This is adapted from The Pie& Pastry Bible/Rose Levy, an excellent book if you are wanting to grow in your pie & pastry skills. A crostata is basically an Italian pie and if you are new to pie making try making a crostata first since a crostata is much easier to form than a traditional American pie. The only adaption I made was to add some grated Orange Zest to the Cranberry & Walnut mixture which is something you find in many Italian pastries. I am so glad I did because it made this crostata reminiscent of an Italian fruit cake!
Cranberry Walnut Filling
1 1/2 C walnuts, toasted (about 6 oz)
1 C heavy cream
1/4 C sugar
1 C dried cranberries
1/4 t cinnamon
zest of 1 large or 2 small oranges
1/2 C walnuts, toasted (about 2 oz)
1 C flour
1 T + 1 t sugar, divided
1/4 t salt
2 oz. (4 T) cold butter, cut into pieces
1 egg yolk
3 T ice water
1/2 t water
slight pinch of salt
DirectionsFor the filling, coarsely chop 1 1/2 cups of walnuts.
Bring cream & sugar just to a boil over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Lower heat and simmer for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally until the mixture becomes slightly thickened. Remove pan from heat and add dried cranberries, walnuts, orange zest, and cinnamon and combine thoroughly.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. It can be chilled up to 24 hours.
For the pastry, subtract 2 tablespoons of walnuts from the 1/2 cup. Chop the 2 tablespoons into small pieces, combine with 1 tablespoon of sugar and set aside as a garnish to sprinkle on top of the formed pastry before baking.
Place the flour, 1 teaspoon of sugar, salt and remaining walnuts in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the nuts are finely ground into the flour mixture. Add the cold butter pieces and pulse until the texture is like coarse meal with a few larger pieces of butter. Whisk together egg yolk & ice water. Add to dough mixture and pulse until dough begins to come together in clumps and there are no dry flour patches.
Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic, bring it all together and form into a disc. Wrap tightly and chill for 30 minutes or until firm enough to roll.
When ready to assemble the crostata, unwrap & place the dough onto a piece of parchment paper lightly dusted with flour and place another piece of parchment on top.
Roll into a 14" circle, Remove top parchment and place the dough and the bottom parchment paper onto a baking sheet or pizza pan.
Spread the chilled filling on the dough and fold the dough over the filling. You want a good 4 inches open in the middle.
Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes or until your oven is ready.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
For the egg wash, combine the egg, water and salt. Brush the top of the pastry lightly with egg wash and sprinkle with the 2 tablespoons of chopped walnuts and sugar.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Cool for at least 15 minutes on a wire rack