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Blueberry and Hazelnut Crostata 

Crostata evokes many memories of a summer semester I spent in Bologna, Italy when I was backpacking in Europe as a university student. I spent most of my hard-earned money on eating and sightseeing and I fondly remember all the bakeries serving many variations of this infamous Italian Tart. Plums, berries, apples, grapes all made their way into these traditional crostatas bursting with homemade jams, flaky and buttery crusts liberally dusted with icing sugar.

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I used to walk through the streets sightseeing and eating my crostata with icing sugar dusting my face, a happy memory! I had a sweet tooth and couldn’t resist trying all the delicacies in the dozens of pastry shops that lined the streets.

When E.D.SMITH contacted me to collaborate on their fall campaign to celebrate their 135th birthday, I was delighted as it brought back memories of baking as a child with my mum. We used to love using their pie fillings and their jams were a staple in our house.

E.D.SMITH is an iconic Canadian food brand with roots dating back to 1882 and is currently the #1 pie filling in Canada and the largest Canadian manufacturer of jams and fruit spreads.

For their fall campaign, E.D.SMITH is inspiring the newest generation of Canadian home cooks to look past traditional jam on toast and plain pies to get creative with E.D.SMITH’s products.

My mission is to inspire you to explore the versatility of their products and show you how E.D.SMITH’s pie fillings and Triple Fruits spreads can fit within your lifestyle and today’s food trends.

I love a good challenge and what better way than to recreate one of my favourite desserts, a fruit filled crostata! A traditional crostata is an open-faced fruit tart, often with a decorative lattice top and made with a homemade jam.

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I particularly enjoy E.D.SMITH’s Blueberry Pie Filling and thought it would be a great swap out for a traditional blueberry jam. As we head into the fall season, I made this crostata with the addition of ground hazelnuts as it gives the crust a gently nutty bite and it complements the Blueberry Pie Filling nicely. If hazelnuts are not to your liking, they can easily be replaced with ground almonds.

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The addition of nuts in the pastry dough, coupled with the yolks creates a well rounded, rich crust that pairs nicely with the pie filling making you want to savour each bite.

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This Blueberry and Hazelnut Crostata is sure to become your favourite too. It’s a delicious twist on a traditional, familiar dessert with a delicate lattice topping. I hope you enjoy making it as much as I do.

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Blueberry and Hazelnut Crostata Recipe

Pastry Crust Ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour

1/4 cup ground hazelnuts (or almonds)

3 Tbsp. sugar

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp citrus zest (lemon, orange or grapefruit)

1/4 tsp ground vanilla bean (or extract)

Pinch of ground cinnamon

3/4 cup cold unsalted butter, chopped

1 large egg + 1 yolk

3/4 can of E.D.SMITH Blueberry Pie Filling

Egg wash (1 egg + 2 tsp water)

9″ Fluted round tart pan with a removal bottom

Directions:

  1. In a stand up mixer bowl with the paddle attachment, add the flour, ground hazelnuts, sugar, salt, zest, vanilla and cinnamon. Mix on low until combined.
  2. Add the chopped butter and egg yolk, and mix until combined. Do not overmix as you still want to see bits of butter throughout.
  3. On a clean surface roll out 2 sheets of cling wrap and place the dough in the centre and gently form a disk. Flatten, cover in cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350F
  5. Roll out the pastry dough on a floured surface to approximately 14-16″ in diameter and l/2” thickness. Gently transfer it to the tart pan and press into the pan, bringing the dough up to the sides.
  6. With a sharp knife, cut off the excess dough and reserve to make a lattice top.
  7. Add the E.D.SMITH Blueberry Pie Filling into the base.
  8. Roll out the excess dough and using a fluted pastry wheel cut strips to place over top the filled pastry.
  9. In a crisscross pattern overlap the strips and crimp the edges.
  10. *Alternate method; on a flour dusted parchment sheet you can create your lattice top pattern and chill it for 15 minutes. Gently flip it over-top the tart, sealing the edges and discarding any excess dough.
  11. Brush with the egg wash and bake at 350°F for 40-45 minutes or until golden.
  12. Remove and place on a baking rack to completely cool.
  13. Remove the tart ring and dust generously with icing sugar and cut into slices. Enjoy!

*The Crostata will keep for 4-5 days in an airtight container, refrigerated.

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Financiers (Almond Tea Cakes with Fig Jam)

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Recently, I was asked to create a recipe on behalf of Bonne Maman using their Fig Jam.  Many of you may know them by their familiar jam jars with the checkered lids.  The first thing that popped into my mind was Financiers. These delicious golden gems pair filled with this delectable jam served with tea. For as long as I can remember, I have enjoyed eating Bonne Maman jams with my morning baguette and salted butter.  It’s such a treat!  Just one bite transports me back to France.
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For decades, Bonne Maman has created special preserves following traditional and cherished recipes. Today, Bonne Maman continues shaping the sweetest moments by producing their preserves in France using all natural ingredients with no artificial colorings, no additives or preservatives.
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The recipe for Financiers is straightforward and requires little fuss or expertise.  As these are petit fours, you can be creative with your choice of moulds or filings.  I have used rectangular financier mounds,  savarin ring mounds as well as mini cupcake liners.  You can also use a greased mini or standard muffin tin for ease. For best results, the batter must be prepared hours in advance or best if left rested overnight in the refrigerator.

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Recipe: Financiers (Almond Tea Cakes with Fig Jam)

Makes approx 12-15 mini cakes

Ingredients:

3/4 cup unsalted butter

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup ground almonds

3/4 cup egg whites (from 6 large eggs)

2/3 cup all purpose flour

1/2 vanilla bean scraped or 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

2 drops of almond extract

1 cup Bonne Maman Fig Jam

Mini baking moulds

Method:

Brown Butter:

In a medium sized saucepan, bring the butter to a gentle boil until it turns a light golden brown. Take it off the heat and set aside to cool. Strain the browned butter into a small bowl.

Preparing the Financier Batter:

  1.  In a large saucepan mix together the sugar, ground almonds and egg whites. Place the pan over low heat and stir for approximately 2 minutes until it’s heated through and the colour has changed slightly to white without overcooking the egg whites.
  2.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla, almond extract and the flour. Mix thoroughly and slowly incorporate the brown butter into the batter with a whisk.
  3.  Transfer the batter to a bowl and tightly seal with cling wrap.
  4.  Refrigerate for approximately 2 hours or overnight to allow the batter to rest and the flavors to infuse.

Baking:

  1.  Preheat oven to 410°F and if you are using silicone bake ware, you do not need to butter them. If you are using metal molds or a cupcake tin, butter the insides and dust the interior with flour, tapping out the excess.
  2.  Remove the batter from the fridge and place the contents into a large piping bag or a cookie scoop for even results and ease of preparation.
  3.  Measure 1 cup of the Bonne Maman Fig Jam and set aside until you’re ready to use.
  4. Fill the bottom of each cavity with an equal portion of the Financier batter.
  5. Pipe or scoop a thin even layer of the fig jam followed by a layer of the Financier batter.
  6. Set the molds on a large baking sheet and bake for approximately 15 minutes or until the Financiers are golden brown and cooked through.
  7. On a large sheet of parchment invert the molds and transfer them to a cooling rack.

Serve with your favorite cup of tea and enjoy!
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*Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Bonne Maman. I received a free sample of the product for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.