Fancy of spring, sun, mild temperatures (not suffocating heat!!!), trips, summer vacations…
The Pasticciotto leccese: lu sule, lu mare, lu jentu… the Salento!
Summer holidays make me thinking about the sea, the sea immediately brings me to Salento, Maldives of Puglia.
We Apulian citizens reach easily the sea coast: we have a lot of choice, Adriatic seacoast and Ionian seacoast … from the Gargano to Santa Maria di Leuca, till the Gulf of Taranto, often sandy coasts, other rocky.
Personally, I like fine and clear sand beaches, crystalline sea, shallow water, the sunset or sun setting in the water, while I enjoy the last hours of the day.
Here, I described the Ionian coast! My holiday in Salento … Ugento and surroundings, my memories of a girl camping with my family, then with friends, then with the boyfriend, then with husband and son.
Who does not yet know this region must necessarily plan an holiday here in Puglia, there is so much more than the sea and the picturesque coastline!
And… if you travel to Salento… pasticciotto is compulsory!
The Pasticciotto leccese
The pasticciotto leccese is a typical sweet dish of the Salento area, an oval shape pastry wrap custard filled. There are many variations, with sour cherries or with chocolate cream or many creative kinds.
My favorite pasticciotto is the classics cream filled or those with cream and sour cherries. You can not go to Lecce and do not try one! Just can not!
I often prepare them. A friend of mine from Lecce, gave me a special recipe and gave me special oval molds, directly from Salento.
Certainly, each family from Lecce and each pastry shop in Lecce preserve its own recipe, its own secret that will never ever tell you.
This happens for all the typical city and regional recipes!
I’m brave and I throw myself in this concentrate of goodness … here is my recipe.
Ingredients to prepare the Shortbread dough:
500 g flour 00
250 g lard
200 g granulated sugar
150 g whole eggs (about 2 large eggs)
1 organic lemon (grated rind)
1 pinch of salt
5 g ammonia for sweets
Ingredients to prepare the Cuttard:
500 ml whole milk
4 egg yolks
180 g granulated sugar
45 g cornstarch
1 berry of vanilla
Ingredients to prepare the Dressing:
Sour cherries in syrup
How to do:
Start to prepare this particular shortbread dough, typical for pasticciotto.
In the mixer pour the lard, the salt, the sugar, the lemon grated rind, the ammonia and activate the kneader and then add the flour.
When homogeneous mass was formed, turn off the kneader, shape a flattened loaf by hands and put in the fridge for an hour, cover the dough with plastic food film.
The consistency of this shortbread dough is different from the usual one, it is less compact and requires a quick processing.
In the meantime, start to prepare the cuttard: in a saucepan pour the milk (heated), put the vanilla bean into infusion without seeds, pour seeds with the yolks in a bowl.
Add the sugar and put the egg yolks slightly, add the starch and continue to mix for a few more minutes.
As soon as the milk boiled, pour the egg whites, wait for it to boil again, quickly mix with a whisk and after 1-2 minutes the cream is ready: this is the cooking method of Luca Montersino, that I prefer.
Immediately pour it into a low and wide bowl and put it in the fridge to cool it covered with food film.
Then start to prepare the pasticciotto: took the cold shortbread dough out from fridge, took three quarters of the entire dough and spread it quickly in between of two sheets of baking paper, cut the oval and cover molds pressing with fingers to make the pastry adherent
to the walls.
Fill with cream the mold almost to the top, on the top of some pasticciotti place some sour cherries in syrup.
At this point spread the remaining pasta and cut out the ovals that must cover the pasticciotto.
With fingers press along the edges to make the pastry adherent well and give the characteristic dome shape.
Make the dough rest in the fridge for 1 hour.
After cooling, brush the surface with a beaten egg and cook in a warm oven ( 200 degrees for 15/17 minutes).
They must be getting colored, not too much.
Take them out of the oven, make them cool and then remove the pasticciotto from the molds.