Italian desserts

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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Apple & Castello® Blue Cheese Fritters

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Friends! My recipe for these delicious Apple and Castello Blue Cheese Fritters is apart of the Melt Recipe Blogger Challenge!  Please help me WIN by clicking the link below and please share this link with your friends and family! Thank You!!!

http://meltrecipechallenge.com/vote.php?rcp=1

http://meltrecipechallenge.com/recipe.php?rcp=1#.VcNYU8tZTqA

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Apple & Castello® Blue Cheese Fritters

1/3 cup 75 mL all-purpose flour
1 tsp 5 mL baking powder
1 large russet potato, peeled and shredded
1 granny smith apple, shredded
1 shallot, finely diced
1 green onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp 15 mL fresh parsley, chopped
2 tbsp 15 mL fresh dill, chopped
2 egg whites, lightly whipped
1/3 cup 75 g Castello® Blue Cheese, crumbled
1 tsp 5 mL sea salt, or to taste
1 tsp 5 mL fresh cracked black pepper, or to taste
Vegetable oil for frying

Recipe:

In a large bowl combine all the ingredients and gently fold in the Castello® Blue Cheese.

Add 2 inches of vegetable oil to a large skillet. Heat until just smoking, and then reduce to medium low.

Using a tablespoon, scoop the mixture into the hot oil and slightly flatten with the back of a spoon.  Cook until golden and flip the fritters to cook the other side. Work in small batches and do not overcrowd the pan.

Drain on paper towels to soak up excess oil.

Pairs well with a cool dip of Greek yogurt and fresh dill.

Makes approximately 20 fritters.

Please Vote! 🙂

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Sweet Ricotta Fritters with Brie Cheese and Cara Cara Oranges

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Fritters! Who doesn’t love a fresh and piping hot donut, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar on a cold day! Yum!

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If you have tried a version of fritters made with ricotta, then you’re in for a real decadent. I decided to up the ante and play with the flavours by adding Cara Cara oranges which are currently in season and some velvety Castello Brie cheese.
It’s a sinfully delicious combination, one that will have you and your guests hurrying to finish your meal so that you can share these after dinner treats.
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The fritters are best served immediately after they’re fried (as is usually the case with homemade fritters).  The addition of the Brie cheese and oranges make them extra soft, they also pair well with gelato or a silky crème anglaise sauce.
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These serve a small crowd as they make approximately 15-18 fritters, I used a small cookie scoop for measure.  If you cannot find Cara Cara Oranges, you can substitute it with a another variety of sweet oranges or clementines. Be careful when working with hot oil and melting cheese, these don’t take very long to cook and you’re looking for a nice golden brown colour and a quick toss in the cinnamon sugar.  Enjoy!
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Sweet Ricotta Fritters with Brie Cheese and Cara Cara Oranges

45g all purpose flour
26g raw sugar
1 Cara Cara orange, (just the zest + 2 tblsp juice)
145g (3/4 cup) full fat Ricotta cheese
1 extra large egg
40g Castello Brie Cheese, diced (rind removed)
Pinch of kosher salt
Pinch of baking powder
Pinch of vanilla bean powder or (3 drops of vanilla extract)
Vegetable oil for frying

Cinnamon Sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Method

1. In a large bowl, mix the ricotta and the egg until combined. Slowly add the remaining ingredients and set aside while you get your deep fryer or pot of oil ready.

2. Test the oil by dropping a spoonful of the batter in, it should float to the top and you should see tiny bubbles around it. Fry for approx 2 minutes or until golden.

3.Repeat with the remaining batter using a small cookie scoop measure for the remaing fritters, taking care not to overcrowd the pot. Fry and drain on paper towels and quickly toss into a bowl with sugar/cinnamon and serve immediately. Enjoy!

*Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Castello Cheese. I received a free sample of the product for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.