Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I'm crazy.

Even though I spent all day cooking in a hot kitchen, and even though it was 95+ degrees outside, I thought it would be fun to make an impromptu tart for the blog.  I have to post more often if I want to increase my traffic, so why the hell not?  Oh, and I thought of this fantastic idea at 8:00 at night, after I had already made a beer can chicken and salad for dinner.  So yes, I'm crazy.

But about that tart.  This is my version of a crostata (rustic Italian free form tart) or a galette, the French version.  The difference being that I use my favorite crust for tarts, pate sucree, or sweet dough.  Crostatas and galettes typically employ pate brisee, a short dough.  Pate sucree has a crisp, cookie-like texture that I love.  It is typically used in tarts that are first blind baked and then filled with goodies such as lemon curd, pastry cream, chocolate ganache and fruit.  But I like to mix things up, so go ahead and throw that fresh fruit in there and pop it in the oven.

For the fruit I used sliced strawberries, peaches and a handful of blueberries.  Use whatever fruit looks best to you and I highly recommend combinations.  Raspberries and peaches would be lovely.  The amount of sugar and thickener you use will depend on the sweetness and juiciness of your fruit.  I used King Arthur Flour's instant Clearjel, but you can substitute with about half the amount of cornstarch.

This is a tasty, beautifully unfussy dessert that doesn't require too much time.  The cookie-ish crust really stands up well to the cooked fruit, and finished with a little whipped cream, this is the perfect ending to a casual summer dinner.

Sweet Pastry Crust recipe available here on The Joy of Baking website.

Crostata My Way

1 recipe sweet dough
1 lb. sliced strawberries
2 small peaches, peeled  and sliced.
1 cup blueberries
5 Tb.  sugar
4 Tb.  instant Clearjel (or cornstarch, about half)
2 Tb. heavy cream
1 Tb. raw sugar

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Prepare the sweet dough and chill as directed.  While the dough is chilling, combine the fruit and half the sugar in a bowl and let sit for about 20 minutes to bring out the juices.  Combine the remaining sugar and the Clearjel or cornstarch and set aside.

After the dough has chilled, roll it out into about a 10-inch circle and transfer to a baking sheet.  I prefer to do this using parchment paper.  Sprinkle the sugar/thickener mixture over the fruit and toss well.  Pile the fruit up in the center of the dough circle,  leaving a few inches of border. Fold over the excess dough, partially covering the filling.  Press any cracks together and patch up any holes that may have occurred during the folding process.   This is a very forgiving dough, you can mold it and press it as  needed.  Brush the edges of the dough with heavy cream and sprinkle with raw sugar to add a nice crunch.  Place the sheet pan on the bottom rack of your oven (to help the dough set) for 25 minutes.  Lower the heat to 350 and bake an additional 15 to 25 minutes, until the filling is bubbly and the crust is lightly browned.

Combine the fruit and half of the sugar in a bowl.

The beautiful fruit piled onto the dough.

Fold the dough around the fruit.

Brush the dough with heavy cream and sprinkle with raw sugar.

The baked crostata.  Don't worry about those lovely juices leaking out.

A delicious slice for me!

Sweet, crisp dough filled with juicy summer fruit.

I think this tart is best served slightly warm or at room temperature.  If you are weird and have leftovers you can refrigerate them, but don't let them linger too long as the crust will get soggy.

1 comment:

  1. I guess I'm crazy too because I decided to make this at 9:15pm and at 10:45 I'm still waiting for it to cool.