Crostata agli Amaretti-Baking with Teresa

by cakeduchess on April 10, 2011 · 52 comments

I can’t tell you how good it feels to be back home. The surgery went well. It was more painful than I expected it to be and I am resting. 

I ended up staying longer in the hospital than expected due to some complications from the pain medicines. I feel like I’ve been in a battle. I’m physically weak but I feel mentally strong. It’s very difficult to walk around. I can’t bend. I can’t lift. I can’t pull. I can’t hug the way I normally do. But I know slowly I will be doing all those things again.

I started to write this post last week the day before my 2nd surgery. I will write more as the week progresses. I was scared. Really scared. I was going under anesthesia twice in three days. It was surreal checking in on my kids last night while they were sleeping. I remember the night before I went into my second surgery kissing them goodnight and wondering when if I would be back and healthy. Now I’m back home and things are almost back to normal. I never prayed so hard before in my life. I prayed to Mary, Padre Pio. I prayed for peace. I listened to my mother-in-law’s prayer she wants me to memorize one day. I prayed until the second my eyes closed as I went under anesthesia. I kept praying the same thing: that I would wake up and every thing would go fine.

April 5th. Today I am supposed to be resting and recuperating from my biopsy. I can’t sit still. I can’t lay on the couch all day. I wasn’t going to post on my blog until this weekend but I need to write. I am nervous. I’m so used to doing ten things at once (like probably you all are). My mother-in-law kept telling me to sit. My mom came by and was echoing the same instructions, “Relax, we’ll take care of it.” Truthfully, I didn’t feel physically that bad after my first procedure. I filled my pain prescription and didn’t have to take one pill. I just felt tired and a little nauseous from the anesthesia.

What was my day like before the 2nd surgery? I was waiting anxiously all day for the results of yesterday’s procedure. The oncologist was getting a rush result of the biopsy. When I first found out I would no longer be able to bear children, I felt a tinge of sadness. There were weeks when I kept thinking I’m too young. People in the doctor’s offices were telling me I’m too young. My own MD told me I’m too young. I have been blessed with two healthy kids. But all last year I was thinking, “Maybe just one more.”
I called my oncologist’s nurse this morning and she said there was still no pathology report that came through. I tried again today at 1 PM. On Wednesday’s they don’t answer the phone after 12 PM. Somehow I got through and I was awaiting a friendly and reassuring voice. There was the prospect that my biopsy showed the cancer was in other places as it was on the margin. I had my neighbor, the Veterinarian, explain “on the margin” to me. I’m not kidding.

I didn’t get a friendly voice and there wasn’t a hint of reassurance. All I got was annoyance to hear from me and, “The doctor is still in surgery. There is nothing for me to tell you and the other girls in the office will not be able to give you the answer even if the report comes through on the fax after I leave. Either way tomorrow you are getting a surgery and the doctor will let you know in the morning what kind it will be.” Rude and rough. I hung up the phone without the news I was waiting for. Without the comfort I was hoping someone working in a Cancer Institute could provide. I vowed to let the doctor know just how insensitive she was…after he does my surgery.

One hour later, I got my call. It was the kind doctor and he had good news that the biopsy was clear. All my fears were alleviated. I of course still have cancer, but it is isolated and this surgery will take care of it. There isn’t any chance the cancer has spread. I won’t need radiation or chemotherapy. I smiled and thanked the doctor for the good news. It’s been an emotional and stressful period in my life. Now it seems to all be coming to a conclusion.

My dad came to check on my today. He brought a gorgeous bouquet of flowers from his garden. He kept asking me if he needs me tomorrow at the hospital. Tonight I prepared my kids lunches for tomorrow. I labeled and put in baggies the snacks that go in their lunches with instructions in Italian for what else to pack for my mother-in-law. She still is shocked they don’t get delicious pasta and meatballs at school.
I snuggled with my sweethearts on the couch just now. This is the first time in a long time I will not be sleeping at home with them. I’m scared to go under general anesthesia. I am trying to stay calm.

My daughter keeps hugging me and saying, “I hope you’ll be ok mommy. We’ll come visit you tomorrow at the hospital.” And I squeeze her tightly and say the same thing, “I promise I’ll be just fine. I promise.”

