Summer fruits that are sweet, juicy and mildly tart, are ideal picks for a beautifully rustic and aromatic crostata—the perfect and simple summer dessert.
Summer Fruit Gets Star Treatment in a Rustic yet Elegant Crostata
My, oh, my, do I adore all of the fresh, sweet and juicy summer fruits like peaches, apricots, blueberries and plums—I'm constantly looking for ways to use them in summer-y desserts that are simple-yet-elegant, and even quite fun to prepare.
And little says “simple elegance” more than a fragrant, tender and rustic crostata, still a bit warm out of the oven, glistening from the juiciness of the fruit, gloriously golden-brown and buttery.
Elegant Simplicity, Easier Than Pie
Pies can sometimes be a bit more involved, and often require a couple of crusts and perhaps even a bit of fancy crimping or complicated lattice work. But not so with a crostata, which is basically just a rustic free-form version of an open fruit tart.
With a crostata, all one need do is slice up some sweet, seasonal fruit and toss it together with touch of sugar and a little flour (perhaps even a touch of lemon zest and cinnamon), and mound it loosely in the center of your rolled out dough.
Then, all you do is fold the dough partially over the fruit, brush it with a touch of egg wash, and bake, et viola!
You've got a flaky, fragrant, tender, fruity and sweet summer pastry to slice into that is lovely and elegant enough to serve at a fancy dinner party, either on its own, or with a touch of freshly whipped cream, or even vanilla ice cream.
A delicious summer fruit crostata is the perfect pastry to showcase your favorite fruity offerings of the season in slice after rustically-gorgeous slice.
Summer Fruit Crostata Tips & Tidbits
• Ripe but not mushy for your fruit: Choose fruit that is ripe and has some some give, but not too soft or mushy—you want the fruit to still hold its shape and not dissolve.
• To peel or not to peel, that is the question: I went ahead and peeled my “fuzzy” fruit like peaches and apricots, but it's not really necessary. If you don't mind the peel, save yourself the step and simply leave it on and slice the fruit.
• Use a combination of fruits or just one type: I love the taste and aroma of this combination of stone fruits, but you can use just one type, if you prefer.
• Add sugar to taste: If the fruit you are using is very sweet, you can go less on the sugar you add in; conversely, if the fruit is a bit more on the tangy side, add a little extra sugar.
• Juices that run during baking: Almost every time I prepare a crostata, it gets all nice and juicy while it bakes in the oven, and the juices run onto the parchment paper—don't worry about this. Just think of it as part of its rustic “charm”. (Any juices will thicken up as they cool.)
• Double up on the dough: We never seem to be able to eat only one crostata at our house, as they're so, so delicious!
Feast your eyes on these, or just jump to the recipe:
Summer Fruit Crostata
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves about 8
Prep Time: 45 minutes (includes dough resting time)
Cook time: 45 minutes
• Crostata dough (recipe below)
• 2 medium peaches, peeled of skin and pitted, and sliced thinly
• 2 medium apricots, peeled of skin and pitted, and sliced thinly
• 2 red plums, pitted and sliced thinly
• 1 small package (about 4 ounces) blueberries
• 3-4 tablespoons granulated sugar, depending on natural sweetness of fruit
• 2 (heaping) tablespoons all-purpose flour
• Pinch cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon lemon zest
• 1 egg, whisked
• 1 tablespoons turbinado sugar
• 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
-Prepare your dough, and allow it to rest for 30-40 minutes in the fridge.
-When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350°, and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
-A few minutes before you remove your dough from the fridge after it has rested, prepare your filling by tossing the sliced peaches, apricots, plums and blueberries together with the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and lemon zest to coat evenly; set aside for a moment while you roll out your dough.
-Lightly flour your work surface and roll the dough out to a large circle roughly 12” x 12” (perhaps a touch larger), and carefully place the dough onto your prepared baking sheet; mound your filling in the middle of the dough in a heap, allowing it fall a little towards the edges, but keep about an inch border.
-Fold the dough over the fruit in a rustic fashion so that you create little pleat-like folds; brush some of the whisked egg over the dough, sprinkle over some of the turbinado sugar and the sliced almonds, and bake for 45-50 minutes until golden-brown and the fruit is soft and juicy (mine took 48 minutes).
-Allow to cool right on the baking sheet either completely or at least until the filling has set and you can easily slice the crostata; serve on it's own to enjoy the flavor of the delicious fruit of the season, or add vanilla ice cream or homemade whipped cream, if desired.
Crostata dough Ingredients (makes 1 crostata):
• 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
• 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 1 teaspoon almond extract
• ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons ice-cold water
-Add the flour, sugar, and salt to a food processor, and process to combine; add in the butter and pulse/process until the butter becomes pea-like in size; add the vanilla and almond extracts to the ice-cold water, and with the processor running, drizzle the water mixture in until the dough becomes moistened and comes together.
-Turn the dough out, gather it up, and shape it into a disc; wrap tightly in plastic wrap and allow to rest in the fridge for at least 30-40 minutes before rolling out and baking, or even longer, if doing ahead a couple of days. (Dough can also be frozen and then defrosted in fridge for a couple days if you'd like to prepare even farther in advance.)