With berries making their appearance at the markets, I thought it timely to share my recipe for Black and Blue Crostata. A crostata is a rustic free-form baked tart or pie widely seen in Italy. It may also be baked in a pie plate, which is what I chose to do with my crostata.
A nice change from a typical pie, this sweet crostata has a wonderfully soft cookie-like crust with a preserve-like filling. My black and blue crostata is filled with a mixture of blackberries and blueberries (get it??). The berries are first cooked with some sugar to create a tasty, ooey gooey preserve, and then added to the pastry shell and topped with a crust. Don’t be turned off by the lattice top crust – it’s surprisingly easy to create!
Recipe makes one 9-inch crostata
It seems like the trend these days in the baking world is “what’s old is new again”. From cupcakes to whoopie pies to ice cream sandwiches– anything considered old-fashioned is now making a modern comeback. Take for instance the Banana Cream Pie; for years, this classic dessert hibernated in local mom-and-pop diners. Today, it’s the most popular request I get through my bakery‘s wholesale restaurant catering business. I wasn’t sure how to go about this dessert, so I decided to do a little research of my own and spent last Monday visiting some Los Angeles eateries – like Urth Cafe and Apple Pan — and trying out their take on this classic pie.
Some places used chocolate crusts, some used nut crusts, and some mixed in banana with the custard, while others used bananas only as a garnish. There were so many different combinations, so I thought, why not put my own twist on it?
For Beach Town Baking’s Banana Cream Pie, I decided to go with a thick and crunchy graham cracker crust topped with a thin layer of dark chocolate. After the chocolate set, I made a vanilla bean custard and poured the hot custard over the chocolate covered crust. I let the custard set up for a few hours and then topped it with lots of thinly sliced bananas (3 bananas worth)! To finish the pie and make it pretty, I piped mounds of whipped cream rosettes on top. Lastly, I garnished the pie with freshly grated chocolate curls and drizzled some salted caramel sauce on top. YUM.
I’ve gotta admit, my tummy is pretty happy with my updated version of this classic pie!
Do you have a particular way you enjoy your Banana Cream Pie? Share it with me!