Category Archives: PIES

TOMATO, ASPARAGUS AND RICOTTA CROSTATA…

0002 I’m calling this a CROSTATA simply because it is one, an Italian BAKED tart or pie.  Pretty simple. This egg, cheese and vegetable CROSTATA is not much different than a QUICHE but I’m going with the term CROSTATA because of the cheeses I used in this, RICOTTA,MOZZARELLA, and PARMIGIANO.  There are a million ways to prepare and enjoy the seasonal tomatoes out right now, mostly eaten raw because they are just so delicious.  Don’t stop there!  This cheese tart topped with sliced seasonal tomatoes and some Asparagus really shows off their delicious flavors.  Arrangement of the vegetables is up to you.  I was feeling creative and came up with this pattern but i realized after I did it that pieces will miss out on the ASPARAGUS so just be creative!! 003 My mise en place for the crostata.  I used Polly-O because that was the best available.  It will be even better when you use the ricotta in tins, or fresh ricotta, but DON’T STRESS, just use a good brand of Ricotta.  Organic/Farm eggs will also make a difference as will local ripe and fresh vegetables.

004 The asparagus roasts beautifully. 007 The tomatoes and cheeses brown and caramelize wonderfully.  This is a fun dish, looks great and tastes great,  warm or room temperature!

The idea is reminiscent of the frittatas my Mom would make with the seasonal vegetables from Dad’s home garden.  It was farm to table long before it became a food industry buzzword, really hipsters, it’s simply how food has been prepared and served since the beginning of time. Until Kraft came along…!! If you do not have your own garden try a local farmers market OR even in the supermarkets, like where I live in New Jersey..there’s a designated area in the produce department for LOCAL vegetables. There’s also the Organic section so during the growing season you can by-pass trucked in factory farmed produce from far away areas.  The taste difference is worth it.

for a 9 inch PIE PLATE which will serve 8 people:

TIME: 2 hours             SERVES: 6-8

1 basic PIE CRUST ROLLED AND PRESSED INTO A 9 inchPAN

2  CUPS DRAINED RICOTTA

3 BEATEN LARGE EGGS

1/8 CUP FRESHLY GRATED PARMIGIANO-REGGIANO

2 TBS HEAVY CREAM

1/8 CUP SMALL DICED MOZZARELLA

KOSHER SALT

FRESH GROUND BLACK PEPPER

2TBS. DRY PLAIN BREADCRUMBS

1 GREEN ONION, FINELY CHOPPED

8 RIPE 1/8 inch TOMATO SLICES

8 PEELED AND BLANCHED ASPARAGUS SPEARS

EXTRA BREADCRUMBS, PARMIGIANO, SALT AND PEPPER FOR FINISHING

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Beat the Ricotta and the eggs together in a large bowl.  Add 1/8 tsp. Salt and1/4 Tsp.Ground black pepper. Mix.  Fold in the mozzarella and the Parmigiano and Green Onionsand cream. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on the bottom of the crust.   When it’s well blended pour it into the pie crust.  Place the pan on a foil covered baking sheet.  Now top the crust with the tomatoes and Asparagus.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove and rotate the pan. Now top with a sprinkling of salt and pepper, about 2 tbs. of Grated Parmigiano and 1 1/2 TBS of breadcrumbs. Bake for 15minutes longer OR until the center of the Crostata is set.If you are not sure, insert a smooth blade or toothpick and when it comes out clean you are done!

Here’s a simple pie crust for you:

2 cups sifted All purpose Unbleached flour
1 stick unsalted butter (at room temperature)
½ cup ice water


 
Mix the butter and flour togetherwith your fingers or two knife blades . Add the water slowly to the flour and butter mixture, mixing until the dough is formed. Roll this into a smooth ball and wrap in plastic.  Refrigerate for 1 hour.  Remove.  Let it sit out for 5 minutes, Then on a floured board roll out to 1/8 inch thickness and make sure the bottom and 3/4 of the sides of the pan are covered.  That’s it!

006  Isn’t that beautiful?  The Ricotta served to make it a bit lighter in texture than the typical custardlike quiche filling.  The Italian cheeses and black pepper give it a nice flavor and the Green onion  is really nice as a background.  The caramelized tomato and asparagus just finishes it off nicely.  Enjoy this one!!!  Let it sit for a good 15 minutes before you cut into it.

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S’MORES PIE…THE KIDS’ DESSERT IN A GROWN UP FORM

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Let’s start out by saying that S’mores are not my favorite dessert and I hate when kids have them in their hands.  Don’t judge me.  They make a big mess, admit it.  Think about that party, BBQ, outdoor meal where you indulged your kids or friends with a stick, a Jet Puffed MARSHMALLOW and some GRAHAM CRACKERS and a piece of HERSHEY’S CHOCOLATE.  What happened next?  Kid got burned?  the flaming marshmallow ended up in a floaty pile of molten sugar on your couch or rug? Chocolate fingerprints all over the walls?  Are you getting it?  OK…I surf alot of Social Media, especially the food-centric sites and of late I’ve been seeing this S’MORES PIE thingy.  My oldest just had some oral surgery done so she , for the time being, can only eat things that are sort of soft.  I thought I’d break down and turn the dreaded S’MORES in to a pie.  I accomplished my mission and as happy as I was that my kids were loving a Sunday night dessert, IT MADE A MESS.  The counter was covered with sticky shrapnel from the cake spatula, the plates, etc.  Delicious for this type of sweet dessert but I have not changed my opinion.  There will still be a ban on Grill/BBQ made individual S’Mores as long as I’m around.

MAKES 6-8 slices                    TIME: 2 1/2 hours

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY:  low

1 GRAHAM CRACKER 9 TO 10 INCH CRUST

1 CUP HEAVY CREAM

1 /2 TSP. SUGAR

1/2 TSP. GOOD VANILLA EXTRACT

PINCH OF SALT

1/2 STICK (1/2 CUP)

12 OZ. GOOD MELTING CHOCOLATE

ENOUGH MINI MARSHMALLOWS TO COVER TOP OF PIE

DOUBLE BOILER OR STAINLESS STEEL BOWL FITTED OVER A SAUCEPAN WITH 1 INCH OF WATER BROUGHT TO A BOIL then BROUGHT TO A SIMMER  ON LOW

In the bowl over the steaming water, add the butter into the bowl. Let this melt, then add the salt, sugar, vanilla, and cream..Whisk till blended.   Then add the chocolate and whisk  until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is shiny and smooth.007  Now let this cool to room temperature then into the fridge it goes for close to 2 hours, you must let it set.  Remove from the fridge and turn on your broiler.  Add the marshmallows evenly to the top of the toy.

008  Place the pie on a baking pan and remove the top rack of your oven.  When the broiler has heated the oven place the piceon the middle rack.  DO NO LEAVE YOUR SPOT.  As SOON as you see the pie browning rotate it and only let it stay in for no more than a minute or so,  you should see the browning then remove the pie.  Let it rest for a good 5 minutes or you will surely burn the insides of the mouths of anyone who is waiting to eat this.

 

Slice and serve, it should be melt-y and rich.  I don’t trust a “perfect”slice of this.  It’s rustic and the slices shoud/need not be perfect.

Have fun with it and enjoy!!

 

10965_1151469789308_1304531591_30356921_1242298_n  That’s what you want!!!