Tag Archives: spinach

Torta Rustica – A Savory Italian Pastry

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Torta RusticaThis Torta Rustica is a savory Italian pastry which I am assuming means Rustic Tart.  Its memorable crust holds a filling of spinach with cheese, eggs, onions and bread crumbs to bind it.  It is layered with red peppers, artichokes and provolone.  It is hard to go wrong with these ingredients.  The one caveat here is to thaw the spinach completely and squeeze all the water from it.  It is important it is dry when combined with the other ingredients.

We would squeeze 30 pounds of spinach to make 12 Torta Rustica at a time.  No matter how long we thawed the spinach it would be freezing cold when we squeezed it.  We would keep a bowl of warm water next to us to dip our hands into to  warm them as we prepared the spinach. Continue reading

A French Pastry Crust with a Salmon Tart

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Finished TartPate Brisee a l’Oeuf pastry crust is known as one of the, if not the, finest pastry crusts to be found.  Made with all butter and, if made correctly, it will be flaky and crisp yet tender.  The word pate means pie and a l’oeuf means with egg.

The use of the food processor almost guarantees a perfect pastry crust.  The key is not to over mix or it won’t be flaky – tasty, but not flaky.   The butter must be very, very cold.  Put it in the freezer after cutting if desired.  It is important to keep the pieces of butter in pea size chunks when processing with the flours.  While speaking of flours, I have used both all purpose and cake flour to make pastry flour which has a lower gluten or protein count.  This will make a more tender pastry crust.  A two to one ratio of all purpose to cake flour is what we used at the bakery for our pastry flour as we lacked the room to store another canister of flour and we didn’t use it that often. Continue reading