As promised, this is going to be a post all dedicated to the magic crostata.
If you have any connection to Italian food culture, you should know what it is. If you are Greek-ish, pasta flora is most probably the right word to describe this gorgeous cake.
If you come from anywhere else: traditional Italian baked tart, usually filled with jam or ricotta (or chocolate spread if you are cheeky).
my grandma's crostata w plum jam... most probably my favourite cake
My grandma has always made crostata… ever since I can remember, every time I’d go and spend time at my nonna’s in Narni, Umbria (central Italy for those who don’t know Italian geography well), there’d be a jam pie in the kitchen.
Plum, cherry, apricot, quince…. Always delicious, never with store bought jam…
piazza garibaldi- narni (umbria ITA)
When my grandpa was still with us, my grandma would pick the cherries my nonno was growing in their small orto (vegetable/ fruit garden) and would make jam. For the last 20 odd years, since my grandpa passed away, she has been buying fruits from her local grocery store in the centre of Narni, owned and run by a friend of hers. She only ever buys the best fruits to make the perfect jam. And man can you tell the difference! Because of this, I never ever buy jam from the store. Even if it’s gourmet, organic, small batch, whatever, not quite the same!
I love watching my grandma make crostata… primarily because I get to steal bits of raw dough (habit I’ve inherited from my dad).
so much love
She looks so natural at it, as if she’s been doing that for a living (she was a primary school teacher).
I’d ask her a hundred time, what’s the recipe, nonna? (not for me to make it, I’d translate it and give it to Panos to do it for me). Oh you know, a bit of this, a pinch of that… no real measurement, cooking is a feeling.
nonna's kitchen- some things don't change
A full pie never lasts for more than two days if I am around: a slice for breakfast with my caffe latte, one around 10 with another coffee, one after lunch, usually one around 4pm just because I can’t keep my hands off it.
For some reason, my brother has always preferred the crostata from Bonaccini bakery. I am not saying it isn’t good, it’s most probably one of the nicest you can buy in a panetteria. Always perfectly shaped, always exactly the same flavour.
pink crostata w ricotta + alchermes (the only one I buy from the local bakery- sorry nonna!)
But that’s not what I am looking for when I eat crostata. I am looking for passion, love, spontaneity. A connection with nonna Germana, which I can find in her pie’s imperfect shape and rustic crust.
Maybe she will visit Kanenas one day and will amaze us all once again.
nonna and I at a local taverna in Narni - loads of good food + too much wine
So, what about you? What dish / drink / cake / smell triggers childhood memories?
** ADVERT we have crostata today at kanenas, but be quick because it won't last long**
Next post: I am open to suggestions :)