This crostata is delicious. If you like the flavor of amaretti cookies and espresso, you have to try this! I know my mother-in-law doesn’t read English or know what my blog is, but I have to say thank you. Thank you Teresa for taking care of my family and of me these days. Thank you mom for tucking in my blankets at the hospital the last few days and helping me to get up. Thank you mom for your delicious chicken soup that was waiting for me when I got home. I’m blessed with a dear mom and mother-in-law.

Teresa’s Crostata agli Amaretti
pasta frolla
2 packs amaretti, each pack is 7 oz
2 cups cold espresso

Directions for the Pasta Frolla:

Pasta Frolla (Sweet Pastry Dough)

300 grams (10.54 ounces)pastry flour
200 grams (7.025 ounces) unsalted butter
100 grams (3.512 ounces) sugar
1 whole egg and 1 yolk ( 60 grams eggs)

dough directions:

In the bowl of a food processor, add the flour and sugar and process a few times to mix together. Next add the butter and pulse a few times until the mixture looks like wet sand. Add the egg and yolk and process a few seconds more until the dough forms (this should be about 5-7 more pulses). Be sure to not overprocess the dough.

Dump the dough from the food processor bowl onto a lightly floured counter. Form the dough into a disk and chill in the refrigerator for about an hour.

Put the flour, sugar, salt, and lemon zest in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse briefly to combine the ingredients. Distribute the butter around the bowl and pulse until the mixture is crumbly. Add the egg and egg yolks and process until the dough just begins to come together.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gather it together. Knead it briefly and shape it into a disk. Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1hour, until well chilled.

baking the crostata:

Preheat oven to 325°F with a foil-lined large baking sheet on middle rack.

When dough is nicely chilled, remove from the refrigerator. Roll out the dough between 2 sheets of plastic wrap into a 13-inch round about 1/8 thick.

Spray an 11-inch fluted tart pan with removable bottom with baking spray (Teresa used a rectangular baking pan for this crostata). Gently wrap the dough over the rolling pin and place it over the tart pan; release the rolling pin and let the dough fall into the tart pan. Press the dough softly into the bottom of the tart pan. If some of the dough breaks while you press it into the tart pan, that’s not a problem. Simply piece the dough together. Press the sides of the dough about 1/2 inch up the side of the tart pan. The rim of the tart should be lined with a slightly thicker layer of pastry than the bottom  (about 1/4-inch thick). Cut off the extra dough from the sides and keep these excess pieces to make the lattice topping. Place this tart pan in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes (or even longer if necessary) to chill.

When the dough is chilled and ready to fill, remove the tart pan from the refrigerator and prick the pastry bottom with a fork a few times.

You can see details of how to make and roll out the dough here.

Soak one pack of the amaretti in 1 1/2 cup of the cold espresso. Let the cookies soak a minute. With your fingers, drain the amaretti cookies a little and then place the soaked cookies across the dough.
Then dip the other amaretti cookies one cookie at a time on both sides and spread them out across the dough.
Keep dipping and spreading them out.

Add the remaining 1/2 cup of cold espresso to the tops of the cookies. If you dipped them well enough, you don’t have to add this extra coffee. Teresa noticed the cookies were a little dry. She always leaves a reserve of the coffee just in case a cookie needs a little more moisture.
Cut the remaining half of your dough with a lattice cutter. Make your strips and lay them across the crostata filling.

Bake on 325 F for approximately 30-45 minutes. You want the crust to be a nice golden brown.
Here’s my sweet dad and my father-in-law Domenico. My dad brought me those flowers from his garden the day before his surgery. He’s famous for his bouquets. SmileGrazie Daddy!


Thank you for all the positive messages and for keeping me in your thoughts and prayers. I hope you enjoyed Teresa’s dessert .Smile

I have mentioned many times how therapeutic blogging has been. It is therapeutic and it also brings me such happiness.

I want to say thank you again to my sweet friends Lindsey and Barb for their delicious posts that were on my blog this past week. Their posts brightened my blog and kept it a happy baking place. I will be back with some more recipes soon.

{ 52 comments… read them below or add one }

Amy April 10, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Glad to hear the surgery went well and you made it home! My thoughts and prayers are with you, hope you have a speedy recovery :)! This crostada sounds wonderful, I have never seen one with amareti like this before! Thanks for sharing guest posts even though you aren’t feeling the best :)!


