Crostata di pignoli

I really like crossing the streams of savory and sweet and seeing what grand explosion happens.  Everything in this dessert blurs the lines beautifully.

Crostata di pignoli

The tart is from Gina DePalma's Dolce Italiano, which I go to often.  I altered the amounts to fit a nine-inch tart instead of her larger tart.  It may go without saying, but make sure your pine nuts are very very fresh, there is nothing worse than old pine nuts... blech.

Crostata di pignoli
4-1/4 oz (1/3 cup) good quality honey (I use buckwheat honey in this)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
4 oz butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 egg
1-1/4 cup pine nuts
Your favorite nine-inch pre-baked sweet tart shell

In a saucepan, combine the honey, sugar, salt and butter.  Stir and bring it to a boil.  Remove from the heat and pour into a bowl and set aside to cool for 20 minutes (yes, exactly 20 minutes).  Whisk in the cream and egg.  Spread the pine nuts in the tart shell and pour the custard over.  Wiggle around the filling with your fingers to make sure the nuts are evenly distributed and the custard and oozed around all of them.  Bake at 300º-325º until the filling is bubbly, caramel colored and is jiggly as a whole rather than in waves (about 30-35 minutes).  Cool and chill the tart.

Balsamic Reduction
2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 bay leaf
1 tsp whole allspice
1/4 tsp whole black pepper

In a saucepan, stir together the vinegar, sugar and bay leaf.  Toast the spices in a dry pan, then crush with the edge of a knife.  Add to the vinegar and bring to a simmer.  Simmer until the vinegar is reduced by about half.  You can test the consistency by dropping a bit on a cold plate like you would when cooking sugar or making jam.  Strain the reduction, cool and chill.

Olive Oil Gelato
makes more than a quart, half it if you don't want that much
3 cup milk
1 cup cream
6 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
6 fl oz extra virgin olive oil

In a saucepan, gently bring milk and cream to a scald.  In a bowl, whisk the yolks, sugar and zest to lighten and then whisk in the olive oil.  Temper the yolks with the hot milk, then pour into the saucepan.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened (~185º).  Cool, chill, strain, churn and freeze.