This is the way I like food to look. Homemade, imperfect but generous. It is all very well for the fine restaurants to make little pieces of art to eat, but when I welcome someone to my table I want them to enjoy something that looks like I made it with my hands.

A Crostata is an Italian baked dessert tart that traditionally has the pastry edges folded over in a rough manner. It can be filled with a jam/marmalade filling or a different version like this one. You could use preprepared pastry but this recipe uses an almond based pastry which really adds to the taste.

Cooking Time Prep time 30 mins, cook 1 hour 45 mins (plus resting, cooling)

Ingredients

Almond pasta frolla (Pastry)

1 egg

55 gm (1/4cup) caster sugar

185 gm (1 1/4 cups) plain flour

50 gm softened unsalted butter

100gm almond meal

eggwash for brushing

Candied orange

2 oranges ends trimmed and discarded, cut into 5mm thick cslices

325gm caster suagr

160 gm light corn syrup

Custard

160ml (2/3 cup) of milk

3 pieces of orange rind

1 tbspn lemon juice

2 egg yolks

110gm (1/2 cup) caster sugar

11/2 tbsp plain flour

50 gm unsalted butter

40 gm almond meal

Method

For pastry process flour, almonds and sugar in food processor to combine, add butter and process until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Transfer mixture to a bowl and add egg. Mix   to combine, turn onto floured surface and knead until smooth. Place in refrigerator for 2 hours.

For candied orange, place orange slices in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, drain and repeat 7 times. Combine sugar, corn syrup and 80ml (1/3 cup) water in a large saucepan, stir over medium heat until dissolved and simmering. Add orange slices, bring to the boil, simmer over low heat until orange is translucent and syrup is thick (1-1½ hours). Remove from syrup and drain on wire racks in a single layer until cool. Reserve ¼ cup syrup,  for brushing.
For almond filling, bring milk and orange rind just to the boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk egg yolks and half the sugar in a bowl until thick, add flour and whisk to combine. Pour over milk mixture, whisk to combine, return to pan and whisk over medium heat until thick (2-3 minutes). Cool completely, remove rind. Beat butter and remaining sugar using an electric mixer until pale, add almond meal and cooled custard and beat to combine.
Preheat oven to 180C. Roll out pastry to a 30cm round between 2 sheets of baking paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Spread almond filling over pastry, leaving a 4cm border, top with orange slices and fold over pastry edges, pleating as you go. Brush pastry with eggwash, then brush oranges with reserved syrup. Bake until golden (35-40 minutes). Cool on tray for 10 minutes, transfer to a cake rack and cool. Serve drizzled with remaining syrup.

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