If there is a dessert that everyone, absolutely everyone, can agree on, it’s crostata. Be that because it is the homespun tart par excellence, or because it lends itself to many more or less traditional variations. This time we wanted to look for a version that could be suitable also for those who do not eat gluten, by choice or necessity. And we did it by asking 5 famous pastry chefs––great masters or young talents of the sweet pastry art––to share their recipes. The result? Shortcrust pastry crusts made with alternative flours, original doughs, authorial interpretations.
Gluten free crostata
Lemon Crostata by Isabella Potì
If Bros’ is the main restaurant, the spin off with a sweet soul could only be called Sista, a true dark pastry kitchen. At centre stage are the crostata creations of Isabella Potì, in single-portion or classic format, available for take-away and delivery. A further piece added to the gastronomic universe (and beyond) of Pellegrino Bros, which also includes the Roots country restaurant-home refuge and even a rugby team.
1000 g. gluten-free flour (thinly milled rice flour)
600 g. butter, cubed
350 g. caster sugar
120 g. corn flour
Combine butter and sugar until fluffy. Add one egg yolk at a time. Then add flour and cornstarch. Leave to rest for an hour in the fridge. Roll out to 4 mm thickness, line 8-cm diameter tart moulds by cutting strips 2 cm wide and 15 cm long. Cut off any excess.
Blast chill and then cook for 12 minutes with weights (dry chickpeas are fine too) and 5 without at 175°C. Cool and fill.
Lemon pastry cream
110 g. lemon juice
110 g. eggs
110 g. butter, cubed
90 g. caster sugar
13 g. lemon zest
Combine eggs, sugar, lemon juice and zest in a saucepan. Mix well to fully break the eggs. Bring to the stove at low heat. Stir constantly until the cream reaches approximately 65°C, at which time it will start to thicken. Remove from the heat and add a little butter at a time until everything is well incorporated. Blend with a hand mixer and strain through a thin chinois. Fill a pastry bag and pipe the filling in the crostata to the brim. Let it cool.
125 g. egg whites, filtered
250 g. caster sugar
2 g. salt
Pour the egg whites (previously left to drain in a fine mesh sieve or chinois in order to remove impurities) into a stand mixer fidded with a whisk attachment. Combine the water and sugar in a heavy bottomed or copper steel saucepan. Cook on high heat and once it reaches 110°C add the salt to the egg whites and whisk until stiff peaks form. Once the sugar has reached 118°C, remove from the heat, wait for the bubbles to subside and pour carefully into the egg whites with the whisk in motion. Continue to whip the meringue until it cools and becomes shiny and soft. Fill a pastry bag with a smooth 2.5 cm diameter spout.
Spread the meringue with a single large tuft until the whole tarte is covered and sear it with the help of a blowtorch.
Gluten-free Tourbillon by Christian Marasca
Another dark pastry kitchen, this time a spin off of the Roman restaurant Zia, a secret pastry shop with separate access, just around the corner from the restaurant. Coordinating stoves and ovens is pastry chef Christian Marasca. The offer––for takeaway and delivery––includes a choice of classic desserts with contemporary techniques and aesthetics, from single portions (such as tarte citron or babà) to breakfast delicacies (sour cherry crostata, carrot cake, etc.).
Rice flour shortcrust pastry
500 g. rice flour
250 g. butter
185 g. caster sugar
120 g. egg yolks
Weigh out all the ingredients, mix them in a stand mixer fitted with a leaf attachment at minimum speed to obtain a homogeneous mixture. Shape the dough into a loaf and refrigerate for about 2 hours.
Roll out to approximately 3 mm thickness and line a ring with it, refrigerate for an additional 30 minutes. In the meantime, preheat the static oven at 165°C.
Bake the shortcrust pastry “undressed” for about 30 minutes, once done let it cool and prepare the frangipane. Use rice flour to dust the work surface.
100 g. butter
100 g. sugar
100 g. almond powder
2 g. eggs
In a stand mixer fitted with a leaf attachment, work the butter with the sugar and the almond powder at medium speed. Once you have a homogeneous mixture, add the beaten eggs one at a time, making sure the mixture does not separate.
Dress it in the shortcrust pastry base, filling it a little less than half way, bake again at 165°C for about 30 minutes, while checking the cooking of the frangipane with the help of a toothpick. Once cooked, let it cool.
200 g. almonds
100 g. caster sugar
32 g. water
4 g. salt
Toast the almonds in the oven. In a saucepan, cook water, sugar and salt to obtain a fairly dark caramel. Add the almonds and continue cooking until the sugar is once again very fluid and the almonds completely caramelized. Leave to cool for at least 4-5 hours.
Blend the praline in a cutter adding grapeseed oil (or seed oil if necessary) to make it more fluid.
To be used as the filling for the base of the now cold tourbillon.
Mascarpone Chantilly cream
1000 g. heavy cream
200 g. mascarpone
60 g. confectioner’s sugar
1 vanilla pod
Score and scrape the vanilla pod. Assemble all the ingredients and whisk to obtain a shiny chantilly cream, use it to finish the tourbillon with the help of a pastry bag.
by Antonella De Santis