Beautiful? I think so, but it surely typifies “crostata.” Rustic, basic, more easily made than a latticed pie. Suzi and I go for a crostata at the end of weekend spent hiking or gardening. We always want to complete the weekend with a smashing dessert.
Often our weekend has meant a trip to the farmers market. As summer rolls away, those markets are filled with lovely stone fruit: peaches, nectarines, and plums. With a market basket of those fruits on our counter, what better and faster way to make dessert than this crostata.
You need crust, of course, and we always have one or two sitting in the freezer. Suzi never makes just one. You probably have a favorite crust recipe, so begin with getting the crust ready, then turn to the fruit.
This version is peach-only, but you can happily mix in other stone fruits and even berries. We use a touch of cinnamon and you can augment with nutmeg, allspice or other favorites. There is no “right” way to make a crostata. Simply your way. And “your” way can be different every time.
You can make this with frozen peaches in January, but now is the time for fresh peaches that scent your kitchen as you peel them and then bake away.
As for shaping the crostata, round is the tradition but a square is the easiest way to roll out the dough. And easy is the trademark for this dessert.
Yield: serves 4
- 1 recipe pie dough of your preference, the richer the better
- 2 pounds of peaches, about 5 or 6, peeled, pitted and sliced into ½-inch thick pieces
- ¼ cup of dark brown sugar, or more to your taste depending on the sweetness of the peaches
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons dark rum
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Heavy cream and turbinado sugar for finishing the crust
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
In a bowl, add the peaches, sugar, cornstarch, run, vanilla and cinnamon. Toss with your hands. [If this dish is for your family only, you can lick your fingers.]
On a floured work surface, roll out the dough to 9 or 10-inch square. Suzi made her dough thick, so judge for yourself. You want the dough thicker rather than thinner.
Place the fruit in the center of the square, leaving a 2-inch border on the sides. Fold the edges of the dough up and over the fruit. You can do a little pushing and stuffing to even out the height of the fruit and get fruit into the pocket formed by the overlapping dough. Don’t think Paris. Think rustic.
Brush the dough with the cream. Dust both the dough and the exposed fruit with the turbinado sugar.
Bake for about 45-50 minutes until the crust is golden but not blackening. The fruit should be bubbling. Although you will be tempted to eat immediately, let this sit for 10-15 minutes so the juices do not run and your do not burn your tongue.
Source: Suzen O’Rourke
Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60mm Macro Lens, F/4 for 1/30th second at ISO‑500