Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Quickie Summer Fruit Crostatas

Are the fruit bushes and trees where you live just bursting with produce?

They are here in the Ozarks of Arkansas.  Blackberries and raspberries grow wild and rampantly in this area, and I often see folks parked on the side of the highways, scrambling up the edge of a hill with a collection bucket in one of their juice-stained hands. 

My dear friend Ashley recently gave me a large bag of blackberries from the field behind her yard.  Perfectly ripe and bursting with sweetness, I couldn't wait to showcase them in this little easy-to-make confection.

Crostatas are like free-form pies.  (I think the French refer to these as "gallettes".)  I'm not so great at making a pie look pretty, but crostatas have that rustic appeal that look great even if you aren't a pastry chef. 

Sugar, flour, salt, butter, ice water, and fruit: pantry staples that you can toss together in a hurry, if need be.  

After you make the dough (and refrigerate it if you have the extra time:  really cold dough is much easier to work with), divide it into 4 equal pieces and set the pieces on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Use the heel of your hand to spread the dough into 6"-diameter disks.

Place 1/4 cup of fruit in the center of each disk. 

And bring up the edges of dough around the fruit, forming a crostata. 
Bake at 450 degrees for 12-14 minutes, until the edges are golden brown.

Serve with ice cream or freshly whipped cream.

Quickie Summer Fruit Crostatas
Makes 4 individual crostatas**

1 cup sugar, divided
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
4 tablespoons ice water
1 cup fresh fruit

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

In a large bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup of the sugar with the flour and salt.  Add the butter and using two forks, two knives, or a pastry blender, "cut" the butter into the flour mixture until the mixture looks crumbly.  Pour the water into the dough, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the mixture starts to hold together.

Wrap the dough in a piece of plastic wrap, and form it into a disc.  Refrigerate for 1 hour.  If you don't have that long, freeze it for 10 minutes.

Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces.  Use your hands to press the dough into 1/4-inch thick rounds on the prepared baking sheet, dusting the dough with flour as needed to keep it from sticking to your hands.  Each round should be about 6 inches in diameter.

If you are using berries*, you can leave the fruit whole. Slice other fruits.  Spoon 1/4 cup of fruit in the center of each crostata, and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar over the fruit on each crostata.  Fold the dough edges toward the center, without completely covering the fruit.

Bake the crostatas for 12-14 minutes, until they are brown around the edges.  Allow them to cool on the baking sheet for no longer than 10 minutes, or they'll likely break as you try to remove them.  Serve warm or at room temperature. 

*Strawberries make the dough a bit soggy, so I don't recommend using them.  Blueberries, blackberries, peaches, apples, and pears work really well. 

**You can also make one large crostata by not separating the dough into four parts and by using the entire cup of fruit in the single crostata.


Caneel said...

Yumm, yumm!! I was thinking about you quite a bit today as I drove through/stopped in your hometown for the third time in a month (!!) and was getting ready to text you (while the car was stopped) until one of the girls distracted me with a need of some sort. These look delightful! :)

Quick Recipes said...

Wow Perfect for the hot summer month :)