Peaches crostata: a story of loves and wars
If you take enough time to search and to listen, you can find beautiful stories and recipes everywhere. So here I am, back after a wonderful holiday in Italy, on the most beautiful mountains of Europe (Dolomites UNESCO Heritage) with my head full of ideas and good food.
We have a six months baby so we decided for a hotel with a lot of facilities even for small babies. We went at the Sport Hotel Panorama in Fai della Paganella. Check the website: can you imagine, looking at the comfortable rooms, at the first class wellness center and at the pleasant furnitures that this place has a nearly 150 years long story to tell? I really want to thank Ms Mottes that stopped her work and found the time to tell me this lovely story and this so good recipe.
The hotel like we see it today is mainly a creature of Maria and Giuseppe Mottes. It was 1878 when the first hotel was opened by Mr Mottes father. It was a simple guest – house on the road that connected the newly born Italian Reign and the Austro – Hungarian Empire so that travelers and horsemen could stop and have some food and some rest.
Like Giuseppe, also Maria was born in a family focused on hospitality. Her grandparents had a guest-house in Sugana Valley, not so far from Fai della Paganella, in a very strategic place that was an important battlefront of the I World War. It was during this war that the great and contrasted love story between Maria’s parents began: the young daughter of the innkeepers and an Austrian army officer. Because of the war and of the opposition of Maria’s grandparents, they left the valley and went to live in Trento, where Maria spent her childhood without great problems. Everything was going to change with the end of the war. Her father died and economic problems began. Maria, still a child, came back in Sugana valley with her grandparents and here, at that time a young cook, met Giuseppe. When they married no one expected that a new terrible war was coming. They went to live in Fai with Giuseppe’s brothers and a terrible day Giuseppe was conscripted into the Italian army. When their child came to life Giuseppe was fighting in Albania (more than 1.600 km far away from home). But war wasn’t only so far: the nazis took the place where the hotel is now. At that time the place was the holidays home of an important family (the Sperlari family that even today is an important brand in the Italian confectionery industry). The nazis confiscated it because it had an impressive view on the valley so that they could control the traffic and the communications. While the nazis where in the villa, all the mountains where full of partisan fighting against them.
To realise their dream to have a place just for themselves, Maria and Giuseppe had to wait the end of the war. It was in 1950: they bought Sperlari’s house and inaugurated the new hotel, ready to use the hospitality experience passed for generations to deal with the new tourism challenge.
So, in the middle of a story of loves and wars, let’s cook this peaches crostata that was Maria’s favourite. Hope you enjoy it!
300 g of flour
150 g of butter
1 teaspoon of baking powder
100 g of white sugar + 1 spoon
1 spoon of icing sugar
8 amaretti (or 20 g of other biscuits) minced
4 small peaches
Prepare the base: in a bowl mix flour, sugar, 3 yolk, butter cut in small pieces, and the baking powder. Mix just until you can form a solid ball out of the pastry with no crumbs. Roll the dough into a baking pan, use a fork to make small hole in all the surface of the dough, cover with an aluminum sheet and put over it some beans so that the dough cannot bulge during cooking. Put the pan in preheated oven at 180°C (350°F) and cook for 20 minutes. Meanwhile peel and slice the peaches and put them in a bowl with a spoon of white sugar. Beat 3 eggs white with a pinch of salt and a spoon of icing sugar until stiff. When the base is ready take the pan out of the oven, remove the aluminum sheet and strew the minced amaretti on the dough. Mix half of the stiffed eggs white with the peaches fill the pan. Use the rest to cover it creating a decor. Put again in a preheated oven at 170°C (340°F) for max 20 minutes.