Cakes, Pies & Tarts, Dessert

Chocolate Crostata with Chestnut Jam

Nicoletta March 4, 2017

Chocolate Crostata with Chestnut Jam, a celebration of delightful flavors and textures that like spring awakens our senses to the beauty of life. A blend of cocoa and chestnut jam finished with a sprinkle of icing sugar that makes this dessert most luxurious.

Chocolate Crostata with Chestnut Jam

February has gone in the blink of an eye, and here we are in March, the awakening month, where Nature wakes up and revive our senses. Colors are starting to form and underneath the blanket of snow the seeds of imagination begin to rumble. The morning breeze brings with it the scents that spring is upon us.

 

 

Or at least that’s what it seemed like until this morning. We woke up to a fresh blanket of snow covering our backyard and flurries twirling in the north wind. It seemed surreal, after a day like yesterday when I walked to yoga, the day sunny, the air fresh and smelled like spring. I still can’t get used to this ever-changing Alberta weather, the real possibility of snow even in May, June, or July, puzzles me, frustrates me, and yes, I say it, irritates me. I really would need a slice of this Chocolate Crostata with Chestnut Jam to cheer me up and lift the frown into a smile. But the cake has gone, unfortunately. Few are the things I bake that lasts more than a couple days. Definitely a boost of confidence for me, always in need of reassurance.

Lingering on the memory of this wonderful Chocolate Crostata, let’s delve in what the past week has been: definitely busy, with recipe development, photography sessions, baking, and cooking. Plus some social events, a couple dinners with friends, and my usual yoga and jazzercise classes. There were the on-schedule morning phone calls with my parents, including a couple of Skype calls. It is entertaining to witness my parents and technology (many are the times I can’t see them but they can see me, or vice-versa), but it touches my heart to see them in that so familiar kitchen, flooded with sunlight, with big smiles on their faces at the moment they see me. On our last Skype call, my father showed me and Loreto (because it’s early morning in Canada and Loreto is still at home) what my mother had baked that afternoon: a crostata with one of his latest jam creation, a banana and apple jam.  My father is the “jam guru”, he is amazing and makes jams out of every fruit he can get his hands on. It happened that I had baked this Chocolate Crostata with Chestnut Jam the day before and so Loreto showed it to them. After hearing my mother say “oh, nice one!”, my dad’s first words were “where did you get the chestnut jam”?? “Errr…. in the store, dad…” was my answer, and he went on saying that he still had 3 jars from the last batch of Fall chestnut jam “production” and I could have used one, but anyway, he was going to keep one for this summer so I can bake this Chocolate Crostata for them. I would have loved to use his homemade chestnut jam, it would have only cost me an arm and a leg to fly there and get it 😉 . I’ll make a crostata for them when we go this summer. Nothing would make me happier!

Chocolate Crostata with Chestnut JamChocolate Crostata with Chestnut Jam

It is not unusual that me and my mother both baked a crostata. Crostata was and still is our go-to dessert for many occasions. We’ve made it so many times, with so many different kinds of jams, with lemon cream and fruit, with Nutella, with butter or oil in the dough, and with cocoa like this Chocolate Crostata. Although lately, I have seen on the web a galette being called crostata (and I made one myself that I called Rustic Crostata), the typical Italian Crostata (if it’s not the one with cream and fruit on top) has a lattice top and is baked in a -usually- round pan with corrugated edges. Like the one I’ve used here.

I don’t know what it is about making dough, either for bread, pasta, pizza, or tarts and pies. I love working the dough, from the doughs that need a vigorous working, to doughs that need that gentle touch. That feeling in my hand of a blend of ingredients that form into a smooth, and velvety consistency. I know it in my stomach when it’s just right, call it women’s intuition or genes passed down from generation to generation.

Chocolate Crostata with Chestnut Jam

In a crostata, what I like is also making that lattice top, which is a form of expressing my inner artist. Precision -more or less- of cutting those pieces so they are uniform and then intricately placing them on top to give you that beautiful pattern and allow you to be intrigued by the chestnut jam peeking through the window-like boxes.

Chocolate Crostata with Chestnut Jam

This Chocolate Crostata with Chestnut Jam is a delight to the palate. From the tender, flaky, chocolaty crust that crumbles then melts in your mouth, to the sweet nutty velvetiness of the chestnut jam that just flows on your tongue. The combination of the two captured in your mouth in a blissful duality of texture and taste.

Song of the day: “Time after Time”, Cindy Lauper.

Chocolate Crostata with Chestnut Jam

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Serving Size: 8-10 servings

Chocolate Crostata with Chestnut Jam

The recipe of the cacao dough is from the Italian Pastry Chef Luca Montersino.

