Italy Culinary Tour Recipes: Pasticciotti from Puglia
What the croissant is to France, the pasticciotti is to Puglia, something you’ll learn quickly during an Italy cooking vacation to the region. The pastry of Puglia is mostly found in Lecce, but the delicate dish is available in much of the area. It’s said to put you in a good mood with its sweet cream or custard center, whether you enjoy it with a cappucino or another regional drink, latte di mandorla, but what Italian dessert doesn’t? Plus, considering George Clooney reportedly served it at his wedding to his guests, you know it’s got to be good.
While all families and chefs have their own personal touch on this pastry, this particular recipe comes from Nonna Tetta, who leads the cooking classes during our Cooking and Hiking Between the Seas culinary vacation in Puglia.
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1/4 cup milk
- 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp corn starch
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cup milk
- 1 1/2 tbsp butter, unsalted
- 1 egg yolk, beaten
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1 rind of lemon
- Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 2 tbsp milk)
1. Start by making the dough. To do this, sift together the flour with the baking powder, sugar, and salt in a big bowl.
2. Using a pastry blender, add in the vegetable shortening, and blend until the mixture looks like corn meal.
3. Using your hands, add vanilla, milk, and egg. Now form the dough into a smooth ball. Then wrap the dough in plastic and put to the side.
4. Next, on to the filling! In a medium saucepan, quickly whisk together the sugar and cornstarch; this will stop the lumps from forming.
5. Continue whisking, and slowly add the milk, as well as the lemon peel.
6. To the filling mixture, cut in the butter, and then put the saucepan over medium heat to start warming up the mixture. Continue to stir this constantly until it begins to thicken.
7. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the almond extract as well as egg yolk. It should now have a custard consistency; set this to the side.
8. Now it’s time to assemble these tasty treats! Cut the dough ball into half. On a lightly floured surface, roll one of the dough pieces into an 11-inch circle, about a quarter-inch thick.
9. Using a 3-inch biscuit cutter, cut out however many dough circles you’d like to make. Press each of these circles into the bottom (and up into the sides) of tart pans. (We recommend 3 x 1/14 inch tart pans).
10. Take the dough scraps and reroll. These can be cut into more circles. If you do this, you should have about 12 tart shells total. Repeat with cutting these pieces into circles and fill the tart pans.
11. Place the tart pans onto a baking sheet. Each tart shell should be filled with about 2 tablespoons of filling.
12. Roll out the other piece of dough, and again cut them into about 3 inch circles.
13. Place the circles over each tart pan and pinch the dough edges closed.
14. Paint the egg wash over each tart, and the refrigerate for around 30 minutes.
15. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
16. Bake the tarts for about 12 to 15 minutes, or until the tops turn a beautiful golden brown.
17. Remove from oven and let the pasticciotti cool.
18. Remove the tarts from the pans very carefully, and then enjoy! (If you’d like to save them for later, store in a tight container and put in the refrigerator).
Learn more regional specialties from Puglia during Cooking and Hiking Between the Seas! Not only does the 6-night culinary vacations include five hands-on cooking classes with the family’s gonna, but guests will also enjoy two Pizzica dance lessons, as well as excursions around the beautiful rural region of Puglia.
By Liz Hall
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