This simple dish will only be found in Puglia, Southern Italy and can be adapted to suit many occasions. Traditionally you might have seen it baked in the early hours of the morning to be enjoyed for breakfast while still warm. On the other hand you will also find it served at the end of the meal as a sweet. Either way we love it, you can put whatever you like with it whether it be gelato, jam, cream or just enjoy it on its own. The best thing is it is simple to make so you can have it anytime.
This recipe will make about 12 3inch tarts.
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour.
1/2 cup granulated sugar.
3/4 teaspoon baking powder.
1/8 teaspoon salt.
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening.
1/4 cup milk.
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract.
1 large egg, well beaten.
3 tablespoons cornstarch.
2/3 cup granulated sugar.
1 1/2 cups milk.
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter.
1 large egg yolk, slightly beaten.
1 teaspoon almond or orange extract.
1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons milk, for just before baking.
Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl.
Cut in the shortening with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.
Add the milk, vanilla, and egg and use your hands to mix the ingredients into a smooth ball of dough.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and set aside.
In a medium saucepan, whisk together the cornstarch and sugar, making sure there are no lumps. Gradually whisk in the milk.
Add the butter, place the saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until thickened.
Remove from the heat and stir in the egg yolk and almond extract.
Set the custard aside.
Divide the dough in half.
On a lightly floured surface, roll one piece into an 11-inch circle, about 1/4-inch thick.
Using a biscuit cutter, cut out circles of dough and press each one into the bottom and up the sides of 3 x 1 1/4-inch tart pans.
Re-roll the scraps and cut out additional circles.
You should have about 12 tart shells.
Place the tart pans on a cookie sheet.
Spoon about 2 tablespoons of filling into each tart shell.
Roll out the second piece of dough and cut out 3-inch circles.
Place a circle over each tart and pinch the edges closed.
With a pastry brush, paint the top of each tart with the egg wash.
Refrigerate the tarts for 30 minutes.
Bake the tarts on the middle oven rack for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. Remove the tarts to racks and let cool completely.
Preheat oven to 220°.
Carefully remove the tarts from the pans. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
You can enjoy these Pasticciotto any time of the day with a crisp glass of D'Arapri Brut Rose or just your favorite person...