Italy remembered with a Rocciata Assisana pastry


     A few months ago I went to Italy, mainly Rome. Let me tell you there are A LOT of churches in Rome. I think that I seen them all...twice. They were nice, but it was too much and way too many churches; they were actually running together. Did I mention that I also seen a lot of Crypts? I had fun don't get me wrong. I met some amazing girls whom I had a lot of fun with, from what I remember anyhow (kidding). I wanted to see the sites, but I really went for the food (and the wine).

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Did I mention that I went for the wine? And NO, that is not my pack of cigarettes.
     While on a day trip to Assisi I had this amazing pastry. I tasted it, I dissected it, I made notes about it, I even dreamed about it. It was lovely. Rocciata Assisana, Dolce tipico con mele e frutta secca. A sweet pastry with dried fruits and nuts. This was one of the first things I tried to replicate when I returned.


    I did some research before setting out to conquer this magnificent sweet concoction and discovered that the pastry dough was made with olive oil. I tried and tried to make mine as they would in Italy with just the oil as the fat. It didn't work for me. The dough was very greasy. I tried reducing the amount that I added, but no luck. I was getting discouraged. I needed to taste my sweet memory and share with others what I was fortunate enough to have tickle my taste-buds. I went with a standard pie dough recipe. It was good, but just not as flaky as I remembered. I researched again, this time on pie dough and came up with a recipe from Cooks Illustrated via Serious Eats, it contains vodka (click HERE for the recipe). The responses were positive and claim that it was the flakiest pie dough that they had ever made. It was worth a try. I tried. I liked it. I will use it again and again and again. My results were fantastic. For a fluffier, chewier texture try using puffed pastry, rolled to about an 1/8" thick.


     I had my dough, now for the filling. This was easy. I looked back over my notes and my photos. Reminisced sitting atop of the hill, looking down upon the fields and farmhouses of the Umbian countryside, sipping my cappuccino and reveling in the taste of my Rocciata. I remembered the apples, the pinenuts, the almonds, the raisins, and the apricot glaze all kissed with a touch of cinnamon. These were all layered and rollup, strudel style, baked until golden, cooled and then sliced into rounds.


     My mouth salivating I went to work and created what I remembered in my dreams. Flaky pastry, moist filling, and a satisfied palate. This was my trip remembered. Sweet and tasteful.

ROCCIATA ASSISANA

3 c. apples, sliced thin (I leave the skins on)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 lemon juiced
2 Tbsp. flour
1/4 c. pine nuts
1/4 c. almonds (walnuts, pecans, etc...)
1/4 c. dried fruit (prunes/plums, apricots, cranberries, etc...)
1/4 c. raisins
small jar of apricot jam

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Mix the apples, cinnamon, and lemon juice together in a large bowl. Sprinkle with flour and toss to coat. Roll out the dough into a large oval about 1/8" thick if using puffed pastry or 1/4" thick if using pie dough on lightly floured surface.
Apply the entire jar of jam on top of the dough covering the surface, except for 1/2" around the edges. Spread apple mixture on top. Layer with the nuts and dried fruit (raisins too), scattering on top of the apples.
Starting at a tapered end, gently start to roll up the dough, jelly roll style (or like making cinnamon rolls). Once rolled up, place seem side down on a piece of parchment paper (it is not absolutly necessary, but will make life and clean up so much easier expecially because there may be oozing). Brush the top and sides with an egg wash and sprinkle with course sugar if desired. Bake 35 minutes until golden brown, checking occassionally.

The following pictures of the Rocciata were made using a basic pie dough recipe. The above pictures were with puffed pastry.




 



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