Traveling from Home with Chef Charlie: Puglia, Italy
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How does a buttery Italian pastry, filled with a sweet almond custard sound? Well, this week we’re traveling to Puglia, Italy to bake Pasticciotti with Chef Charlie.

He describes the province of Puglia as

“…a land of sun and sea; of endless countryside scatter with over 60 million olive trees; of Baroque cities and white-washed towns; of ancient popular traditions, and the ultimate food and wine lover’s paradise!”

Sitting on the southern coast of the Salento Peninsula, surrounded by the Adriatic and Ionian Seas, and home to beautiful Baroque architecture dating back to the 17th century, we find the ancient city of Leece. It is here where the origin of the Pasticciotti comes from: a chef was trying to make a smaller cake from leftover torta ingredients when he referred to the tiny pastry as a pasticcio or “mishap or mess.”

 

Today, Pasticciotti are commonly found in bakeries, cafes, and restaurants alongside steaming cappuccinos. They have a variety of fillings including lemon, chocolate, pistachio, and ricotta.

PASTICCIOTTI RECIPE

Prep Time

1.5 hours+

Cook Time

15 minutes

Makes

12 servings

Ingredients

For the Dough
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    Sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 oz unsalted butter
  • 2 oz Crisco vegetable shortening
  • 1/4 cup milk
For the Filling
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 egg, beaten, for an egg wash

Method

For the Pastry
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. In a food processor add the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Pulse until all mixed.
  3. Add the butter and Crisco then pulse until mixture looks like crumbly cornmeal.
  4. Add egg, milk and vanilla and mix until dough starts to form a ball.
  5. Turn out dough onto a board and lightly work dough until its smooth.
  6. Divide dough into two flattened rounds, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  7. Starting with the first piece of dough, place it onto a floured board. Roll it out to ¼-inch thick.
  8. Using a 3-inch pastry cutter or glass, cut out 12 rounds.
  9. Place each round into the mold and press into mold to remove all air.
  10. Add about 2 tablespoons of the custard to each of the molds.
  11. Cover each with a 3-inch round of dough.
  12. Let chill in refrigerator for an hour or overnight.
  13. Brush tops with egg wash, then bake for 15 -18 minutes.
For the Custard
  1. Sift the cornstarch and sugar then put in a saucepan.
  2. Add the milk and heavy cream and whisk lightly until you obtain a smooth mixture.
  3. Whisk in the egg, then heat on medium until custard thickens.
  4. Mix in the butter and almond extract. Remove from heat and cover custard with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming while it cools.