This week on my blog I’m very excited to share Emma Caperelli Loerky’s recipe for Honey Fig Gorgonzola & Prosciutto Crostata. I’m a big believer that any dish is better when you add some prosciutto. Throw in some figs and gorgonzola too? Fuggetaboudit!!!!! I’m also a huge junkie for Easter Ham Pie, and this dish could be the perfect mid-year counterpart. So when I got Emma’s e-mail with this recipe and photos, I knew this one would be a big hit…and my teasers on Facebook proved just that. Thanks again, Emma, for sharing yet another one of your amazing recipes!
Honey Fig Gorgonzola & Prosciutto Crostata
By Emma Caperelli Loerky
A few months ago, when fresh figs were just popping up in the markets out here in San Diego, I bought some not knowing what exactly I was going to make with them. After doing some internet research, I came across this recipe: http://www.whatsforlunchhoney.net/2010/09/honey-figs-gorgonzola-and-prosciutto.html. Next thing you know, I’m making a crostata. I followed the recipe almost exactly for the filling, but, because I was worried about converting the measurements from grams to cups, I used a recipe from Smitten Kitchen for the pastry shell – which was so flaky and buttery that it reminded me of a puff pastry. I don’t know if it was the fancy pastry flour that i subbed for the all-purpose flour, freezing the butter and flour for 30 minutes before assembling the dough, or the addition of sour cream to the recipe (maybe it was a combination of all three?), but this crust was perfect in every way!
Fast forward to the present. I’m in the market shopping for ingredients to make lunch for a friend who is visiting me with her new, beautiful baby girl and once again there are those figs. So, guess what is on the menu? You guessed it. And the nice thing about this recipe is that it can be eaten right out of the oven, warm or at room temperature. And it reheats well, too. I even assembled it the morning of, loosely wrapped it with plastic wrap and placed the unbaked crostata in the fridge for about 2 hours until just before I was ready to bake it.
If you aren’t a fan of bleu cheese, I’m sure goat cheese would work well or even ricotta. However, if you do use ricotta cheese, I would be sure to strain it through a cheesecloth for at least and hour, as the extra moisture in it could make this delicate crust soggy.
One last thing, it’s difficult to say exactly how many figs you’ll need for this recipe. The original recipe says 5 – 6 figs depending on their size, but you can add as many or as little as you like. I’ve made this recipe twice, both times I used different figs and it turned out well each time. The first time I used Brown Turkey figs, which are large so I only needed about 6 figs. This time I used Black Mission figs, which are smaller than the Brown Turkey variety, so I needed a few more than the last time.
For the pastry (Recipe for Smitten Kitchen):
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, chilled in the freezer for 30 minutes
(I used King Arthur Flour’s Unbleached Pastry Flour with terrific results)
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces and chilled in the freezer for 30 minutes
1/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup ice water
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon water
For the filling (Recipe from What’s For Lunch, Honey?):
About 1 to 1 1/2 cups Gorgonzola (or to taste)
5 – 6 figs (or more depending on your taste and the type/size fig you use), cut into quarters or eighths (one again, depending on their size)
2-3 tablespoons mild honey (I found 2 tablespoons to be plenty)
A few sprigs of fresh thyme, removed from the stem.
About 4 ounces Prosciutto (I didn’t want the Prosciutto to be too overwhelming, so I used about 2 slices, and I used scissors to cut it into slivers).
Whisk together the flour and salt in a large bowl. Sprinkle bits of butter over dough. Using a pastry blender, cut it in until the mixture resembles coarse meal, with the biggest pieces of butter the size of tiny peas. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice and water and add this to the butter-flour mixture. With your fingertips or a wooden spoon, mix in the liquid until large lumps form. Pat the lumps into a ball; do not overwork the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour, or you can refrigerate the dough overnight (as I did). If you do make the dough ahead of time, be sure to allow the dough to sit out at room temperature for a few minutes before you roll it out.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a well-floured work surface, roll the dough out into a 12-inch round. Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet (or, as Smitten Kitchen recommends, use parchment paper. It makes it much easier to move the crostata from the baking sheet onto a plate after baking). Sprinkle the Gorgonzola evenly onto the bottom of the dough, leaving a 2 inch border. Place the figs on top of the cheese. Drizzle with the honey and sprinkle with the fresh thyme leaves. Fold the edges over the filling and pleat it as you go along to allow the dough to fit, and creating a crust for the crostata. Brush the crust with the egg yolk mixture.
Bake the crostata until it is golden brown, about 25 – 30 minutes. Please note: The original recipe for the pastry says 30 – 40 minutes, but in my oven it was done after approximately 30 minutes. I recommend you watch the dough carefully after the first 20 minutes. When finished baking, sprinkle the crostata with the Prosciutto, and let it sit for 5 minutes before transferring to a plate. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.