Flavia April 10, 2011 at 3:31 pm

Ciao Lora! Come sono contenta che sei sana ed e andato tutto bene con l’intervento. Che sollievo! Ho pregato per te. Cerca di predere tutto con calma. Sei fortunata di avere un marito, genitori e suoceri che ti aiutono con tutto. Come mi sono piaciute le foto della tua suocera in cucina! La crostata e veramente bella! Un abbraccio forte. Rest up and get well–let everyone pamper you until you are back to feeling 100%! xoxo


Spicie Foodie April 10, 2011 at 3:32 pm

Lora, I’m so glad your surgery went well. You’ll be back to all of your normal every day activities in not time. Will keep you in my thoughts:) The crostata looks amazing! Get well soon and thank you for sharing your thoughts and fears with us.:)


scrambledhenfruit April 10, 2011 at 3:55 pm

So glad your surgery went well! My prayers are for your speedy recuperation. It looks like you have lots of people taking care of you- take it easy and let them! Your mother in law’s crostata is gorgeous. :)


Cookin' Canuck April 10, 2011 at 3:58 pm

Lora, what great news that the cancer is isolated – that must be such a relief for you. I am thinking of you. Thank you for keeping us updated.


Anonymous April 10, 2011 at 4:03 pm

Lora, I am so happy that you are going to be ok.
I am sorry that you have been through such a difficult time, it is very hard to face any Cancer diagnosis.
Thank you for all of your posts. I appreciate your blog very much! Everything that you do is amazing!
I am sending you positive energy and strength as you recover and go on.
Thank you for your words, Mary Ann


Lizzy April 10, 2011 at 4:07 pm

Lora, such good news!! WHEW. Our prayers have been answered. Take good care of yourself…I know the two moms in your life will make sure of that. BTW, Teresa’s costata looks fabulous! Lucky family~


Liren April 10, 2011 at 4:24 pm

Lora, I am praying that you are getting the rest you need to recuperate properly, but I can certainly understand how you must feel, wanting to do everything for everyone. Thank goodness for the good results, that is wonderful news. And thank you for the reminder – I need to give my kids a hug now :)


Shawn April 10, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Let’s hear it for prayer and cheetah blood :)

On a side note…as my daughter looked over my shoulder she exclaimed that the crostata is her kind of dessert…espresso soaked cookies baked into a sweet pastry crust!

Reply April 10, 2011 at 5:21 pm

Oh I am so glad to hear that everything went well!!! Take care and eat up that delicious crostata up there!


Ilke April 10, 2011 at 5:49 pm

Hi Lora,
I am so glad it went well and you do not have to deal with all the aggressive treatment methods! Thank God a million times for close, tight family members. Life is much better with them. xoxo…


Michael Toa April 10, 2011 at 6:20 pm

Lora, I am so pleased to know the surgery went well. Have a good rest. I’m praying for your fast recovery.
The crostata looks wonderful.


DessertForTwo April 10, 2011 at 6:23 pm

Oh gosh, lady, you have me in tears! I hope everything is going well for you. You’re in my prayers!
You’re so brave for sharing this info in a blog. Take care!


Cher April 10, 2011 at 6:28 pm

Glad your surgery went well & the prognosis is good. Hope you have a restful recovery & that many more hugs are in your future.


Angela@RecipesFromMyMom April 10, 2011 at 6:32 pm

Teresa is beautiful as is her crostata. I have a silly question – did she bring the amaretti cookies for you all the way from Italy? I haven’t seen them in stores here but wonder if I just haven’t looked in the right place.

Prayers are a powerful force when they are coming from so many people. All our requests for your good health must have made a beautiful racket that God could not ignore.


Pegasuslegend April 10, 2011 at 6:58 pm

I agree that blogging is theraputic and it always amazes me how wonderful perfect strangers are in this universal language of love… I really believe foodies are lovers of people first food is part of their love for people, you hit the nail on the head, we all care and can’t wait for the good news that you are back on track… no more worries… good luck… good vibes and prayers coming your way! xo This dessert was just the perfect good things to come~


Marnely Rodriguez April 10, 2011 at 7:32 pm

So glad to hear everything went well Lora! This Crostata looks so delicious. Say espresso and I’m there! Love it and will try soon! Xoxo


Foodafok April 10, 2011 at 9:30 pm

Super, super! When I look at your photos, I feel like such a beginner!!


