A lovely morning tea was held to celebrate the birthday of Quirky Sister No 2 recently. Quirky Nieces 1 and 3 made two beautiful bakes – an Italian crostata and a whole blood orange cake – for the festivities.
Quirky Niece 1, Isabella, on a recent trip to Italy, came back with a great crostata recipe, and in Italian , too. I have included the original hand written recipe.
Quirky Niece 3, Helena, used one of my favourite citrus fruits, blood oranges, in a cake with the whole fruit, from a Nigella recipe which references the famous Claudia Roden orange and almond cake.
Cherry Jam Crostata
The Italian source didn’t provide a lot of information – no method, so I have included what I think would work.
300g plain flour
½ sachet of baking powder (1 sachet = 11g)
1 whole egg
2 egg yolks
Quantity of any good jam for the filling (my niece used black cherry)
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Line a tart mold with baking paper or you could simply grease a baking tray if you want a true rustic crostata.
Place the flour, baking powder and sugar in a food processor and pulse till the mixture just comes together.
Make a well in the centre and add the butter and egg and egg yolks and mix in gently until combined but not overworked.
Roll out the dough roughly – remember this is not a precise tart – and line the tart mold. Or gently shape the dough into a round with a pastry rim on the baking tray.
Fill the tart with the jam, adding a pastry decoration as my niece did, and bake for 30-40 minutes until the pastry is golden and the jam bubbling.
Blood Orange Cake
3 blood oranges
6 large free-range eggs
250g ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder
Candied orange topping
Juice of a blood orange
4 tbs honey
1 blood orange thinly sliced
Put the blood oranges in a saucepan with some cold water, bring to the boil and cook for 2 hours or until the blood oranges are soft. Drain and, when cool, cut each orange in half and remove the pips. Put the oranges – skins, pith and fruit – and blitz in a food processor.
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C. Butter and line a 21cm springform tin.
Add the other ingredients to the food processor and mix.
Pour the cake mixture into the prepared tin and bake for an hour until a skewer comes out clean – cover with aluminum foil after about 40 minutes to stop the top of the cake burning. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a rack, but in the tin.
To make the candied orange topping, put the orange juice and honey in a small saucepan and bring to the boil, then reduce heat to medium. Add the orange slices and cook for 5 minutes each side until the orange slices caramelise.
Top the cake with the candied orange slices and syrup.