Crostata is one of the oldest desserts of the Italian tradition, a rustic dessert composed of a short pastry base covered with fresh fruit or jam, chocolate or all kind of creams and other combinations, usually with the addition of thin strips of intertwined short pastry, but also covered with another layer of short pastry or free-form version.
It is usually associated to be the classic dessert prepared at home by grandmother. Even the shortcrust pastry can be made in several ways, from the classic one with butter to the one made with oil, as well as with yoghurt or, just like in this case, with pumpkin in the dough.
22-24 cm diameter mould, Preparation 30 min, Total Cooking time 30 min
For the pumpkin shortcrust pastry:
- 200 g of plain flour
- Pumpkin, 150 g
- 120 g sugar
- a pinch of salt
- 100 g unsalted butter, softened
- 1 egg yolk
- a pinch of cinnamon
For the chocolate cream making:
- Medium eggs 2
- Brown sugar, 90 g
- Corn starch (maize flour) 35 g
- Whole milk 500 g
- Dark chocolate – bittersweet 70%, 100 g
Preparing chocolate cream:
Chop the chocolate into small pieces.
Heat the milk in a pan.
Separately, in a bowl, beat the two whole eggs in a bowl, then add the sugar, get a clear mixture and to finish add also the sifted corn starch mixing always with the whisk until you get a mixture without lumps.
Pour the milk that you have previously heated into the eggs and starch mixture, put everything back into the pan, let it thicken over a moderate heat until you get a thick cream.
Turn off the heat and add the chopped chocolate, stir until completely melted. Transfer the cream into a bowl and cover with contact film. Allow to cool to room temperature and then refrigerate for an hour.
Preparing pumpkin shortcrust pastry:
Dice the pumpkin and cook it in very little water until softened, as soon as it is ready, squeeze it and let it cool, then blend it with 20 g of sugar.
Pour in a bowl the flour, the butter softened into small pieces and a pinch of salt, knead until you get a granular “crumbly” mixture, then add sugar and pumpkin puree, mix with the whisk, then add the yolk and cinnamon – and clove powder if you like the idea – knead with your hands until you get a smooth dough.
Tip: You may need to add a little more flour during the process, this depends on the type of pumpkin and its amount of water.
Ball-shape the dough and put it in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Ready.
Pre-heat the oven to 170 C / 338 F / Gas Mark 3.
Set aside a piece for the decorative strips, cut 6 – 7 strips slightly wider than 1 cm.
Roll out the shortcrust pastry between two sheets of baking paper and roll it out to a thickness of 3-4 mm in a baking tray with a diameter of 22-24 centimetres, pierce it with a fork so that it will not swell during baking and it will disperse its moisture.
Pour the chocolate cream evenly over the shortcrust by leaving at least 7/8 mm from the edge.
Add dough strips on the pie as forming a grate, first placing all those on one side and then on top of the others, in the opposite direction.
Only when you have placed all the strips, press the edges on each other with your fingers and then cut off the excess ones. Brush the edges and strips with a little cold milk.
Bake to 170 C / 338 F / Gas Mark 3 for about 20- 25 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature and then serve.