Chef Dennis April 10, 2011 at 10:11 pm


I am so happy to hear that everything is going to be alright, I was holding my breath with you, and just praying.
Please get some rest, but come back to us as soon as you feel strong enough.
your friend


Sprinkled with Flour April 10, 2011 at 11:04 pm

Lora, I’m so glad that you got some good news! I know the feeling of waiting for the biopsy results, and those rude office staff can be terrible:( I will continue to keep you in my thoughts and prayers:)


Lo-mo April 10, 2011 at 11:13 pm

So glad the biopsy results were good. Sorry to hear of the pain and discomfort. Your family is so wonderful to be there helping out, bless them! Best wishes to you on your next surgery. My thoughts are with you and your family as you go through the healing process.


The Mom Chef April 11, 2011 at 12:43 am

HUGE sigh of relief. God is good; God is good; God is good.


Pacheco Patty April 11, 2011 at 12:58 am

This comment has been removed by the author.


sara @ CaffeIna April 11, 2011 at 1:01 am

In this moment I’m looking at this crostata…it’s beautiful as heaven but….I just don’t care. I just care about telling you how happy I am that everything went well and that you are back home! My college ex-boyfriend from Naples always used to tell me “piensa a salute” (I don’t know how to write that correctly in Napolitanean slang but basically “take care of your health”. Saint words! Now, take care of yourself and just focus on getting back in full strength and enjoy the family. Baci!


Pacheco Patty April 11, 2011 at 1:03 am

Sorry, try again, I meant to say I’m happy that you received positive news from your biopsy!
You are so blessed to be surrounded by your loving and supportive family. Your love and appreciation for your family really comes across in your writing. Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful and creative recipe for crostata, take care;-)


Happy When Not Hungry April 11, 2011 at 1:34 am

Lora I am so glad that your surgery went well and that you’re home recovering with your family. This crostata looks amazing! I will definitely have to try when my family comes to town in a couple weeks. Rest up and feel better!!!!!


wendyweekendgourmet April 11, 2011 at 2:03 am

I’m so glad that all went well and that you’re resting comfortably at home! Im so glad the cancer was isolated and that you won’t need chemo or radiation, Lora! This crostata looks so good…your MIL sounds like an excellent baker.


A Thought For Food April 11, 2011 at 2:09 am

I’m so glad to hear the good news… we’ve all been thinking about you. I’m sure you’re anxious to get back up and about, but please rest up, my dear.

Reply April 11, 2011 at 2:35 am

I just got an error leaving you a comment… I was saying: I’m happy that you’re back and that surgery went well. I’ve been thinking of you these days and will keep praying for you. Love u, Lora! xoxoxo


A SPICY PERSPECTIVE April 11, 2011 at 3:26 am

Whew! I so glad to hear this is all coming to an end. My thoughts and prayers are with you through this scary time. :)


Boulder Locavore April 11, 2011 at 4:01 am

You’ve lived a lifetime in the last week Lora. What a harrowing time you’ve had. So scary and so many emotions I’m sure. And in all of this you’ve opened your life and your family for us to ride along. The love and warmth surrounding you is palpable. Thinking of you…


Veronica's Kitchen April 11, 2011 at 7:14 am

I’m glad that your surgery went well and everything is OK! You may look at life differently and be a better person in some way. Treasure your family, your kids and your love of cooking.


Jamie April 11, 2011 at 8:27 am

I think that both you and my other wonderful friend Lee had your surgery both on the same day in different parts of Florida. You both came out sounding so cheerful and positive and that is the most important thing in healing! I can only imagine how terrifying it must be but you know that you are surrounded not just by your wonderful, loving family who adore you but by all of us – your friends – out here in Blogland and we are all, each and everyone of us, there with you! Everything will be all right! Now sit back, savor that gorgeous crostata and let yourself be pampered! Tanti baci, cara amica! xox


Kathy April 11, 2011 at 12:26 pm

So happy your surgery went well! It is difficult to be so vulnerable but now you are on the road to recovery! You are so blessed to have such love surrounding you! Prayers for your continued recovery!


