A while back, I went through a crostada phase. I kept baking them but didn't share them here because I wasn't happy with them. They all tasted good but they weren't quite what I wanted them to be.
You've probably been seeing them everywhere. Some people liken them to pies but I feel they're quite different. Rich pastry holds a filling sort of like a pie, but the presentation and ingredients aren't quite the same. They can be savory or sweet. I'm itching for summer to come so I can try them with fruit! Yum!
|An earlier, less lovely attempt.|
So today I'm finally sharing one. This is a pretty basic mushroom crostada. The nice thing about them is that you can use almost anything you have in the fridge. My earlier attempts involved a lot of greens, but today I focused on mushrooms and cheese.
I looked around at various pastry recipes and loved the fact that Giada used Parmesan in her pastry! What a great idea for a savory crostada. I switched a few things up, though. While mascarpone might be a staple in Avery's fridge, it's not in mine, so I used much more mundane cream cheese. It worked great. It was a beautiful and highly cooperative (always important) pastry to work with. I'll definitely be using it again in the future. Plus, it took minutes to prepare in the food processor. Seriously. You could have the door bell and two phones ringing simultaneously, with someone demanding your immediate attention and still make this pastry like a pro. It came together quickly and perfectly. Even better, you can make it the day before and leave it in the fridge overnight.
When you're pulsing it, don't despair. It will come together in the most amazingly smooth ball of pastry! The first couple of times I made a crostada, I was so focused on filling the pastry that I filled it where I rolled it out. Duh. Big tip! Move the pastry dough to the parchment paper on the baking sheet before filling it. While it can be moved later, it's very, very tricky unless you have more hands than I do.
Cook the mushrooms with whatever seasonings your family happens to love. It would be fabulous with some crumbled bacon or chopped ham. I used semi-fat mozzarella. My favorite quick and easy method of slicing cheeses for dishes like this is a vegetable peeler. I get lovely thin slices fast!
2 cups flour
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup (4 ounces) cold cream cheese
1 stick (4 ounces) cold butter, cut into 8-12 pieces (I used salted butter and it worked fine.)
pinch Kosher salt
2 cold eggs
Use a food processor with a pastry blade. Put everything except the eggs in the food processor. Pulse, pulse, pulse until well mixed. Add two cold eggs and pulse until it forms a smooth ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate pastry dough for one hour or overnight.
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large shallots
1/2 teaspoon thyme
2 cloves garlic
16 ounces white or cremini mushrooms
Heat the olive oil in a saute pan. Chop the shallots and the garlic. Slice the mushrooms. Toss the shallots in the pan with the thyme. After two minutes, add the garlic and the mushrooms. Cook until just soft. Salt and pepper to taste.
about 2 ounces mozzarella cheese
2-3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
1 egg, lightly beaten
Preheat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll out the dough in a large circle. It will be about 15-16 inches in diameter. Move the pastry to the parchment paper now. Pour off any excess liquid in the mushroom pan. (Save to season soup or sauce!) Mound the mushrooms in the middle of the dough. Spread them out a little bit, leaving 3 inches of dough around the edge to fold. Sprinkle the mozzarella over the mushrooms. Fold the dough by bringing up the edge, turning the baking sheet, and folding another portion of the dough. Continue until all the dough has been folded up over the mushrooms. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the opening in the middle. Brush with the beaten egg for a lovely golden shine when baked. Bake 30 to 35 minutes.
|Makes a lovely smooth pastry dough.|
|Roll out the dough.|
|Fold the dough over the mushroom filling.|
|Brush with beaten egg.|