I am even growing tired of hearing myself complain about the recipes in Baking with Julia, but to be honest, I've yet to find one that I really love. So the results have been disappointing, but already, only 4 recipes in, I've learned some things, and tried some new techniques, so from that perspective, it's been great!
This week's recipe is Pizza Rustica, essentially a cheese pie. The twist is that the crust is sweet - almost like shortbread - while the filling is savory...although not very. The combination is interesting and I can understand how people like it, but it just didn't appeal to me or The Official Taster. He kept saying "this crust would be good as peach pie" - sigh. I am so not a pie person...which explains the difficulty I had with this recipe. Half way in, I realized that I don't own any pie plates! I found an old metal one, stuck in the back of an upper cupboard, that only had a 6 inch bottom, but it was all I had. The upshot of this, however, was that the crust was really too thick, so the sweetness was quite pronounced.
As a vegetarian, I couldn't bring myself to use prosciutto, so I substituted some Kalamata olives and red peppers. I used light ricotta. Even so, I found the filling bland. If I ever made this again, I'd add a bunch of herbs and maybe some sundried tomatoes to provide a little more "ooomph".
The crust, despite its thickness, was deelish! It was a little difficult to handle - first, when cold it was as hard as the proverbial rock. I beat it with a rolling pin - that worked. Then, it kept sticking to the pin and tearing as I rolled. I just kept piecing it back together, folded it into the pan and tucked the edges under. The "lattice" top was particularly challenging for me - I'm not very good at spatial tasks, and am notorious for cutting on an angle, so of course, my lattice pieces were uneven. This may be why I just don't do pie. Whatever. I figured it was "rustica", so precision wasn't required!
The only other difficulties I had were determining when the pie was cooked, and the fact that the crust edges browned early on. I assumed the dark pan had something to do with that. I covered the edges with foil and continued baking until the filling registered 160 degrees. I have read that eggs are cooked at that temp, so that seemed to be a good call.
The bottom line? It came out well, the recipe was straightforward, the crust very tasty, the filling underwhelming, and the combination a little strange. I won't make it again. I'd much rather make Jamie Oliver's spinach phyllo pie, which is far healthier, tastier, and quicker!
Pizza Rustica freezes and reheats very well; in fact, I still have several pieces in my freezer for those days when there's no time to cook. The hosts for this week are Emily of Capitol Region Dining (http://capitalregiondiningblog.blogspot.ca/) and Raelynn of The Place They Call Home (http://tptch.com/). You can find the complete recipe in their posts.
On another note, I have found a really good recipe for biscuit cinnamon rolls (thanks to my daughter for sending me the link!) at http://joythebaker.com/2012/03/biscuit-cinnamon-rolls/. They are soooo bad for you and not like Mary's (of Bread Basket fame), but quite possibly the best biscuits I've ever made. The key is to keep that butter cold - even freeze your mixing bowl before using - and, of course, don't over handle the dough. This recipe makes a horrible mess but is so worth it. However, the search for a clone of Mary's famous cinnamon rolls continues....