This may look like a drab, brown tart, but I assure you, once you try it, you’ll be licking the plate clean. You’re familiar with the crostata – a tart made with jam that’s a standard dessert in any Italian housewife’s repertoire. This one takes it a step further, adding amaretti cookies and almonds and some liqueur to the mix. The recipe comes from my friend Lilli, who got it from a cookbook that came with a kitchen apparatus called a “bimby.”
Years ago, she bought one of these super-duper machines in Italy. You can use it to make anything from risotto to sorbet. All you do is dump the ingredients into the machine, press a button and it does the work for you. It mixes, it cooks, it knows when everything’s done – nearly as good as having your own chef in the kitchen. It’s an expensive item so you won’t find it on every kitchen counter, the way you do a toaster. As fate would have it though, Lilli’s “bimby” broke after a few years, but the recipes she made with it still work. It just takes a few extra steps to do the mixing by hand.
Make it in a pie plate or a tart pan, whatever you have on hand. The recipe calls for a pan with a diameter of 30 centimeters, or about 12 inches. You may not have that large a pan, so just adjust to the size you’ve got. Don’t use the entire recipe for pasta frolla, for example if your pan is not that large. Even if it is, you’ll have extra. Save what you don’t use and freeze it. Cut back on the marmalade too if your pan is smaller.
Then again, you might want to go out and buy a larger pan. Because you’re going to want to eat every last morsel.
for a pan of 12″ diameter
Pastry – pasta frolla
This makes enough dough for a large tart, with leftover, or for two smaller tart shells.
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg yolk
1 t. vanilla extract
grated zest of 1 lemon
2 or 3 T. ice water, if needed
Place the dry ingredients in a bowl or food processor, add the butter and mix until it looks like coarse sand. Add the rest of the ingredients (except the water) and mix only until it holds together. If it’s too dry, add a couple of tablespoons of cold water until the mixture comes together. Do not over mix or your dough will be tough. Bring together into a ball.
200 grams (about 7 ounces) plum jam
200 grams (about 7 ounces) apricot jam
200 grams (about 7 ounces) amaretti cookies
1/4 cup sliced almonds
a tablespoon of butter
a little cognac or brandy
a little amaretto liqueur
Mix the plum and apricot jams with the brandy cognac. Roll the dough into a disc and place into a tart pan that’s been buttered. Spread half the jam mixture over the pastry, then place a layer of amaretti cookies over the top. Sprinkle with a bit of cognac, then add another layer of the jam mixture. Finish with another layer of amaretti cookies, sprinkling with amaretto liqueur.
Spread the almonds on the top.
Bake in oven for about 40 minutes at 350 degrees.