Friday, March 21, 2008

Fruit Mascarpone Custard for la Festa Italiana

Nothing says comfort more than a custard type dessert.
It seems that every culture has their version or several versions of comforting custards.
Italy is no exception and here in the north we make a few varieties that always seem to go down well.
I found this version on a local website and made a few adjustments to suit my taste.
Pears and apples are a natural choice this time of year as the fruit are a little tired from sitting all winter and show their better side when cooked with tenderizing and flavor inducing eggs and mascarpone. Add some crunchy amaretti cookies for texture and flavor, enhanced with a touch of orange or amaretto liqueur or orange peel to make the flavors stand out. Bake in a water bath or low temp oven to not over do it and you have a versatile warm perfect ending to a meal or a great room temperature buffet item for your Easter brunch buffet. Either way, I'm sure you'll see that it disappears in a flash.
I'm sending this recipe over to Maryann of "Finding La Dolce Vita" and Marie of "Proud Italian Cook" for their Festa Italiana taking place tomorrow. The round up with be shortly thereafter, but if you haven't already discovered both of their sites, enjoy all of the wonderful, droolworthy recipes they have on offer. You won't believe what you've been missing out on! I always find my way back there over and over again.
Fruit Mascarpone Custard (GATò DE LA MIANDO)
Recipe typical of lower Chisone valley


Ingredients:
3 apples
3 pears

1/4 c dry white wine


2 Tb sugar

1Tb soft butter


2 Tb sugar

250 g mascarpone cheese

2 eggs

2 Tb orange or amaretto liqueur
or 1 Tb grated orange rind
100 g amaretti cookies
pignoli /pine nuts

Peel, quarter, core and slice thin into short pieces the apples and pears.
Toss together with the white wine. Set aside.
Grease a
10"x 8"" rectangular custard or flan type baking pan with the 2 Tb butter.
Sprinkle 2 Tb of the sugar over the greased pan and move around to cover.
Whisk 2 Tb of sugar over the mascarpone cheese in a small mixing bowl.
Add eggs and liqueur and whisk till smooth.

Crush the amaretti cookies either by a rolling pin or pan in a plastic bag

or pulse in a food processor taking care not to completely pulverize.

Add to the fruit and mix in with the egg /mascarpone mix.
Pour into prepared pan.
Sprinkle a few pine nuts on top.
Works well in individual portion ramekins or cups also.

(you might cook the individual ramekins in a water bath if you don't want to worry about over cooking the eggs)
Bake in a medium hot oven 325*, till set, about 30-40 minutes, depending on your oven.
Serve warm or room temperature.

It's a great dessert or makes a nice addition to a brunch buffet.
Buona Pasqua and Pasquetta to you all!
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