Pasta Frolla (Short Crust Pastry):
2-1/2 cups flour
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups whole milk
Grated zest of 2 oranges
2/3 cup sugar, divided
4 large egg yolks
1/3 cup flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup pitted cherries (do not use cherry pie filling)
Egg Wash: 1 egg, whisked
To make the dough by hand:
Place flour on a counter or in a large bowl. Rub the butter into the flour with your
fingers or a pastry blender. Work quickly so the mixture remains cool.
Incorporate the butter until the mixture has the texure of cornmeal. Form a well
in the center and add the remaining ingredients. Gather the ingredients together
and gently knead into a ball. Shape the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic, and
refrigerate for 30 minutes.
To make the dough with a food processor:
Place all of the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 3-4 times
to blend. Add the butter. Process 10-15 seconds until the mixture resembles
cornmeal. Add the egg, yolk, and vanilla. Pulse until dough forms a ball. Shape
the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
To make the pastry cream:
Bring the milk, zest, and 1/3 cup of the sugar to a boil in a saucepan.
In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth. Add the remaining sugar and flour
to the yolks. Whisk until smooth. When the milk mixture boils, whisk 1/3 of it
into the yolk mixture. Then whisk in the remaining milk mixture. Adding it all at
once may cause the eggs to curdle. Return the mixture to the saucepan.
Continue whisking the mixture over medium heat until the cream thickens and
returns to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and cinnamon.
Pour the pastry cream into a bowl and cover the surface directly with plastic
wrap. Refrigerate until cold.
To assemple the Pizza di Crema:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch cake pan.
Cut off 1/3 of the pasta frolla and set aside. Roll out the remaining dough into a
14-inch round. The dough should be less than 1/4-inch thick, so discard any
excess dough. Line the cake pan with the dough round allowing it to hang over
the edge of the pan. Pour in half of the pastry cream. Distribute the cherries
evenly over the top. Cover the cherries with the remaining pastry cream.
Roll out the reserved dough into a 9-inch round. You can use the bottom of the
cake pan to cut a perfect round. Cut a few openings in the dough with a
decorative cookie cutter. Save the cut-outs. Place the dough round on top of
the pastry cream. Trim the edges of the overhanging dough about 1 -inch from
the edge of the pan. Fold the edge to the inside of the pan, slightly over the top
crust. Crimp the edge all around to seal. Arrange the reserved dough cut-outs
over the top crust. Brush the top and edges of the dough with the egg wash.
Bake for 45 minutes or until the pastry is lightly golden. Cool in the pan on a
rack before unmolding. To unmold, run a knife around the inside of the pan to
loosen. Invert the cake onto a flat plate, lift off the pan, and reinvert onto another
flat plate. Serve at room temperature.