Crostata is one fruit-filled pastry that doesn’t require a lot of fuss
If you love a great fruit tart but think it’s a job best left to your grandma or the local bakery, think again. I’ve created a traditional and satisfying Italian crostata that’s quick easy, and perfect for summer. Oftentimes, I’ve noticed that restaurant pastry chefs will create works of art that are as complicated to make as they look and taste. Who has the time or ingredients to create those complex confections?
When a bite of something warm and delicious is something you crave, this dessert is one of the simplest recipes to manage, with only a few steps to prepare the dough, an even easier assembly and no special experience necessary.
A typical Italian dessert, the crostata is often prepared with jam as its main filling. I created mine with a crust that offers hints of cinnamon and ginger, paired with a topping of in-season fresh fruit and an orange marmalade to give it extra zest, depth and a natural sweetness.
ITALIAN THREE-FRUIT CROSTATA
2½ cups all-purpose flour
2 sticks (1 cup) salted butter, cold, in chunks
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 large egg
½ cup ice water
3 ripe peaches, peeled and sliced
1 pint fresh raspberries
1 pint fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 heaping tablespoons orange marmalade
1 large egg, beaten, for egg wash
to serve (optional)
Handful of fresh mint
Good vanilla ice cream
In a food processor fitted with a pastry blade, pulse the flour, butter, sugar, cinnamon and ginger until the dough is crumbly. Add the egg and water, 2 tablespoons at a time, and pulse until the dough forms a texture that is smooth enough to handle. Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and work it until well combined, forming a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Add peaches, raspberries and blueberries to a small bowl. Add flour and orange marmalade and stir gently to combine.
Place a pizza stone in a conventional oven and preheat to 400 degrees.
Sprinkle the counter with flour and gently roll the dough out into a 14-inch circle, about 1⁄4-inch thick, turning dough over and sprinkling flour on both sides so it doesn’t stick. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured pizza paddle.
Spoon the fruit mixture into the center of the dough, leaving a 2-inch border all around.
Make a slight fold at the edge of crust, pinching the dough to seal.
Lightly dab the egg wash around the border with your fingers. With a fork, make indentations around the border.
Take the pizza stone out of the oven. Slide the crostata off the pizza paddle and onto the pizza stone. Bake for 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and fruit is bubbly. Slide the pizza paddle under the tart to remove it from the oven. Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream and fresh mint.
*This story by Maria Desiderata Montana first appeared in the U-T San Diego.