into a beautiful seasonal (sort of) tart that satisfies my cravings for creamy and fruity and flaky.

I probably make more pastry in the warmer months than I do during the winter because I love making tarts, pies and small pastries with summer fruits! Strawberries, blueberries, cherries, raspberries, peaches and nectarines make delicious desserts. Apple pie is dang delicious too, but pastry is more fun in colour. 

This is a crostata or sometimes a galette (depending on what country you're in), and it's a free-form rustic style of pie that requires no pie dish and bakes a bit faster since the crust is exposed to direct heat and well, you can't really fill them as much as a dish pie unless you want an oven full of fruit juice.

Remember the rules for flaky pastry: make it cold and bake it hot!

You want to incorporate cold butter into the flour so that it ends up looking like rubble. The fat coats the flour particles and protects wheat proteins from linking up to form gluten which would make the pastry too strong like bread dough. Little bits of fat will flatten out as you roll the pastry and create layers that separate baked dough = flakes. In a free-form pie like this one, if the fat bits are too large then they will just melt and leave gaping holes in the pastry - not a good scene. Aim to have most of the cold fat incorporated rather well and evenly dispersed with a few larger bits no bigger than the size of oat flakes.

I put chocolate in the crust. I'm currently writing a baking book dedicated to chocolate recipes and so a pie without chocolate feels unorthodox to me right now.

It's this chocolate and the last minute quick custard filling that makes this a "stracciatella" pie.

Stracciatella is the name of a gelato flavour in Italy, and it is essentially chocolate chip except that it is always dark chocolate that is used and it is incorporated by folding melted chocolate into the cold churned cream so that it hardens immediately and flakes up as it is mixed.

Make sure you chop the chocolate up finely because if there are big chunks, then they will get in the way of you rolling out the pastry dough like delicious road blocks! When the pie is just 15 minutes away from being done, whisk up an egg with some sugar and cream and pour it over the fruit in the center, letting it seep into all the cracks and crevices. Let it finish baking and the custard will set into, well... silky custard.

You can easily leave this step out, but it's totally like me to want it all!

Have a great week ahead.
Don't forget to eat dessert.


Straciatella Strawberry Pie
Makes 8-10 servings

For the crust:
1 ½ cups (215g) all-purpose flour
1 tbsp granulated sugar
¼ tsp salt
1.5 oz (42g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
½ cup (113g) very cold butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
3-4 tbsp ice cold water

For the filling:
1 lb sweet apples (about 3 apples such as Pink Lady) cut into ½-inch chunks
7 oz (200g) strawberries, hulled and quartered
1/3 cup (65g) granulated sugar
1 tbsp corn starch
1 tbsp flour
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
2 tbsp 35% whipping cream

For the custard:
1 large egg
¼ cup (60ml) 35% whipping cream
2 tbsp (25g) sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract

To make crust, combine flour, sugar, salt and chocolate in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times until blended. Add cold butter and pulse until it is well dispersed and resembles  a coarse crumbly mixture with some larger pieces the size of oat flakes. Slowly drizzle ice water over flour mixture, one tablespoon at a time, just until the flour is moistened and it holds together in clumps. The dough will hold together when squeezed or pressed when it is ready, but it should not form a ball. Turn the crumbly dough out onto a clean work surface and bring it together with your hands, pressing in loose bits until barely holds together. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat your oven to 400°F. Roll the chilled dough out into a large circle about 14 inches in diameter between two pieces of parchment paper. Transfer the dough to a large baking tray and peel off the top layer of parchment.

In a large bowl, combine chopped apples, strawberries, sugar, corn starch, flour and nutmeg in a bowl and toss to coat the fruit evenly. Pile the fruit in the center of the rolled out dough leaving a 3-inch border on all sides and then gently lift the excess dough up and over to nest the fruit in the middle. Brush the sides of the pastry with cream and bake at 400°F for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F and bake another 30-40 minutes or until the filling starts to bubble.

In a volumetric measuring cup, whisk together all custard ingredients and then carefully reach into the oven and pour custard over the fruit in the center, letting it sink into the spaces. Continue to bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until the custard is just set. Transfer baking tray to a wire rack and let the pie cool for 20 minutes before slicing.
Pin It


Post a Comment