Chef's Recipes

Icebergs' caramelised Marsala pear crostata

It's not a strictly traditional recipe, but pastry chef Jaclyn Koludrovic's crostata will still have you coming back for seconds.

By Jaclyn Koludrovic
  • 40 mins preparation
  • 1 hr cooking plus cooling, chilling, resting
  • Serves 8 - 10
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"I remember eating crostata for breakfast when I was travelling through Italy. It felt like a rebellious, but right, thing to do," says Koludrovic. "Now, for me, it's the perfect finish to a lazy Sunday lunch. The filling here isn't traditional, but the base of caramelised pears with Marsala, the great Sicilian fortified wine, is delicious. Serve warm with lashings of whipped cream."

Ingredients

  • 200 gm (1⅓ cups) plain flour, sifted
  • 75 gm hazelnut meal
  • 75 gm (⅓ cup) caster sugar
  • 125 gm chilled butter, diced
  • 1 large egg
  • Roasted hazelnuts, to serve
  • Whipped cream (optional), to serve
Marsala pears
  • 3 pears, such as Josephine or William, trimmed, cut into 8 wedges and cored
  • 100 gm caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 70 ml Marsala
  • Juice of 1⁄2 lemon
Hazelnut filling
  • 125 gm butter, softened
  • Finely grated rind of 1⁄2 orange
  • Scraped seeds of 1⁄2 vanilla bean
  • 125 gm hazelnut meal
  • 125 gm pure icing sugar, sifted, plus extra to serve
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 25 ml Marsala
  • 30 gm plain flour

Method

  • 1
    Pulse flour, hazelnut meal, sugar and a pinch of salt in a food processor to just combine. Add butter and process until coarse crumbs just form. Add egg and 1 tbsp water, and bring dough together loosely. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to rest.
  • 2
    For Marsala pears, toss pears and sugar in a bowl. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat, add olive oil and pears and toss occasionally until pears are deep golden (20-25 minutes). Add Marsala and cook until caramelised (5 minutes). Add lemon juice and cook for a further minute, then remove from heat. Cool pears in caramel.
  • 3
    For hazelnut filling, beat butter, rind and vanilla in an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until creamy (2-3 minutes). Mix hazelnut meal, icing sugar and ¼ tsp salt in a bowl with your fingers, then add to butter mixture and beat until just incorporated. Add eggs one at a time, beating to incorporate between additions (be careful not to over-cream the filling or it will collapse). Add Marsala, fold in flour and transfer to a piping bag with a 3cm plain nozzle.
  • 4
    Preheat oven to 180°C and line an oven tray with baking paper. Roll dough between sheets of baking paper to 5mm thick and freeze to firm (30 minutes). Remove paper from pastry and use it to line a 24cm-diameter shallow metal tart ring placed on prepared tray. As dough comes back to room temperature, trim to a 30cm-diameter round and ease into tart ring, pressing firmly into sides (if you don't have a tart ring, make a free-form tart).
  • 5
    Arrange pears in an even layer over pastry base. Pipe hazelnut mixture on top to a few millimetres below top of pastry. Pinch sides of pastry up and over filling, then bake until golden brown and filling is puffed and beginning to set (18-20 minutes). Reduce oven to 160°C and bake until tart is firm to the touch and pastry is deep golden (12-15 minutes).
  • 6
    Carefully remove ring while crostata is still warm, then cool completely. Dust with icing sugar and scatter with hazelnuts to serve. Crostata is best served warm and fresh, but will keep refrigerated for 3-4 days. Warm before serving.