Ingredients

  • 235 g all purpose flour (or 00, that is what we used)
  • 15 g unsweetened cocoa
  • 150 g unsalted butter, cold, cubed
  • 100 g icing (confectioner's) sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • icing sugar for topping (optional)

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a standing mixer, add the sifted flour and cocoa, the icing sugar, the salt, then add the cubed butter and mix on low speed until the mixture looks sandy.
  2. Slowly add the vanilla and the egg yolks and continue to mix on low speed just until the mixture is smooth and homogeneous. Do not overwork.
  3. Take out of the bowl, and on a floured surface, shape it into a flat square. Wrap it in plastic and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Pre heat the oven to 340° F (170° C) and butter the tart pan.
  5. Take the dough out of the fridge. On a floured surface take 3/4 of the pastry dough and roll it with a rolling pin to a height of about 4 mm. You will need the rest of the dough for the lattice top.
  6. Wrap the pastry dough on the rolling pin and unroll it over the tart pan.
  7. Using your fingers work the dough gently into the bottom and edges, then passing the rolling pin over the top edge of the pan, removing the excess dough.
  8. Prick the bottom lightly with a fork, and place back in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.
  9. Then spread the chestnut jam on top.
  10. Roll out the remaining dough and form the strips (about 1 cm wide) using a ravioli wheel. Put the strips down forming a lattice top.
  11. Press the edges with the tines of a fork.
  12. Bake for about 40 minutes in the pre heated oven.
  13. Take out of oven, let cool on a rack.
  14. Sprinkle some icing sugar on top and serve.

Notes

The total time includes the resting time for the dough in the fridge.

Chocolate Crostata with Chestnut Jam

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17 Comments

  • Reply Milena | craftbeering.com March 4, 2017 at 9:51 am

    Wow Nicoletta, no wonder everything you bake is gone fast! This crostata looks fabulous – great eye candy to start the weekend with. I am so intrigued by the chestnut jam you use in combination with a cacao dough. Will look for some today. Your family sound lovely. Nothing like good food to enrich family experiences! Thank you for sharing this beautiful part of your life.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta March 4, 2017 at 10:00 am

      You’re so sweet, Milena, thank you! This crostata was a really good one, gone in the blink of an eye. But I love baking, so there will be more soon! 🙂 Hope you get the chance to try it.

  • Reply Loretta Friedrich March 4, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    I know I would love this, too. 🙂 Can only imagine how the taste would be outstanding using your dad’s chestnut jam. Is this the same type of crust as the dessert from last night?

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta March 4, 2017 at 1:44 pm

      Thank you Loretta! My dad’s jams are so good, can’t wait to go back and bring some to Edmonton! This crust is similar, same ingredients, different quantities. This is my go-to cocoa pastry dough based on a recipe from a famous Italian pastry chef.

  • Reply Heather Buentello March 5, 2017 at 9:25 am

    So pretty! I need to bake more and this is just the motivation I need.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta March 5, 2017 at 10:22 am

      Thank you Heather, I find baking so relaxing and satisfying 🙂 . Glad I gave you the motivation with this Crostata; it’s not hard to make and so good!

  • Reply Beyond the Chicken Coop March 6, 2017 at 5:39 am

    Absolutely beautiful! I’ve never had a chestnut jam before and I am curious about it. I love the chocolate crust. Such a lovely presentation!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta March 6, 2017 at 7:25 am

      Hi Kathy, thank you! If you like chestnuts, it is a wonderful jam, nutty and a bit chocolaty, very smooth, and pairs beautifully with the chocolate crust.

  • Reply chef mimi March 6, 2017 at 7:13 am

    This is so beautiful! You’re very talented. I have chestnut cream – is that the same as jam?

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta March 6, 2017 at 7:23 am

      Chef Mimi, thank you so much! I am not sure, maybe they are, and are just called cream, or spread, or jam by different brands. It is smooth and creamy but not too sweet. The brand we used was Bonne Maman. Hope you try it, would love to hear how you make out.

      • Reply chef mimi March 6, 2017 at 7:30 am

        That is definitely a brand of jam, so I’ll search for it. It must be different – thicker – than my chestnut cream. Thanks.

  • Reply annie@ciaochowbambina March 6, 2017 at 12:24 pm

    Oh goodness…I’d say your papa’s homemade chestnut jam just might be worth that travel expense! How wonderful that you’ll be able to make this tart using his jam this summer! In Italy no less!!!! Beautiful tart and beautiful post!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta March 6, 2017 at 4:00 pm

      It is Annie, plus I would get to see them! 😉 . This summer we’re going to be there and I cannot wait! 🙂 Thank you!

  • Reply Elaine @ Dishes Delish March 20, 2017 at 11:36 am

    This crostata looks so yummy! I never would have thought to use chestnut jam with it. In fact, I’ve never heard of chestnut jam. 😉 This really looks fabulous!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta March 21, 2017 at 12:40 pm

      Thank you Elaine, it is delicious! In Europe chestnut jam is really popular, but I have bought it here in Canada as well, sometimes called chestnut jam, or cream, or spread.

  • Reply julia (@imagelicious) March 22, 2017 at 9:06 am

    This crostata looks so good! Just perfect with a cup of coffee! I actually have never had chestnut jam. Do you think it could be made with some kind of other jam? Maybe apricot or orange marmalade?

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta March 22, 2017 at 9:21 am

      Thank you, Julia, it is really really good. The crust is so buttery, crumbly and chocolaty. And it just goes perfect with the filling (in Italy chocolate crostata and chestnut jam is the perfect combo). But I’m sure it is good with any other kind of jam, apricot would work great delivering some kind of Sacher torte flavor, or I’m thinking cherry jam, for a black forest kind of experience.

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