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Pasticciotto

Difficulty: easy

Method: 30'

Cooking: 30'

Rest: 60'

Difficulty: easy

Method: 30'

Cooking: 30'

Rest: 60'

Difficulty: easy

Method: 30'

Cooking: 30'

Rest: 60'

Difficulty: easy

Method: 30'

Cooking: 30'

Rest: 60'

In my house, pasticciotto (a traditional custard pastry) has always been eaten warm. Except when it is eaten hot, because waiting more than two minutes after it comes out of the oven is truly difficult. My grandmother used to scold us all, starting with my grandfather, who was always the first to descend upon the tray! I spent a lot of time with them in Puglia.

This was more or less how it worked: As soon as my grandmother took the tray out of the oven, we would run into the kitchen and she would tell us that this was the last batch of pasticciotti she would ever make, that it was too hot, and that the following Sunday we would have to make do with ordering them from a bakery. Partly to tease her and partly because we feared it might be true, we would call the local bakeries (or rather, our grandfather would call) on Fridays. But as soon as the call started, my grandmother would tell him to hang up, saying that x bakery’s weren’t as good as hers. Indeed, she would say this about all the bakeries in turn. And so no pasticciotto other than her own has ever crossed the threshold of my grandmother’s house.

Saturdays began with making a large quantity of custard, which had to reach the perfect consistency before going into the oven: not too liquid because it would wet the pastry too much, not too solid because it would come out dry.

When my grandmother got up on Sunday morning (she always got up before dawn), she would prepare the pastry, let it rest for at least one hour in the refrigerator, and then, using the pastry cutter she inherited from her mother, cut out the circles for the pasticciotti. Rarely did I see this process, because Sunday at dawn was her favourite time, but I will never forget waking up to the scent of pasticciotti baking in the oven! I would rush to the kitchen, my grandmother would prepare the milk, and from there I would count down the seconds until biting into my pasticciotto!

Method

  1. 01 /

    Prepare the shortcrust pastry: combine flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a bowl and mix. Add softened butter in small pieces and work everything quickly with your fingertips. Once the mixture is sandy, create a well in the centre and add egg yolks.

  2. 02 /

    Knead until pastry dough is soft and not sticky. Wrap in cling film and put in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

  3. 03 /

    Prepare the custard: boil milk with the whole vanilla bean pod and leave to infuse for a few minutes. In a bowl, combine sugar and cornflour, adding beaten egg yolks and then, little by little, the hot milk, stirring constantly. Pour mixture into a saucepan and put on low heat. Bring to a boil while continuing to stir, allowing it to thicken without sticking to the bottom of the saucepan.

  4. 04 /

    Remove shortcrust pastry from refrigerator and roll out to a maximum thickness of 4 mm. Cut discs from pastry, line moulds with them, and fill with custard. Cut smaller pastry discs to cover custard-filled moulds. Brush surface of pasticciotti with beaten egg yolk and bake in the oven at 200 °C for 25 minutes. Enjoy while warm.

The original recipe calls for lard instead of butter, in the same quantity.

Enjoy pasticciotti warm or even hot to fully appreciate the flavour of the custard.

Ingredients for 10 people

For the shortcrust pastry

250 g tipo 00 flour

125 g butter

125 g sugar

2 egg yolks

1 tsp baking powder

A pinch of salt

For the custard

½ L milk

125 g sugar

4 egg yolks

50 g cornflour

1 vanilla bean pod (or a bit of lemon zest)

For brushing

1 egg yolk

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