Lindsay @Eat, Knit, Grow April 11, 2011 at 12:52 pm

I am so glad you are doing well. I hope you feel 100% soon. You are in my thoughts! (and beautiful crostata)


knitstamatic April 11, 2011 at 1:37 pm

So glad to hear you are home. Rest, relax and heal. You are surrounded by a loving family, loving friends and many followers who have been praying for you. We are all relieved to hear that it hasn’t spread. Now just relax and get better.

Oh and the crostata is beautiful, your mother-in-law is an artist.


Angie's Recipes April 11, 2011 at 4:52 pm

Lora, I am so so pleased to hear the surgery went well! The crostata looks beautiful!


Brenda April 11, 2011 at 5:57 pm

Lora, I’m so happy your surgery went well and you’re going to be okay. Rest and take care of yourself. Thinking of you.


Aggie April 11, 2011 at 6:24 pm

I am so happy your home. Have been thinking of you so much. The flowers, the dessert and your family is just so beautiful. Rest up girl! xo


Georgie April 11, 2011 at 9:43 pm

Hooray, It’s wonderful news that your surgery was successful and your home resting and healing. I missed you in twitterrama world. May God Bless you with complete healing!


Lindsey @ Gingerbread Bagels April 11, 2011 at 11:51 pm

I’m glad you’re home with your family now and that everything went ok. You’re always in my thoughts and prayers. :)

This looks incredible, almost too pretty to eat. But I’d gladly eat the whole entire crostata anyway. ;)


Reeni April 12, 2011 at 1:00 am

I am so glad it’s over and you are home safe and sound in the arms of your loving family! I wish you a speedy recovery! Sending a big HUG your way. xoxo


Sandra April 12, 2011 at 1:31 am

Deat Lora, It’s wonderful to know that you’re resting and the worst is over. I continue to pray that you’ll be in tip top shape soon. Good Bless your family for being there with you and pitching in.


Sue April 12, 2011 at 2:29 am

Oh Lora, I am so happy for you! I had a similar experience about 15 years ago, and after the surgery when all was clear I was so grateful to be alive and to be with my family at home! I’m happy for you that you have a kind doctor:)
BTW, this crostata looks so unique(to me, anyway) and so delicious!
God bless you and get well SOON!


Monet April 12, 2011 at 4:18 am

Your good news made my day shine ever so brightly. I’m so glad we were able to text this afternoon. I needed this, Lora, and I know your sweet family did even more. Thank you for sharing your beautiful and strong spirit with us again and again. You bless hundreds of people with your words, and I’m so glad to know you. Much love and hugs.


Anna C April 12, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Lora, I learned about your terrible ordeal through your mom’s blog. I’m so happy to hear the worst is over. It’s so wonderful to see that you are surrounded by such a loving family, who will no doubt be there for you as you recuperate.


Emily Malloy April 12, 2011 at 1:46 pm

What a relief! So glad you are doing well.


Gayle Martin April 12, 2011 at 3:56 pm

I am so happy to hear you are doing better. Do that that doctor know about the harsh treatment you got from his staff. If that staff person doesn’t get it that cancer patients experience a lot of fear and anxiety, then she’s an idiot and she needs to be fired.


A little bit of everything April 12, 2011 at 4:34 pm

what a great news to hear the surgery went well and the cancer is now isolated. you’re in my thoughts and prayers.
the crostata looks amazing. love those amaretti cookies. thanks for sharing Lora


kita April 13, 2011 at 10:02 pm

Ugh, its ppl like that nurse that ruin the effort of all the other ones that go above an beyond. I am glad that your doing well and you have such a wonderful support group taking god care of you (and feeding you so well!).


spcookiequeen April 14, 2011 at 4:03 pm

Tell your Mom and MIL how bella I think they are and I know that will take perfect care of you. I can’t wait to try Teresa recipe. Rest, remember rest. You have lots of friends praying for you.


Foodiva April 15, 2011 at 10:36 am

You are blessed with many things, Lora. And we are blessed for knowing you. You have a truly remarkable family who care for you…the flowers and Teresa’s crostata look so lovely. I’m so happy to hear that you are on your way to recovery and everyday I admire your strength. Take good care of yourself, bella!


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