Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Marsala Fig and Pear Crostata with Steusel Topping

   I rarely see my little brother, but he actually came to dinner last week so I felt I needed to make a dessert.  I had no idea what I was going to make.  There were quite a few dried figs in the pantry from the fig and chipotle stuffed pork.  A tart was the first thing that come to mind.  When I looked at the counter there were a couple of bartlett pears (which are just coming into season!)  Perfect, fig and pear tart (ok, free form tart- called a crostata).... But, crap.  I had never made pie dough on my own.  I picked up the trusty, old Better Homes and Garden Cookbook and looked up a basic recipe.  Then, following my standard fashion, I changed the recipe and just hoped that it turned out well.

   And it did.

1 1/4 C all-purpose flour
1/4 C finely chopped walnuts
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 C cold butter, diced
3-4 Tbsp ice water

Combine flour, nuts, sugar, and salt.  Add diced butter.  Using a fork or pastry cutter, cut butter into flour mixture until it resembles wet sand.  Add ice water (just the water, not the ice) 1 Tbsp at a time until dough just starts to come together. On a lightly floured surface, quickly knead dough (less than 1 minute.)  Wrap in plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 min. (up to 2 days).
*You can use store bought pie dough.

1/2 C chopped walnuts
1/3 C brown sugar
1/3 C rolled or quick oats
2 Tbsp melted butter

Combine all ingredients.

Marsala Fig and Pear Crostata
1/4 C water
1/3 C Marsala wine (if you don't do alcohol, use sugar-free cranberry or orange juice)
1 1/4 C sliced dried figs (about 12 whole)
1 tsp vanilla
2 pears, thinly sliced
1 pastry dough recipe
1 streusel recipe
1 egg

Bring water and marsala wine to a boil.  Add figs, simmer for 3-5 min.  Turn off heat, add vanilla.  Let figs absorb the liquid.  Roll out pastry/pie dough into a roughly 10 in. circle.  Arrange sliced pears in center, leaving a 1.5 in border all the way around (they will over lap and there will be two layers).  Place figs on top of pears.  Top figs with streusel.  Fold edges of dough up over the edges of the fruit, overlapping and pinching dough to seal it.  Beat egg and brush over the border created by the dough. (Sprinkle with sugar if desired.)

Bake at 350 deg F for 35-40 minutes, until dough is golden brown.  Serves 8.

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