PASTA FROLLA ALLE MANDORLE
SWEET DOUGH W/ALMONDS
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup ground blanched almonds
1/4 cup sugar
1 pinch salt
5 tablespoon cold unsalted butter
FOR THE STRAWBERRIES:
3 pint ripe strawberries
2 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup strawberry jam
1 confectioners' sugar for finishing
Use a sharp knife to cut the crostata to keep the berries from toppling and lessening the elegant symmetry of the dessert.
FOR THE PASTA FROLLA: Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Rub in the butter until it is absorbed. Make sure the mixture remains cool and powdery and does not become pasty. Beat the egg and stir in with a fork. Continue stirring until the dough holds together, then knead it smooth, briefly. Shape into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour, or until firm.
FOR THE STRAWBERRIES: Rinse and hull berries. Choose the best ones to border the tart (draw a 9-inch circle on wax paper and arrange berries inside to see how many you need). Slice remaining berries into a bowl; add sugar and lemon juice. Toss to combine and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the sliced and whole berries until ready to assemble the crostata. Preheat oven to 350F and set a rack in the middle level. To form tart base, roll three-quarters of the dough on a floured surface to a 9-inch disk. Transfer to a cookie sheet lined with parchment or buttered wax paper. Place a 9-inch disk, like a spring- form bottom, on dough and trim to a 9-inch diameter. Pierce the dough all over with a fork at 1/2-inch intervals. Combine the scraps with the remaining dough and roll it into a thin cylinder, about 30-inches long. Moisten the edge of the base with water and arrange the cylinder of dough on it, to form sides on the tart shell. Press the cylinder with fingertip to make it adhere and mark a series of diagonal lines on it with the back of a small knife. Bake about 25 minutes, until the dough is an even golden color and feels firm when pressed with fingertip. Cool the tart shell on a rack on the pan. Place cooled shell on a platter. Spread bottom evenly with jam. Arrange a row of the whole strawberries inside the edge. Drain sliced berries well; pile in center. Dust with sugar.
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