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Etta Molesini's Carnevale Strufoli

Etta Molesini's Carnevale Strufoli
Casa Chilenne

Carnevale or Mardi Gras is not a celebration tied only to Rio de Janeiro or Venice. The 40 days before Lent are called Carnevale and a time when one indulges in all types of mischief before the austere 40 days before Easter begin. Practical jokes, masquerade parties and parades, confetti and indulgent foods. Many deep fried treats are prepared and served. Etta Molesini is the expert of local Carnevale traditions and recipes. As the days of Carnevale approach she provides photo copies ofrecipes for Strufoli at the deli counter of their store in Piazza della Repubblica.

Struffoli are kind of a deep fried fritter which falls somewhere between a doughnut and a crunchy cookie. Traditionally they are sprinkled with powder sugar as soon as they are pulled out of the hot oil  to drain after cooking. I like to use a cooking rack to drain to keep as crispy as possible. I also like the festive look of colored sprinkles, so before frying, I prepare a light glaze with some orange juice and powdered sugar, that I quickly brush over the still hot strufolo as it drains and scatter the sprinkles before the glaze dries. Just fry a few at a time and glaze as you go. To be thrifty, and who isn't these days, I grate a bit of the  zest of the orange rind into the dough with the lemone zest.

Here is Etta's original recipe:

500 gr. flour (about 2 cups)

2 whole eggs

1 pinch of salt

the grated zest of 1 lemon

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 Tablespoons sugar

4 Tablespoons melted butter

1 shot glass of grappa (or other dry liquor)  

 

Mix all ingredients together and make a dough (mine was a bit dry so I added  about 3 TBS more grappa). The dough will be rather hard but not crumbly. Let rest 15 minutes or so. Roll out the dough to about 3/8" thick and cut into strips or shapes as you like with a knife, pasta cutter or cookie cutters. for large pieces cut a hole in the center with a knife so that it will cook evenly. Fry small batches at a time til golden on each side. Sprinkle with sugar, serve.


Martino's Rustic Fresh Fig and Walnut Crostata

 Martino's Rustic Fresh Fig and Walnut Crostata
Casa Chilenne

This is the season when those who are lucky enough to have fig trees or friends with fig trees can enjoy them fresh with prosciutto or cheese, but they must be consumed quickly to enjoy their best flavor. Yesterday morning the bell rang at the house and I was greeted by Martino our computer tech who was carrying a large box of "cosce di monaca" plums and a bag of fresh figs, I was puzzled at first because our computers are all up and running fine (for now)- and besides these delights he also gave me this recipe...

If you have pasta frolla left over from the last recipe it's even faster, if not, recipe at the end.

Preheat your oven to 375°F

Roll out a disk of dough about 14-15 inches in diameter.  about 1/4" think and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment. If you happen to be making fig jam or are using up a bit of last years, spread a in the center of the dough leaving about  4-5 inches of border around (if you don't have fig jam, apricot or plum will probably do)- cut 5-6 figs into quarters and arrange on the jam, Sprinkle with demerara sugar (or regular sugar) and walnuts, pinenuts if you like. Make 3-4 inch cuts along the edge of the disk of pastry every 3 inches or so from the edge until just where the jam/filling begins. Turn up each strip to towards the middle to form the crust leaving a whole in the middle. Brush with an egg wash made from a beaten egg with a little milk. Sprinkle with more sugar around the crust and bake for about 25 minutes or until a hazelnut color. Serve warm or room temperature.

 

Pasta Frolla-  used for tarts, cookies, etc.

 

Ingredients:

200 gr. butter (7 oz.)

3 egg yolks

200 gr. sugar ( 7 oz. a scant cup)

500 gr. flour (2 cups)

¼ teaspoon salt

1 ¾ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon grated lemon zest (optional)

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

approximately ¼ -1/3 cup milk

 

beat the egg yolks and sugar, then add the butter, cut into small cubes at room temperature until light and incorporated. Add the salt, baking powder, zest, vanilla and flour. Blend with mixer until  a crumbly mixture is formed. dough, gradually add the milk and process until it  starts to come together  and forms a solid ball. Refrigerate about 2 hours.

 


Torta della Nonna- Grandmother's Custard and Pinenut Tart

Torta della Nonna- Grandmother's Custard and Pinenut Tart
Casa Chilenne

For a 9" tart

Pastry:

Pasta Frolla-  used for tarts, cookies, etc.

 

Ingredients:

3 egg yolks

300 gr. sugar (10 oz.-about 1 1/2 cups)

200 gr. butter (7 oz.)

 approx. 500 gr. flour (2 cups)

¼ teaspoon salt

1 ¾ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon grated lemon zest

½ teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

approximately ¼ -1/3 cup milk

 

Preheat oven to 180 °C / 350° F

beat the egg yolks and sugar, then add the butter, cut into small cubes at room temperature until light and incorporated. Add the salt, baking powder, zest, vanilla and flour. Blend with mixer until  a crumbly mixture is formed. dough, gradually add the milk and process until it  starts to come together  and forms a solid ball. Refrigerate about 2 hours.

 

While  dough is chilling make the custard for  the filling:

 

ingredients:

2 large eggs

1 egg yolk

½ cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

¼  teaspoon almond extract (optional)

 

Mix these ingredients together until well blended, then add:

 

2 teaspoons cornstarch

3 Tablespoons flour

 

Mix and slowly add: 2 ½ cups milk

 

Stir until well blended, add 1 strip of lemon zest (just the yellow part)

-additional filling ingredients: 1/3 cup + 2 Tablespoons Pine nuts, raisins(optional)

 

Heat over  a medium-High flame stirring constantly until the mixture comes to a boil, lower the flame to medium-low and simmer until thick (about 1-2 minutes) remove from flame and transfer to a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let cool.

 

Assembling:

Pre-heat oven to 375°F and place a small pan with about 1/3 cup  pine nuts in the oven to brown, be careful they don’t burn, should take about 5 minutes or less, watch carefully.

 

Add to custard. At this time you can also add raisins if desired. Raisins can be soaked ahead of time in rum, or placed in the microwave for 30 seconds  (about ¼ cup with 2 Tablespoons liquor).

 

Butter  a 9” tart pan and take about 1/3 of the pastry and for m a ball. Roll out the pastry to be large enough to ease into the pan without stretching and cut off the extra pastry with rolling pin.

 

Fill the shell with  custard filling. Beat and egg and brush around the  inner edge of the tart pastry. Roll another  round of pastry to cover. press around the edges to seal and cut off extra pastry from the edge . Brush the top with egg and sprinkle with 2 Tablespoons of pinenuts.

 

Bake on middle rack for about 35 minutes, or until the tart is well-browned, pinenuts will be browned .

 

sprinkle with powdered sugar. Easier to serve when cool, or slightly warm.

Any questions or comments about this recipe can be sent to carlotta@casachilenne.com
 


 
Casa Chilenne B&B - Via Nazionale, 65 Cortona 52044 (AR) - Phone/Fax +39 338 7727427 - Email: info@casachilenne.com