It’s fishing season. It’s time to get out your rolling pin and celebrate juicy stone fruits with the free-form dough known as crostata.
Unlike a pie, which requires sophisticated fingerwork and precision rolling, this flat, rustic summer dessert is a cinch to prepare. After briefly chilling in the refrigerator, the dough is simply rolled out into your desired shape – circle or rectangle, your choice – topped with a pile of fresh fruit, then the edges are folded over and over some of the sweetened slices to make a crust . If it’s misshapen, don’t worry: that’s part of the charm of the dessert for both the eater and the baker.
It’s over when the fruit bubbles and pierces easily with the tip of a knife, and the crust is fragrant, golden and slightly crispy.
I like to top the dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, but a dollop or two of fresh whipped cream also works wonders, if that’s your preference.
In my opinion, a fruit crostata is best served when it’s still a little warm so the ice cream will soften with each bite. Again, it’s a great substitute for a bagel or croissant when served at room temperature with a cup of coffee for breakfast.
Look for peaches that are ripe but not too mushy; there should only be a little play when you squeeze it (gently). Unless you prefer the flavor, peeling or not peeling it can be a game day decision – the peel is completely edible and will fall off during cooking.
For the pastry
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
8 ounces (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1/4 cup ice water
1 1/2 pounds peaches, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1/3 cup granulated sugar
A pinch of vanilla extract
Pinch of ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch or flour
1 large egg, beaten
Sugar for sanding, for sprinkling
Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, to serve
Make the batter: Combine flour, sugar and salt in a food processor until combined. Add the butter and mix until the mixture resembles coarse flour, about 10 seconds. With the machine running, add ice water in a slow, steady stream until the mixture begins to hold together.
Shape the dough into 2 discs. Wrap each in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 3 days (or freeze for up to 1 month; thaw in refrigerator before using).
When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, then parchment paper.
Combine sliced fruit, granulated sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, lemon juice, salt and cornstarch or flour.
Roll out one of the discs of dough (saving the other for later use) into a 12-inch round, about 1/8-inch thick, on a lightly floured surface (or whatever shape that suits you – no need to sweat). Transfer to a baking sheet.
Arrange the peaches in the center, leaving a 2-inch border. Fold the border over to enclose the fruit, leaving the center open. Brush the crust with beaten egg and sprinkle with a little sugar.
Bake until golden brown and bubbling in the center, about 70 minutes. Cool on a baking sheet for 10 minutes, then slide the crostata onto the parchment paper on a wire rack. Let cool completely.
Serve with whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
For 6 to 8 people.
— Adapted from marthastewart.com