Semolina Crust Dough
(Recipe makes enough for 1 large or 2 small crostata)
- 1 cup flour
- ½ cup (1 stick) chilled butter, cut into cubes
- ¼ cup semolina
- A fat pinch salt (a little more than ¼ tsp)
- 3-4 TBSP ice water
In a food processor, pulse the flours and salt until well mixed. Add the chilled cubed butter and process about 8-10 pulses until the butter is about the size of peas. Add the ice water, a tablespoon at a time and pulse until the dough just comes together (grab a handful and squeeze – if it sticks together, it’s done.) It will be very crummy (in a good way). If you’ve processed until a ball forms, you’ve overdone it.
Lay out some plastic wrap, dump the dough on top, and using the wrap, gather together into a ball. Wrap and chill for 20 minutes. Remove from fridge, and roll out into a rectangle. With the long side facing you, fold in the edges to the middle. Wrap and chill another 20 minutes. (At this point you could put in a zip top bag and stow in freezer for about a month.)
After the second rest and chill, cut the dough in half, roll each half into a rough circle about 1/8th inch thick and about 8 inches round. Rewrap and chill while you make the filling.
I love this tart crust recipe – it’s pretty easy to make, and as long as you don’t overwork it, amazingly flakey every time.
- 1 to 1-¼ cups flour (140 – 175 grams)
- 7 TBSP (3.5 oz.) chilled unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 3 TBSP ice water
Place 1 cup flour, butter and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Process just until the mixture resembles course crumbs, about 10 seconds. Add the ice water and pulse 6-8 times just until the dough comes together when you pinch a bit between your fingers. Do NOT let the dough form a ball in the processor. Lay out a big sheet of wax paper and carefully dump the dough onto it. Using the paper, fold over a corner to squash the dough together. Continue with the other corners and repeat until you have formed a disk. If the dough seems too sticky, sprinkle it with the additional ¼ cup of flour, a little at a time until you can form a disk. Wrap the pastry and chill in the refrigerator at least an hour. Once the dough has rested an hour or more, divide in half and roll each half out to about an 8” circle. Wrap each circle and stow in refrigerator while you make the filling.
(If you are making a ½ recipe sized tart, or if you want to make the tart another day you can freeze the dough at this point. Wrap well and seal in a zip-top bag. It will keep well for several weeks.)
Cream Cheese and Guava Empanadas Makes 18 mini empanadas
Empanadas are just another word for turnovers, and this simple recipe makes amazing little pastries, whatever you call them!
- 1 package (1 lb) frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 1 8oz. package cream cheese (cold), cut into 18 equal pieces about an inch wide
- 18 1” x ½” squares of guava paste
- (I like Goya brand. It comes in a large circular tin and is easily found in the Latin food section of most markets. Leftover guava paste is wonderful on a cheese platter or toasted cream cheese and jelly sandwich, and keeps well in the fridge.)
- 1 egg, beaten with a teaspoon of water to make an egg wash
- ¼ cup confectioners sugar
- 1 tsp milk
- ¼ tsp vanilla
- Tiny pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 400˚F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Roll out each sheet of puff pastry to a 9 by 9-inch square. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut each sheet into 9 3-inch squares. Set a pastry square in front of you with 1 of the corners pointing toward you. Place 1 piece of cream cheese diagonally over the center of the square. Top with a piece of guava paste. Brush the edges of the square with beaten egg. Fold the upper half of the square over the filling to make a neat triangle. Crimp the edges with a fork. Repeat with the remaining turnovers, placing them on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet as you go. ** If the dough begins to get too warm, just pop the fridge to chill it a little.
Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and puffy. While the turnovers are baking, mix the confectioners’ sugar with the milk and vanilla, stirring to dissolve any lumps. Set aside. Cool the turnovers on a rack for 10 to 15 minutes then drizzle the glaze over them. Serve warm or at room temperature. Calories: about 115 per empanada.
** This is a great recipe to make ahead and freeze. Just put the unbaked empanadas on a tray in the freezer until hard then pop into a freezer bag. Take out as many as you need, defrost, bake and glaze at will.
Fall Fruit Crisp
You can make this in 1-cup ramekins for individual crisps (they freeze well once baked), or one 8” square glass baking dish.
For the Fruit Filling
- 1 ½ cups peeled granny smith apple (from one large apple), cut into 1” chunks
- 2 ½ cups peeled ripe Bartlett pears (from 2 medium/large pears), cut into 1” chunks
- 1 cup fresh or frozen whole cranberries
- 1 tsp grated orange zest
- 2 TBSP brown sugar
- 2 TBSP regular sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 TBSP flour
- 2 TBSP cognac
- ½ tsp almond extract
- 1 TBSP butter
For the crumb topping
- 1/3 cup old fashioned oatmeal (notquick cooking)
- 1/3 cups flour
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp cardamom (you can leave out if you don’t have it on hand)
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 2 TBSP slivered almonds
- 4 TBSP butter
Preheat oven to 350°F
To prepare the fruit filling: Mix together everything except the buttertogether in a bowl. Distributed evenly between the 4 ramekins, or into one 8” glass baking dish. Dot with little pieces of butter and set aside while you make the crumb topping.
To prepare the topping:Mix all of the ingredients together, either with a fork, pastry blender, or your fingers until it comes together in a mix of small, medium and large crumbs. Top the fruit evenly with the crumb mixture. Put the ramekins or baking dish on a cookie sheet and bake for 40 minutes or until the fruit is bubbling and the crumb topping is browned a little and crispy. Serve warm, topped with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, or just as it is. Feel free to sing all 12 days of Christmas or the Dreidel song at the TOP of your lungs. Calories: approximately 430 per serving.